Climategate Analysis From SPPI

by John P. Costella | January 18, 2010

From SPPI

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY

Why Climategate is so distressing to scientists

by John P. Costella | December 10, 2009

The most difficult thing for a scientist in the era of Climategate is trying to explain to family and friends why it is so distressing to scientists. Most people don’t know how science really works: there are no popular television shows, movies, or books that really depict the everyday lives of real scientists; it just isn’t exciting enough. I’m not talking here about the major discoveries of science—which are well-described in documentaries, popular science series, and magazines—but rather how the process of science (often called the “scientific method”) actually works.

The best analogy that I have been able to come up with, in recent weeks, is the criminal justice system—which is (rightly or wrongly) abundantly depicted in the popular media. Everyone knows what happens if police obtain evidence by illegal means: the evidence is ruled inadmissible; and, if a case rests on that tainted evidence, it is thrown out of court. The justice system is not saying that the accused is necessarily innocent; rather, that determining the truth is impossible if evidence is not protected from tampering or fabrication.

The same is true in science: scientists assume that the rules of the scientific method have been followed, at least in any discipline that publishes its results for public consumption. It is that trust in the process that allows me, for example, to believe that the human genome has been mapped—despite my knowing nothing about that field of science at all. That same trust has allowed scientists at large to similarly believe in the results of climate science.

Until now.

So what are the “rules” of the scientific method? Actually, they are not all that different from those of the justice system. Just as it is a fundamental right of every affected party to be heard and fairly considered by the court, it is of crucial importance to science that all points of view be given a chance to be heard, and fairly debated. But, of course, it would be impossible to allow an “open slather” type of arrangement, like discussion forums on the Internet; so how do we admit all points of view, without descending into anarchy?

This question touches on something of a dark secret within science one which most scientists, through the need for self-preservation, are scared to admit: most disciplines of science are, to a greater or lesser extent, controlled by fashions, biases, and dogma. Why is this so? Because the mechanism by which scientific debate has been “regulated” to avoid anarchy—at least since the second half of the twentieth century—has been the “peer review” process. The career of any professional scientist lives or dies on their success in achieving publication of their papers in “peer-reviewed” journals. So what, exactly, does “peer-reviewed” mean? Simply that other professional scientists in that discipline must agree that the paper is worthy of publication. And what is the criterion that determines who these “professional scientists” should be? Their success in achieving publication of their papers in peer-reviewed journals! Catch-22.

It may seem, on the surface, that this circular process is fundamentally flawed; but, borrowing the words of Winston Churchill, it is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried. Science is not, of course, alone in this respect; for example, in the justice system, judges are generally selected from the ranks of lawyers. So what is it that allows this form of system work, despite its evident circularity?

The justice system again provides a clue: judges are not the ones who ultimately decide what occurs in a courtroom: they simply implement the laws passed or imposed by the government—and politicians are not, in general, selected solely from the ranks of the legal profession. This is the ultimate “reality check” that prevents the legal system from spiraling into navel-gazing irrelevance.

Equivalent “escape valves” for science are not as explicitly obvious, but they exist nonetheless.

Firstly, a scientific discipline can maintain a “closed shop” mentality for a while, but eventually the institutions and funding agencies that provide the lifeblood of their work— the money that pays their wages and funds their research—will begin to question the relevance and usefulness of the discipline, particularly in relation to other disciplines that are competing for the same funds. This will generally be seen by the affected scientists as “political interference”, but it is a reflection of their descent into arrogance and delusions of self-importance for them to believe that only they themselves are worthy of judging their own merits.

Secondly, scientists who are capable and worthy, but unfairly “locked out” of a given discipline, will generally migrate to other disciplines in which the scientific process is working as it should. Dysfunctional disciplines will, in time, atrophy, in favor of those that are healthy and dynamic.

The Climategate emails show that these self-regulating mechanisms simply failed to work in the case of climate science—perhaps because “climate science” is itself an aggregation of many different and disparate scientific disciplines. Those component disciplines are extremely challenging. For example, it would be wonderful if NASA were able to invent a time machine, and go back over the past hundred thousand years and set up temperature and carbon dioxide measurement probes across the breadth of the globe. Unfortunately, we don’t have this. Instead, we need to infer these measurements, by counting tree rings, or digging up tubes of ice. The science of each of these disciplines is well-defined and rigorous, and there are many good scientists working in these fields. But the real difficulty is the “stitching together” of all of these results, in a way that allows answers to the fundamental questions: How much effect has mankind had on the temperature of the planet? And how much difference would it make if we did things differently?

It is at this “stitching together” layer of science—one could call it a “meta-discipline”— that the principles of the scientific method have broken down. Reading through the Climate-gate emails, one can see members of that community usually those with slightly different experience and wisdom than the power-brokers questioning (as they should) this “stitching together” process, particularly with regard to the extremely subtle mathematical methods that need to be used to try to extract answers. Now, these mathematical and statistical methods are completely within my own domain of expertise; and I can testify that the criticisms are sensible, carefully thought-out, and completely valid; these are good scientists, asking the right questions.

So what reception do they get? Instead of embracing this diversity of knowledge— thanking them for their experience (no one knows everything about everything) and using that knowledge to improve their own calculations—these power-brokers of climate science instead ignore, fob off, ridicule, threaten, and ultimately black-ball those who dare to question the methods that they—the power-brokers, the leaders—have used. And do not be confused: I am here talking about those scientists within their own camps, not the “skeptics” which they dismiss out of hand.

This is not “climate science”, it is climate ideology; it is the Church of Climatology.

It is this betrayal of the principles of science—in what is arguably the most important public application of science in our lifetime—that most distresses scientists.

Read the full essay here.

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157 thoughts on “Climategate Analysis From SPPI

  1. The method of choosing the” professional scientist” by who gets published in peer reviewed journals is no worse that the method the military uses to select their generals- Who you know. It is a real shame we don’t get the best scientists or generals because of flawed systems of selection.

  2. YES. It is about time that true science regains its rightful credentials … that of truth, evidence, and falsifiability.

    Without these, it is politics, belief, and propaganda … and no different than tribalism, ritual, and proof by mere blatant assertion.

  3. This is just about the best most detailed analysis of Climategate we have read. The introduction outlines the reason why the CRU emails are important and what they tell us about concentrated corruption in climate science.

  4. All a group has to do to gain absolute control is to follow the ancient script:
    1.) Create a danger that doesn’t exist
    2.) Claim to possess superior knowledge that only they can understand
    3.) Provide just enough ‘evidence’ to substantiate it to the unwashed masses
    4.) Offer a solution to the imaginary threat involves sacrifice on the part of the masses.
    5.) Collect the sacrifice to themselves.
    6.) Rewrite history to hide discrepancies.

    This formula worked for millenia.
    The present incarnation of AGW has foundered due to the inability to corner the market on climate science. The group that intended to force others to sacrifice at the AGW altar is now being eyed narrowly as disposable.

    That was brief, but beware, others will try it.

  5. What about the notion that like minded scientists actually coalesce and create a new journal that is more open to their perspectives and research. In economics, psychology and other social sciences frequent ideological and theoretical battles lead to the emergence of new journals and the work in those journals then gets pulled back into the mainstream over time – if it draws enough attention. Behavioral economics for examples is a relatively recent example of a a controversial area that has gone mainstream.
    The CRU emails are particular interesting since they partially document concerted efforts to dominate existing journals.

  6. As much as I am gratified by the reaction to the release of the “Climategate” emails, I have to say that I see nothing out of the ordinary about the things said and implied in said emails. I was a scientist in a closely related field (paleoecology) before I left science in disgust and went to law school. The fact is that peer review is not an unbiased way of screening scientific results. It is perhaps the most political process there is. The reviewers must come from the same field as the author in order to know about the subject matter of the paper or funding proposal being reviewed. The reviewer therefore will either have views in line with what is proposed to be published or funded or they will have somewhat different views. I would like to say that my experience is that scientists can put their own views aside and fairly judge the work of others. They cannot. They are human as the rest of us. They have a tendency to support that analysis with which they agree and oppose that with which they disagree. This may not be Red State/Blue State politics, but it is politics nonetheless. It is down and dirty politics without rules. In my current career in the law, I know that in a court case, I will always get my turn to speak to the jury. In science I could be denied the chance to be heard if two of the three reviewers came from the wrong school of thought or allowed speech when my work is really not up to par merely because it supports the views of a majority of reviewers.

    I learned that scientists are not above contacting reviewers and trying to stop the work of others with whom they disagree from being funded or published. I could not believe this was true the first time it happened to me, but I learned from others in the know that it happened and happens routinely. The funding pie is finite in size, and there is always a great fiscal incentive to hobble the opposition in any way possible.

  7. Thisi is not just the best, it’s brilliant. La Scala is putting on An Inconvenient Truth as an opera. This should be turned into a Broadway Musical forthwith

  8. Superb stuff!

    Will use this as essential material in trying to de-program those in the “Church of Climatology”, in the coming days, weeks, years.

  9. and as of 2 minutes ago, a live UK Channel 4 broadcast revealing the IPCC Indian glaciers “mistake” (still not pulled from the IPCC report) was looking good for truth in science until Channel 4 let itself down at the end of the piece ( a good five minutes of prime time early evening news) and spun the line that this was probably only a small mistake that “got through” and didn’t damage the overarching “reality” of climate science and global warming”

    here’s a link to their website’s live update

    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/science_technology/himalayan+glacier+claim+undermines+ipcc/3511087

  10. I’m around page 90 and Steve M features quite frequently. Quite unbelievable how far these cowboys will go in preventing replication. Though to be quite honest I doubt that they could replicate most of their own work.

    Strange world. I can just imagine the response to “the dog ate my FORTRAN” if this were any other branch of Science.

  11. This is not “climate science”, it is climate ideology; it is the Church of Climatology.

    So now we can call them Climatologists, to differentiate them from real climate scientists?

    I like that!

  12. A long read but well worth the effort. For a layman like me this is a “Rosetta stone”.
    Many thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  13. kadaka (12:08:01) : edit

    “So now we can call them Climatologists, to differentiate them from real climate scientists?”

    As compared to what? Christian Scientists? Scientologists? The proper term is “Global Warming Cultist”.

  14. Costella asserts: “This is not “climate science”, it is climate ideology; it is the Church of Climatology.”

    Indeed it is; and the Church of Climatology has become a cult.

  15. good article. i noticed today that the national enquirer has submitted its john edwards coverage for pulitzer consideration, making much of the fact that the mainstream media ignored (buried) the lovechild story for years. in all seriousness, someone should do the same for the various blogs that pushed the climategate emails into public view after they were embargoed by the bbc et al…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/21/AR2010012102670.html?hpid=topnews

  16. I am a complete layman, with longtime interests in both science and the law. This is a superb analogy, many thanks to Mr. Costella for providing this. The major factor in both is trust. If the people’s trust in either fails, it all falls apart. Come to think of it, our economic system is based on trust as well.

  17. After the Himalayan glaciers debacle here is some more:

    “According to the IPCC, climate change could halve yields from rain-fed crops in parts of Africa as early as 2020, and put 50 million more people worldwide at risk of hunger. [Pg. 2]”

    “IPCC report seemingly takes its authority [on African crop yields] from a bullet point in a paper published by an organization with declared political interest in sustainability agenda…IPCC is citing non-peer-reviewed, non-scientific research…by virtue of merely appearing in IPCC’s 2007 AR4 report, a single study, put together by a single researcher, becomes ‘consensus science”

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/01/more-laundered-literature-guest-post-by.html

  18. “The career of any professional scientist lives or dies on their success in achieving publication of their papers in “peer-reviewed” journals. So what, exactly, does “peer-reviewed” mean? Simply that other professional scientists in that discipline must agree that the paper is worthy of publication.”

    One of the problems we’ve suffered under is the common and mistaken belief that “peer-reviewed” means “truth” rather than a theory that some others also agree with. How many times over the past 10 years have you heard something along the lines of “but we know AGW is happening because xyz report said so … and it was in a peer-reviewed journal!”

    I look forward to reading Mr. Costella’s full report.

  19. jack morrow,

    “The method of choosing the” professional scientist” by who gets published in peer reviewed journals is no worse that the method the military uses to select their generals- Who you know.”

    Actually, to become a General in the US Military one needs to be confirmed by the US Senate. A 4 star General has gone thru 4 confirmation hearings in the US Senate. Most of the confirmations are done in committe and the whole Senate approves by unanimous consent. For a 1 star nominee, a single objecting Senator is usually enough to end their career. The Senate doesn’t have the time to debate 1 star nominees.

  20. mikelorrey (12:13:34) :

    As compared to what? Christian Scientists? Scientologists? The proper term is “Global Warming Cultist”.

    Too wordy for our sound bite-based media age. Plus they ditched the “global warming” tag for “climate change,” and their sort warned us about global cooling and the coming ice age not that long ago, indeed they are currently warning that too much CO2 could trigger an ice age.

    “Climatologist” is short and sweet, and well-nuanced. I like it!

  21. Re: George DeBusk (Jan 21 11:41),

    I learned that scientists are not above contacting reviewers and trying to stop the work of others with whom they disagree from being funded or published. I could not believe this was true the first time it happened to me, but I learned from others in the know that it happened and happens routinely. The funding pie is finite in size, and there is always a great fiscal incentive to hobble the opposition in any way possible.

    Yes, the problem is the money, follow the money.
    I think that modern science has gone off the tracks very obviously in the case of climate science but to a degree for all disciplines because of the bureaucratic centralization of funding.

    It used to be that universities were funded independently and maybe sometimes some chairs were funded also. There was a hierarchy that, like all hierarchies depended on seniority, reflected in grades, and the higher grades got the most control of the research. Of course there was unfairness and stifling BUT the fact that there were many universities created schools of thought and not one could dominate without convincing the peers, and money was not directly involved.

    With the centralized bureaucratic funding two things happened that have lead us here
    1)the hierarchy was lost and the scientist who brought money to the university got to the top of the pecking order. It is not clear that scientific aptitude is commensurate with success in getting funds. It is true that seniority often is also not a good measure of scientific ability, but usually there is wisdom with age, which is missing in aggressive young people.

    2)centralization of funding decisions ended up in monocultures of scientific schools, instead of healthy competition, and in the process destroyed the effectiveness of the peer review process, since it became singing with the one and only choir.

    All this holds for all disciplines but it was pernicious for climate studies because of the money and politics connections that are available to that field.

    I think funding of sciences has to be rethought. It should go back into funding universities and letting the internal peer system, all disciplines, distribute the funds according to internal proposals. This will bring back schools of thought in a healthy intellectual competition between universities.

  22. What still amazes me is that they got away with this for so long. Heck, they continue act the same and still have their jobs and funding.

  23. “Firstly, a scientific discipline can maintain a “closed shop” mentality for a while, but eventually the institutions and funding agencies that provide the lifeblood of their work— the money that pays their wages and funds their research—will begin to question the relevance and usefulness of the discipline, particularly in relation to other disciplines that are competing for the same funds.”

    The above position assumes the government funding agency/regulator is seeking answers rather than justification. It requires an Agency or Regulator to act contrary to that assumed by Regulatory Theory (Bernstein, Naskanen etc)- A Regulator, like any organism always seeks to grow in size and scope. Questioning “relevance” to a regulator is akin to questioning the relevance of the regulator. This cannot and will not happen via internal mechanisms.

    The concept of academic migration is interesting but I would add academic turf or raiding wars to this mix. New “hot” crises are opportunities for one academic discipline to raid the turf of another- one can see the inroads of climate departments into geology’s historical turf.

    I agree it is ideology and Science does very poorly in wars between conflicting values.

    Environmental issues are further complicated by billions of dollars of rent seeking from industry (ex green technologies, carbon trading etc.), PACs from subsidized interests, unions, NGOs, etc. Benefits in human systems always flows toward concentrated interests and away form the Public’s more diffuse interests.

    I think we ask too much of science- given it is conducted by humans. The system simply has no incentive to act in any other way. Go along and you are funded, your career is advanced and your family is secured, fail to adhere to a given paradigm and the opposite happens. Not only the individual scientist succeed but so does the associated University (and all the liberal arts departments that rely on science overhead charges to survive) Journals have no financial incentive to reduce the importance of its cover discipline- ex Climate goes bust so do the Journals and their employees. Rent seekers and subsidized interests fuel the political process that fuels the regulator and on and on. Media has built in source of scary stories that are written for them by NGOs. Even were these issues resolved we still have issues such as virtuous corruption, group think etc. The buffering of the current system has grown with time and works to promote stability.

    Churchill may have been correct however this system will continue to produce the results it is designed to produce. (regulators especially those that can self fund such as EPA are largely autonomous and are not so vulnerable to the electorate)

    This is a system at work, not as some claim conspiracy. Conspiracy is the term we use when we do not understand the system-( design, energy inputs, control systems, incentives etc.). We should step back from seeing this in human emotional (right and wrong) terms and look at it simply as the output of the currently designed system- then ask how such a system could work any other way? Like politics- the hope for “better people” are a poor answer to a flawed system. (Flawed is a Public perspective it is not flawed for may other interests) Want a different result? Change the system otherwise we are only naively hoping the system’ actors will not follow the obvious incentives.

    The most pressing question for me when looking at things like Cap and Trade and the denial of reliable energy sources is will this system break the window of vitality?

  24. Andrew Bolt is back from vacation.

    The climate sure is changing at the CSIRO

    Severe backing-away at CSIRO from linking drought in easter Australia to climate change.

    ‘’At this stage, we’d prefer to say we’re talking about natural variability. The science is not sufficiently advanced to say it’s climate change, one way or the other. The jury is still out on that,’’ Dr Post said.

    Interesting reading. The rain of Climategate fallout continues.

  25. agenda driven, government funded science.
    “results” of said science to be imposed upon the populace.
    we’ll see how that works out.
    in fact, we are starting to. no more super-majority in the senate.

  26. Peer review in itself is extremely flawed and biased. I hope for the death of peer review and for the death of the MSM. Blogs and secondary sources of information for everyone! Even if it is chaotic, let the truth be known.

  27. Yet the MSM are still perpetuating the party line that the glacier story is the only “mistake” anyone has been able to find in IPCC4, as Ben Webster wrote in the Times today. However when I went to post a link, it was not on Times Online; instead their report had been buried in an avalanche of comments, about 90% of which were expressing less than complimentary views about Dr Pachauri and the IPCC. They will have to take their heads out of the sand soon enough.

  28. Sigh. Why do people insist on perpetuating the myth that petroleum comes from dead plants and animals? The abiogenic origin of petroleum products is fairly well established, and observable on other planets incapable of supporting life, yet with vast quantities of methane.

    Other than that, pretty interesting read.

  29. I would wish to appeal to the Climategate “leaker”to release his remaining material.

    A knockout punch is most definitely required i think.

  30. George DeBusk (11:41:50):

    “The funding pie is finite in size, and there is always a great fiscal incentive to hobble the opposition in any way possible.”

    There is always a fiscal incentive to compete for scarce funds in any organization. But most scientists are honest, and resist the lure of accepting money and status that come from selling their reputations. The mainstream climate science clique described in this article has no such reservations.

    That’s what makes this account so shocking. The strategizing to destroy individuals for simply having a different point of view, and the conniving to boycott and ruin journals, and getting people fired for not toeing their AGW line, and subverting editorial boards goes far beyond the natural, low key and honest jockeying for funds that normally occurs in any group or organization.

    But the money involved in climategate is several orders of magnitude larger. Literally tens of billions of tax dollars have already been granted for ‘global warming studies,’ not to mention plenty of additional grant money handed out by private NGOs and quangos with a heavy pro-AGW agenda.

    In this article we see a relatively small clique of gatekeepers strategizing to attack and marginalize any individual or journal that might be even mildly skeptical of climate alarmism – often before reading the paper submitted, and based entirely on the name of the individual submitting it.

    Money and control are the primary motivations for the AGW climate scare. It is not honest science, because contrary [skeptical] views are ruthlessly attacked and kept out by hook or by crook; there is almost no grant money available to those pointing out that the current climate is very benign by historical standards, and that there is zero empirical evidence showing that X increase in CO2 equates to Y increase in temperature. Facts such as those must be kept out of the public consciousness at all costs.

    The UN’s heavy and overt involvement makes the situation much worse, because the UN is running a worldwide climate scam aimed at fleecing the West. Any honest organization would look at the fact that the planet has been generally cooling over most of the past decade despite naturally rising CO2, and the fact that not one of the predicted AGW scares have come true – and would therefore decide to wait at least a few years to determine if the always wrong AGW claims have any basis in the real world before instigating a huge new world tax to “fight climate change.”.

    But they don’t want to wait. They demand the West’s money to be transferred right now, to “mitigate” a non-problem. It is interesting that UN Sec-Gen Kofi Annan’s proposed annual World Tax of .7% of GDP has been put on the back burner by his successor Ban Ki Moon, and a replacement ‘carbon tax’ of the same .7% of GDP is now proposed to be paid into the unaccountable UN. Of course, a .7% tax will soon become a 1% tax, and will inexorably ratchet upward from there.

    The CO2 scare is all about redistributing money from taxpayers in the West, and paid through the opaque UN. Anything remaining would be paid out to countries, some of which are in dire straits – not because of the climate or rising sea levels, but for only one reason: they have bad governments.

    Whoever leaked the climategate emails has done a great service to the already over-taxed workers in the industrialized countries. It is astonishing that some folks still don’t see the UN for exactly what it is: a corrupt organization salivating like ravenous hyenas at the prospect of $100 billion+ per year being paid by U.S. taxpayers alone, and an equal percentage to be paid to the grifter’s by the other pigeons: the G-8 countries.

    It is really amazing that the relatively small clique described in this article came so close to making that a done deal last month. The climategate emails saved us from that fate – temporarily, at least. Whoever leaked those emails is as much a hero to society as someone who tackles a purse snatcher.

  31. Suppression of the presentation balanced information to the public is possibly worse than that in scientific journals. Scientists are a minority when it comes to voting for our politicians, who support the AGW nonsense. The way that information is presented to the masses is critical.

    Newpapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald continue to show a ridiculously strong bias towards AGW. Recent articles have mocked Lord Monkton’s visit to Australia; suggested the IPCC glacier story is incorrect; and failed entirely to report the details of ClimateGate.

    It would be interesting to follow the money in regard to the reasons for the Sydney Morning Herald’s bias.

  32. As an (unpublished) scientist (I got an “et al” during my university days) with 30 years industrial experience, I am deeply saddened by the extent to which this coterie of climatites conspired to conceal, convince and coerce.

    Many thanks to the ‘whistle-blower” whoever they may be.

    Any scientist that reads this can only feel ashamed and chastened.

  33. Unfortunately the public and politicians are not sufficiently scientifically literate to appreciate that “the process of ‘stitching together’ layers of science—one could call it a ‘meta-discipline’— have broken down.” Consequently, these subtleties are drowned out by the much cruder gross bellowings about what “the science” supposedly tells us.

    To appreciate this, you only have to look at the disconnect between the fallout from climategate and their other misdemeanours, and the way the world is carrying on regardless. The contrast is quite jarring. After spending a few hours on WUWT we can see clearly how utterly broken the AGW hypothesis has become and are already writing its obituary. Now switch on the television and you are immediately immersed in an Alice-through-the-looking-glass world. TV ads tell you how you can lower your carbon footprint; articles in the local press show representatives proudly displaying a new solar roofs on the community halls and urging everyone to do their bit; government mandates are being sent out to organisations telling them to do their carbon audits by April, or else.

    What is going on? How can there be two completely contradictory realities existing at the same time? Costella has written about the escape valves in science, but I think we are living through a perfect storm where these valves are no longer able to function. When escape valves fail, there is usually only one outcome.

  34. Nice analysis, Pat Moffitt. Esp. like the line “I think we ask too much of science- given it is conducted by humans.” Funny that despite all our modern cynicism about the way the world works, most people in developed societies expect scientists to be able to divine the truth and light the way to a material salvation, as if leading scientists had some kind of supernatural power.

    As a historian of science, I try to get across to my students the marvelous roles of accident, serendipity, visual and imaginative metaphors, and sometimes just plain stubbornness, that allow scientific breakthroughs. Even totally inept scientists, such as the main ‘discoverer’ of insulin, Frederick Banting, sometimes just get lucky (stubbornness played a major role in his case). Unfortunately, the flip side of this humanity is the retarding role the venal side of human nature plays – cowardice and unwillingness to break with convention, money-grubbing, envy and malicious competition, and the quest for recognition. Climategate has all of the latter in spades, and from the sounds of it Costella’s book does a decent job of grappling with how these influenced climate science. I look forward to reading it.

  35. OT but on-topic…

    Roger Pielke Jr has highlighted another peer review error on his web site at
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/01/more-laundered-literature-guest-post-by.html

    “According to the IPCC, climate change could halve yields from rain-fed crops in parts of Africa as early as 2020, and put 50 million more people worldwide at risk of hunger. ”

    From Roger Pielke Jr blog:

    “That the IPCC is citing non-peer-reviewed, non-scientific research from quasi governmental semi-independent sustainability advocacy organisations must say something about the dearth of scientific or empirical research. The paper in question barely provides any references for its own claims, yet by virtue of merely appearing in the IPCC’s 2007 AR4 report, a single study, put together by a single researcher, becomes “consensus science”.”

    All excellent stuff. How many more errors, or errors by omission?

  36. I’ve been appalled for a long time at the lack of backbone from honest scientists who should have spoken out loud and clear to expose the fraudulent works of the IPCC and Al Gore. It’s a lot like the old but true saying “All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing”. It’s not too late. Scientists all around the world must combine forces and destroy the AGW myth. If they don’t their reputations will be ruined for a long time as the public will unfairly regard all scientists as cheaters and liars, along side other disreputable professions.

    REPLY: It is easy to criticize, anyone can do it. But the source of true action lies with you, the citizen. I ask, what have you done? – Anthony

  37. The peer review process has probably seen its zenith. It is too slow and cumbersome. And ‘peers’ are typically either too busy or not specialized enough to really be able to judge a paper. It also assumes that lay reades somehow need sheltering from information because they are too naive or ignorant to be able to judge for themselves.

    Academia, like the MSM, is very far behind the curve. The internet is a very open medium, as the author’s contribution to this website shows. It is content, not distribution, which will dominate, and the judges of quality will be the readers, not the editors.

  38. I have made a few hours spare today, as I had seen an early version of this analysis,
    and wanted to read the latest one.

    It is a must read, and can only leave the reader
    with no doubt whatsoever.

    What I can not “get” is how blinkered, political, and hypocritical the email writers were. They just seem oblivious to their own actions and how political and unscientific they are.
    Exactly what they accuse anyone with a different view of being.
    It is so obvious, yet they (seemingly genuinely) can not see it, untill very close to the end.

    Staggering, utterly staggering,
    as I say read it, you will be left with no doubt whatsoever.
    AGW is false, deliberately false, and
    has completely as possible suppressed discussion or debate.
    Any “dissent” from the party line was crushed asap.

    NB – Ben Santer – Unbelievable, how and why was he tolerated for so long. ?

  39. The web has changed MSM publishing, and Science (and “psudo-science”), the Arts, government, industry, finance, etc., more than most realize. It will continue to do so; it is still very new. “Peer Review” is still a viable method of weeding out the weeds; but it is being included in and supplanted by blogs and special restricted access sites. Professional journals are having the same difficulties as every other print media; it’s not that people don’t read, it’s that they don’t read paper. Professionals of every stripe must police their own organization – no change in this area, none whatsoever. Once an organization has been “taken over” by special interests the membership has few choices; no change here either. Watch the world change before your eyes, turn on your computer.

  40. Anthony, I’ve done lots. I’ve written to politicians on both sides to wake them up and warn them of the dangerous situation to our Australian economy if the CPRS was passed in the Senate. I’ve participated in talk back radio shows to voice my opinion. I’ve also posted on blog sites various materials to demonstrate how weak the AGW thesis is. Most of actions are based on the limited knowledge and experience in atmospheric physics that I’ve gained completing my PhD in Physics. There’s not much more I can do.

    REPLY: Good to know, I encourage others to follow this example. Thanks. -A

  41. John P. Costella. In the western justice system one can be found not guilty but never innocent. ‘Innocence’ can never be proved.

  42. actually, using the criminal justice analogy is problematic in your argument. The American exclusionary rule for evidence implies nothing about its truth value or its empirical status as a fact. Facts that are excluded in American courts are included all the time in Canada and other countries. If the fact collecting violated the suspects “civil rights” he can sue the police in Canada, as apposed to the courts throwing the facts out. I find it curious that the liberal wing of the Supreme Court often cite foreign judicial precedents, or view them favorably, but never foreign precedents for excluding the American exclusionary rule. An interesting selectivity.

  43. Re bikermailman

    “The major factor in both is trust. If the people’s trust in either fails, it all falls apart. Come to think of it, our economic system is based on trust as well”

    Not to be contentious, but I think that Science is based at least partly on the trust of the Public, but our economic system is based entirely on self interest. When out individual self interest overlaps, there is room for cooperation. Where self interest of individuals is in conflict, there is competition. Both are good: one builds, the other refines. If the economy were based on trust, we would not need contracts. Contracts are just statements of the balances of self interest.

    Believe me, I am a prosecutor: do not trust anyone – get it in writing!

  44. “So what, exactly, does “peer-reviewed” mean? Simply that other professional scientists in that discipline must agree that the paper is worthy of publication. And what is the criterion that determines who these “professional scientists” should be? Their success in achieving publication of their papers in peer-reviewed journals! Catch-22.”

    Journals seem to be a major stumbling block here – perhaps acceeding to established dogma and reputations without just cause. Are editors failing to weigh up the clear conflict of interests when they ask particular scientists to review papers that have opposing ideas within them? I would suggest they are. The fear of being wrong has molested the scientific method into something else – a patchwork of vested interests more concerned with protecting their own reputation than doing good science. We see this in the leaked CRU emails when disparaging comments are made about journals the CRU/Mann cabal do not like.

    Is the peer-review process meant to prevent incorrect science from ever being published? I do not see why – people learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. If scientists reviewing papers have some misunderstood notion that they have to prevent incorrect theories from being published perhaps a re-education is in order. Or at the very least journal editors growing some balls. But then, the reputation thing comes into play again.

    As it happens I have just finished watching a BBC programme called Chemistry: A Volatile History. Episode one is brimming with the history of the discovery of elements, and the dogma that kept science in the dark for centuries. From the Greek notion of 4 elements to the theory of phlogiston. At the heart of the programme was that the sharing of ideas and experiments is what drove science forward.

  45. RE: Pat Moffitt (12:48:51) :

    “The above position assumes the government funding agency/regulator is seeking answers rather than justification.”

    One of the fundamental flaws of government funding is the same as industry funding: if the funding agency is seeking a certain answer, they are going to get it. There is just as much bias when you are funded by, say, NOAA, as if you are funded by Exxon. The conclusion will NEVER be “it would be fine to reduce the budget of NOAA because they are doing too much.” The motive may not be profit, but the motive is still measurable in dollars.

  46. I do not think that it is the “stiching together of many disciplines” than is the culprit in the poor state of climate science, although it explain why it is not ruled out by a few careful experiments like it could in fundamental physics (well, before experiments in fundamental physics involved such energies as not to be feasible without ever larger and more expensive toys (they finish in -tron usually ;-) ).

    No, the real problem is that almost all actors have ideological and/or financial interests in the issue, that the issue is a form of catastrophism so heavily mediatised and subsidized depending on mediatisation. When that happen, the consensus is rolling in ideological/financial directions and science takes a lot of time (one or more generation of scientists) to finally win…

    Examples abound: Darwinism/Lamarckism (a long time the official USSR consensus)/creationism (still preferred by many religious people)
    Or nurture/nature in psychology, or the whole evolutionary psychology field (here it is political correctness that pollute scientific discussions).
    Or toxicity studies (tobacco, weight, electromagnetic waves;…). Money and “Nature is good, man is bad” meme poluting the debate again (those ones are very similar to AGW).
    In all those cases, what finally emerged as the scientific truth took a long time (or still is disputed), and it is not always the same side that was true.

    What is worse today than at Darwin time is that science is much more team work that it was at the time…and team are even more suceptible to group-think, less proud and more easily bough out, and have more inertia than brilliant individuals.

    In the case of AGW, my gut feeling is that what will finally kill it is it’s over-reliance on public support: a combination of weather (one more cold winter), economic crisis (environmentalism is a rich-people preoccupation) and

  47. James Chamberlain (13:08:52) :

    Peer review in itself is extremely flawed and biased. I hope for the death of peer review and for the death of the MSM. Blogs and secondary sources of information for everyone! Even if it is chaotic, let the truth be known.

    We are witnessing the beginnings of “blog ratings.” With one vote per unique verified individual, these non-MSM news and commentary sources (blogs) and even individual articles will be rated. Putting up good pieces will be reflected in a blog’s rating. There will also be a weighted rating, to show for example that although a piece has a 100% rating with three votes, only six people have ever viewed it thus the approval rating may not be representative of the online population. People will better be able to judge who to trust based on how other people trust them.

    This will go along with the growth of “peer to peer” review. Someone posts a paper, the community reviews and comments. We may also see “live papers” where corrections and changes are made based on knowledgeable commentary for a period, then the paper is “frozen” in its final state. Which sort of mimics open source programming, specifically the Linux community. You write it, post it, modify it, release (what is currently) the final version, then others can build on your work, mainly because you release your original code (data) with the work.

    It will look chaotic, and scare hell out of the Old Guard who think the old systems works just fine, but there will be a developing order where good is separated from bad, and even “out there” stuff can be seen and judged on its relative quality.

    As before we saw the transitioning from the rule of monarchs to indirect democracy, now we are seeing a shift to direct democracy. However we have the technology to do so now at a level of order beyond that of a mob, on a large scale that can conceivably cover the planet.

    We are in interesting times.

  48. Seldom have I encountered a more pretentious and melodramatic piece of filibustering than John Costella’s. His clumsy attempt to explore some imagined analogy between the hierarchies of authority in law and in science provides no insight,and collapses when he points out that law workers are fundamentally agents of government decree. Science has to be coherent with natural ‘laws’ which are not negotiated by human legislature. Skeptics are not ‘dismissed out of hand’: science ideas that are found lacking are wither when they are found theoretically,methodically and physically inadequate.

    Too many people here have convinced themselves that chanting slogans is the equivalent of scientific skepticism.

    Costella’s effort to act as an informed interlocutor in his commentary on these selected communications is variously naive,overreaching and ill-willed.

  49. I have been following WUWT for several months now. I find it extremely fascinating and would like to thank Anthony and his crew for all their work. It seems to me like a very big undertaking. I am a PhD atmospheric scientist (meteorologist), but please don’t hold that against me. My field of expertise is in severe weather and boundary layer flow, and I have only a limited knowledge of climatology. However, we do have to use climate statistics regularly in meteorology research. My views of the climate science are along the lines of fellows like Dr. Lindzen, which puts me in the skeptics camp. I have never seen anything wrong with being skeptical in science. That is how we advance.

    Most of you, I note, are not familiar with the peer review process. There are now some journals that do the whole submission and peer review on-line, right out in the open for all to see. I think this may be the way of the future for publishing and peer review. There is really nothing you can hide this way. One journal in my field that does this is the Electronic Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology:

    http://ejssm.org/index.html.

    If you would like to see some examples of what takes place in a peer review navigate over to the Archives section and call up some of the articles:

    http://www.ejssm.org/ojs/index.php/ejssm/issue/archive.

    The reviewers comments and the submitters’ rebuttals are after the main manuscript. The ones prior to 2009 have an html version which loads quicker. You may find some interesting reading about severe storms and tornadoes.

  50. This sort of report surely is the tip of the iceberg as far as the impact that Climategate has had on the wider world scientific community. I am not a scientist but I have been able to read as much as I want about it on the web. This makes me think that many scientists have done the same.

    As this article indicates the implications for what has happened have a great deal more impact and relevance to scientists that to somebody like me. By this I mean they know all about the way things should work and many of them will know personally the dramatis personae on all sides of this debate.

    As the report says a scientist (like us non-scientists) usually has to take it on trust that other scientists are honest and can back up what they say with valid data. I live in England. I have never been to Florida but the evidence for its existence seems to be pretty good so I accept that it exists without first hand experience or investigation. We all do this sort of thing all the time.

    But now trust has been lost. The BS efforts by some ‘scientists’ and even more journalists to say – nothing to see, move along – can easily be seen by scientists for the rubbish they truly are.

    I should like to think that currents have shifted in the wider scientific world because of all this and that scientists, most of whom have said nothing publically, will step by step act to put their house in order over the coming months and years.

  51. @Nick
    Yes indeed, that’s the strenght of science: experimental data have the last word…But, on many scientific debates, gathering undisputable evidence to validate/falsify a theory is a difficult and long process, something that often takes scientific breakthrough to do.

    Many times, there is ample opportunities for ideology, politics, power games and money scheme during the time needed to gather enough empirical evidences.

    AGW is nothing special.

    Darwinism, or Eletromagnetic waves toxicity, or string theory, or many politically uncorrect evolutionary psychology theories. Darwinism is settled (well, not for everybody, but there I would really speak about denialism when challenging the core of the theory – common descent and natural selection). For the other ones, and for AGW, pick your side and fight.

  52. Nick (14:46:33) :

    Seldom have I encountered a more pretentious and melodramatic piece of filibustering than John Costella’s. His clumsy attempt to explore some imagined analogy between the hierarchies of authority in law and in science provides no insight,and collapses when he points out that law workers are fundamentally agents of government decree. Science has to be coherent with natural ‘laws’ which are not negotiated by human legislature. Skeptics are not ‘dismissed out of hand’: science ideas that are found lacking are wither when they are found theoretically,methodically and physically inadequate.

    Too many people here have convinced themselves that chanting slogans is the equivalent of scientific skepticism.

    Costella’s effort to act as an informed interlocutor in his commentary on these selected communications is variously naive,overreaching and ill-willed.
    ============
    ok.
    (now you are supposed to refute his claims with facts).
    we are waiting.

  53. In 1984 Sir Peter Medawar, who shared the 1960 Nobel Prize for Medical Research with Sir Macfarlane Burnet, published a wonderful, small (108 pages in my edition) book called The Limits of Science (ISBN 0-06-039036-0). What Medawar wrote then is just as relevant today.
    “The most heinous offence a scientist as a scientist can commit is to declare to be true that which is not so; if a scientist cannot interpret the phenomenon he is studying, it is a binding obligation upon him to make it possible for another to do so.”
    As evidenced by the CRU emails there are a number of scientists today who do not subscribe to this view.
    Medawar continues: “If a scientist is suspected of falsifying or inventing evidence to promote his material interests or to corroborate a pet hypothesis, he is relegated to a kind of half-world separated from real life by a curtain of disbelief; for as with other human affairs, science can only proceed on a basis of confidence, so that scientists do not suspect each other of dishonesty or sharp practise, and believe each other unless there is very good reason to do otherwise”.
    And:
    “The principal cause of fraud in science is a passionate conviction of the truth of some … doctrine”.
    And:
    “The ‘self-monitoring’ system that science is reputed to enjoy can be assumed to work very well in most cases, but there are special circumstances in which it breaks down.” Medawar then cites the case of Sir Cyril Burt, Professor of Phycology in University College London, “who invented or manipulated data on the IQs of identical or fraternal twins ….. (so) as to make an overwhelming case for” nature not nurture being the preponderant determination of IQ. The reason why these frauds were not immediately picked up was that “Burt told the IQ boys exactly what they wanted to hear, so they had no incentive to inquire deeply into the authenticity of his work”.
    Sound familiar?
    I am not a scientist; however I have always had trust in the scientific process, as I understand (understood?) it, for its ability to arrive at the ‘truth’ regardless of any personal or partisan bias. I believe this still to be the case and that bad science is invariably exposed, eventually. The problem is that the massive amount of public monies invested often seem conditional on providing outcomes that support a particular political view point or agenda.

  54. I think the use of the the term ‘science’ is problematic for the public. For me science is about rational thought and advancing the understanding of our natural world (universe). The science of climate change is fascinating but difficult to test.
    The test of quality research in this field is even more difficult. Certainly the grading of evidence seems to have been replaced by the test of peer review and media approval. All ‘science’ is not equal. I can not think of another field where multiple proxies and true data are mixed together adjusted and plotted with dubious baselines, but most of the world believes it. Science has taken a big step backwards and we witness the media, voices such as Scientific American and the Royal Society are promoting political views dressed as science.
    The power brokers in certain fields control the peer review and the argument from authority means many years pass before traditional entrenched views are surpassed. So for me ‘The science is in’ represents a closed mind whereas skeptical thinking is truly the ‘sine qua non’ of science
    There are as many false prophets in science as there are in religion. It is our duty to teach our children how to be scientific, not to be one or the other, but to have the tools to answer the question.

  55. Costella is wandering off course when he writes this, “So what, exactly, does “peer-reviewed” mean? Simply that other professional scientists in that discipline must agree that the paper is worthy of publication. And what is the criterion that determines who these “professional scientists” should be? Their success in achieving publication of their papers in peer-reviewed journals! Catch-22.” (my emphasis)

    The question should be, ‘And what is the criterion that determines whether these papers are published? Whether they are not falsified during review, and meet the scientific standards of fact and theory.’

    The question of “who” is a tangential and irrelevant issue that depicts science as a political activity, which it is not. As evidence for this, it is when science is politicized that attention is drawn and disapproval is registered. This sort of protest is absent from ordinary science, because ordinary science does not suffer from political bias.

    That’s not to say that politics don’t intrude. The whole sorry AGW episode is an example of the worst sort of political corruption of science. And it didn’t happen because several disparate disciplines were “stitched” together. It happened because some people knew the right answer without actually knowing it, and who then did their work tendentiously. After that, they attained prominence and used their power to protect their result by political means. Let’s note this played into the top-down structure of the IPCC, which is certainly not a democracy. And the hierarchical structure of the IPCC provided levers of influence to passionately partisan environmental NGOs. It’s the classic smoke filled room motif, given a wash of green. Ironic, isn’t it.

    But generally, and certainly in my experience, controversial papers that challenge current theory or current views are not suppressed or side-tracked. They get published after standard peer review. It may be that the review is unusually vigorous, but it is generally not dishonest.

    In a way, this is as it should be because serious challenges need serious vetting for mistakes. We all know about people asserting disproofs of relativistic mechanics, or evolution, or whatever. Most of these challenges get some sort of hearing and most of them are nonsense. But any serious challenge that meets the criteria of good science gets published. “Who” doesn’t enter into it.

    Where we should be concerned is the attempts in Washington, at NIH and NSF especially, to reject pure research and fund applied research, or technologically or socially useful research. More and more, really good basic research is disappeared, as people don’t get funding for it. The rejection of such grants can be viewed as due to a kind of righteous utilitarian morality. In the long run, it will stifle the jumps in understanding that only a vigorous basic science can provide.

  56. George DeBusk (11:41:50) :

    Thank you for that information George. It is vitial and if I had my own blog I would want it to be a post.

  57. Re: Smokey (13:27:56) :

    “There is always a fiscal incentive to compete for scarce funds in any organization. But most scientists are honest, and resist the lure of accepting money and status that come from selling their reputations. The mainstream climate science clique described in this article has no such reservations. ”

    I dare say the scientists who practice the sort of hardball politics in peer review do not see themselves as selling their reputations, but as defending that which they feel with moral certainty is right. When you set yourself to a point of view, and you invest your career in supporting and defending that point of view, you tend to see alternatives to your point of view as a threat. This happened even before the government became the near sole provider of research funds. Look, for example, at the difficulties of early proponents of Continental Drift and the Heliocentrism. Both interpretations were clearly superior to those they supplanted, but they were not immediately accepted because the prior interpretations were so established (for religious reasons in one case and from simple obstinancy in the other). The centralization of the funding process in the Federal Government simply institutionalized the sort of defense of the dominant paradigm. Now a new idea does not just have to win in the arena of scientific debate, but must first win in the government funding arena. Look, for example at the idea that humans migrated to the New World before the LGM at 12KYBP. A study looking to find support for humans in the New World before 12KYBP would have been laughed out of the NSF 25 years ago, but now finds fertile ground. The proponents of the idea practiced funding politics well.

    I guess my point is that scientific merit, not the internal politics of funding agencies and reviewers, should decide what research is done. I know of few fields where that is the case. I would like to think medical research is judged more by success than by politics, but would not be surprised to learn that is not the case.

    Hell, I’m gullible. Before I went to grad school I thought science was immune from politics and bias. Please, don’t laugh at me. I was only 20 when I started my PhD!

  58. Any self-respecting scientist never assumes that what is written in journal articles is correct. If the paper is interesting, then the experiment or derivation or simulation is worth replication. But before said replication has been undertaken, the safe assumption is, in fact, that the paper is wrong. I was told once that researchers need to take caution because, in the end, over a third of all published findings will end up being wrong. I think that’s the part of science that most people, including the author here, miss for a variety of reasons. Being wrong about one’s research is just part of the method. My advisor told me ‘the expert is the one who has been wrong the most’. I think readers should keep that in mind more than anything.

    Good luck!

  59. At least they admitted in the emails that they don’t actually know why it hasn’t been warming for a decade and that the models may be faulty. No surprise to us! So despite all the criticism heaped upon skeptics they have even admitted privately that the skepticism is justified. If only the team could just manage to be honest about that and stop spinning to the press.

    Trenberth says the heat is either escaping from the atmosphere (something he later disputed when Lindzen proved it indeed was), being hidden in the deep sea (somewhat impossible without warming the surface on the way there) or it’s the data collection that’s faulty (the old standby). But all the unadjusted datasets agree with each other and disagree with the models. What does it take to get them to remove the blinkers and remember that science is supposed to be about seeking the truth, however unpalatable?

    As could have been predicted actually just by observing the sheer number of hyped-up pseudo-scientific scares in the recent past, the observations are all saying that CO2 warming isn’t significant and in a rational world that should be the end of it.

  60. Nick (14:46:33) :

    Have you looked out the window Nick? Mother Nature isn’t agreeing with you either.

    How are you going to categorize her acts?

    Also,

    haven’t you found “consensus among scientists”, “beyond debate”, “we must act now”, etc. to be chanted slogans?

  61. Re; don (14:19:51) :

    “actually, using the criminal justice analogy is problematic in your argument.”

    You make an excellent point. The idea behind the exclusionary rule is that the police will not violate the Constitution if they do not benefit from the ill-gotten gains, so evidence that is very probative of guilt is excluded if it is obtained in violation of the rules. The jury never gets the whole story, and not just because of the Exclusionary Rule. For instance, if the defendant is accused of rape ten times before and stands accused of rape now, the admission of the ten previous rapes is considered “unduly prejudicial.” From a logical standpoint, however, the fact that the defendant has done it before is clearly probative of guilt. Many other things are withheld from the jury by the rules of court, and that is troubling in many instances to victims, prosecutors, and jurors. Still, both sides get the chance to be heard, even if the arguments are limited. Imagine a system where a prosecutor was able to convince the judge that the defense really did not have to be heard because their interpretation of the facts was wrong. That would be frightening, but that happens routinely in peer review.

  62. Pops (14:55:42) :

    Nick… say what?

    ————————————————————–

    Pops,

    what Nick has made with his comment is called a smoke screen, i.e., he is saying, “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”

  63. This article has eloquently summarised all of my concerns as a scientist.

    I am not a Climate Scientist, but I have a thorough understanding of scientific methodology. I am a Clinical Researcher and responsible for ensuring that the data from clinical studies is accurate and attributable. If I was to conduct myself and treat/ manipulate my data in the same way as has been demonstated here the regulatory authorities would very rapidly bring me to book. As a researcher my actions have an impact on a selected population, the impact that these scientists have here is immeasurably greater (in terms of affecting government policy, country development etc.) and therefore I cannot understand why they should not be subject to the same stringent regulations and legislation that I am obliged to abide by.

  64. maxwell (15:49:17) :

    Any self-respecting scientist never assumes that what is written in journal articles is correct. If the paper is interesting, then the experiment or derivation or simulation is worth replication. But before said replication has been undertaken, the safe assumption is, in fact, that the paper is wrong. I was told once that researchers need to take caution because, in the end, over a third of all published findings will end up being wrong. I think that’s the part of science that most people, including the author here, miss for a variety of reasons. Being wrong about one’s research is just part of the method. My advisor told me ‘the expert is the one who has been wrong the most’. I think readers should keep that in mind more than anything.

    Good luck!
    ===============
    possibly, the reason most of us are here is because we heard the science was “SETTLED”. NEVER tell a scientist, it’s settled.

  65. Need I also point out the “Science and Public Policy Institute” is a right-wing think tank with a clearly biased agenda, and should therefore be given the same credibility as Greenpeace and WWF.

    Except where the former are making up BS to save trees and whales, the SPPI is making up BS to save corporate dollars.

    It’s like watching rats fighting over a corpse.

  66. Re: maxwell (15:49:17) :

    “Being wrong about one’s research is just part of the method. My advisor told me ‘the expert is the one who has been wrong the most’. I think readers should keep that in mind more than anything.”

    Well said. The basis of the scientific method is the falsification of hypotheses. A scientist observes, then makes a hypothesis about how the world works. For example: I see that the amount of infrared radiation absorbed by a dry atmosphere inreases measurably as the partial pressure of CO2 increases. Therefore, I hypothesize that the Earth’s entire atmosphere will warm if the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere increases. You could then try to falsify that hypothesis, for instance, by looking at the temperature history of certain regions. Someone might plot the temperature history of, say, the Arctic north of 70 degrees of latitude and point out that the temperature fell from the 1940s to the late 1970s and then argue that falsifies the atmospheric CO2 hypothesis because the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere was increasing steadily during that period. Someone else might reasonably argue that it does not falsify the hypothesis for some reason (I am sure such a reason exists . . . I guess). That is scientific debate.

    If one does everything in their power to silence the person wishing to falsify the hypothesis, that is not science but politics – even if the effort to silence the foe is based on scientific beliefs rather than, say, Marxism or Environmentalism.

    My overall point is that the efforts to silence opponents rather than debate them is far more prevalent in science than many – particularly many scientists – are willing to accept. I have been through the peer review process both on funding (mostly unsuccessfully) and in journals (successful on all attempts). I did not really become embittered to the system until I found out one opponent of one of my papers gave it a bad review and then contacted the editor as well as another reviewer and tried to get the paper spiked. It did not work for that one paper, but it did make me leave academia in disgust. I guess bad science won that one.

  67. John Hooper:

    Whatever your thoughts of SPPI, the opinions and analysis are mine. And far from calling me a right-wing anything, many are getting caught up in the fact that Jim Fetzer, who kindly allows his website to host mine, is most certainly at the other end of the spectrum.

    You can google my home page and decide for yourself if I’m a polarised-wing anything.

    I’m enjoying reading my opinions being taken apart and criticised. Please do keep in mind that I tried to boil complex issues down to simple terms, which the subtleties argued here go far beyond. As with any simplification, each and every sentence could be teased out into an entire debate. (And it seems it is, right here.) :)

  68. The science peer review process is not good enough when the IPCC is recommending such drastic measures to counteract what they say is happening to the climate.

    Shouldn’t the IPCC have more structured oversight than just the peer review process?

    When science directly affects society, it is usually subjected to more thorough oversight and more stringent, precriptive standards for quality assurance. Some examples are the medical profession, pharmacuetical development, and nuclear industry.

    It’s time formal, comprehensive oversight is imposed on the IPCC. Also, any scientific studies that feed the IPCC and their reports should be required to meet additional standards. Reviewers should meet stringent criteria for independence and qualification. Reviewers from all appropriate disciplines should be required, including statisticians. If a study does not meet the requirements, then the IPCC cannot use it.

    I would like to recommend this to my congressional delegation, but not sure what they could do even if they agreed since the IPCC is a UN organization.

  69. Thank you for posting John Costella here. I think he has done a superb analysis and a great service. It is a long read but worth it because it hangs together: a real Twilight of the Gods, seeing the scientists trap themselves, and as a result move slowly but inexorably towards Climategate. Together with Bishop Hill and Steve Mosher I think we now have a trilogy.

  70. George DeBusk (15:48:01),

    Bad explanation on my part. [See, I knew exactly what I meant.] These guys were gaming the system, and they cashed in on their reputations. By doing so they were playing with fire, and now they’re getting badly burned [I tend to disagree with the author’s comments that people will serve jail time; maybe as a prosecutor you could comment on that].

    The whole world can now see how inept at science [and statistical analysis] they really were, and how really sloppy their methods and [non-existent] record keeping were, and how they made facts up as they went along, and how devious and self-serving they were. Now their reputations are in tatters. In retrospect, I think every last one of these guys would give back every penny they received, in return for having their pre-climategate halos restored.

    John Hooper (16:09:33) :

    Need I also point out the “Science and Public Policy Institute” is a right-wing think tank with a clearly biased agenda, and should therefore be given the same credibility as Greenpeace and WWF.

    Except where the former are making up BS to save trees and whales, the SPPI is making up BS to save corporate dollars.

    When you can’t dispute the incriminating emails, make an ad-hom attack on the messenger? Is that it?

    Credibility check: We already know that Greenpeace and the WWF take lots and lots of corporate dollars. So please cite in this article where the author is “making up BS to save corporate dollars,” and from which corporation[s]. How many corporate dollars he received would be interesting, too.

    Take your time, it’s a long article.

  71. Smokey:

    Good point, that slipped past me.

    For the record, my analysis was done in my spare time, completely unfunded, and I do not benefit financially from it one cent.

  72. To be slightly critical of this great article, the judiciary analogy doesn’t fully apply. The core of science is that results can be replicated by others. With murder investigations for example, the event in the past being investigated cannot be replicated.

    Determining the truth in science is much easier than with legal investigation of past, unrepeatable events

  73. There is an existing, and widely known, example of science which has been contaminated by non-scientific issues: medical research in Nazi concentration camps.

    Many medical researchers have had to decide whether to consider information which comes from Nazi experiments, whether the information is valid, and whether it is ethical to use the information. There are also difficulties in trying to duplicate some experiments, both due to missing data and being unable to use the same techniques.

  74. –What I can not “get” is how blinkered, political, and hypocritical the email writers were. They just seem oblivious to their own actions and how political and unscientific they are.
    Exactly what they accuse anyone with a different view of being.
    It is so obvious, yet they (seemingly genuinely) can not see it, untill very close to the end.–

    Yes, that’s exactly what struck me too.

    The real gems are when discussing people who want the programs to replicate their work. Their response is “they’re just too lazy to do the work.” Or course, if these people DID generate their own programs based on the principles discussed in a paper and got different results, the answer would never be “Hmmm… we’ll need to double-check our results”, it would instead have been “You did it wrong, idiot. Leave the science to the pros!”

  75. I have to say that George DeBusk’s experience is very far from mine. It may be significant that his field was paleoecology; not at the center but certainly in the suburbs of the AGW debate. It may be that the less physical the field, the more opinion can influence peer review.

    That’s not to say that paleoclimatology has no mathematical content. Clearly, it does so, in spades. But there’s no good physical theory for recovering quantitative paleoecological or paleoclimatological information, such as temperature or precipitation or even plant dispersal. I know a paleontologist who just observed that palynology — the study of ancient pollen — is badly impacted by disturbed sedimentary deposits, for example.

    Most of the paleo-relevant math is statistical, or numerical analysis, and opinion can creep in as to which methodology is more appropriate. Even more, there is no good measurement theory that allows one apply a particular well-established and standard method, in the manner that spectroscopy serves Chemistry, that, in turn allows disputes to be settled by appeal to very objective data and very well established theoretical meaning. Personality gets short-circuited. I’ve experienced that effect when my one or two controversial papers went through review.

    So, one can see how the poisonous disputes that apparently accompanies peer review in anthropology or worse, literary theory, might also invade the climatological fields that are not stabilized by a good foundation in physical theory. We’ve certainly seen that in paleothermometry, which has approximately zero physics-theoretical content.

    One has to observe, though, that opinion mongering always arises by choice of the mongers. It’s always possible to have disputes that do not descend into ad hominem disparaging. One might suppose that an unfailing tendency toward this sort of argumentative tactic reflects a kind of personality defect.

  76. Onion (17:04:15) :

    “To be slightly critical of this great article, the judiciary analogy doesn’t fully apply. The core of science is that results can be replicated by others. With murder investigations for example, the event in the past being investigated cannot be replicated.

    Determining the truth in science is much easier than with legal investigation of past, unrepeatable events”

    What you say is true of experimental science, but not so much of observational science. In Paleoecology we deal with “past, unrepeatable events.” Now the way you reconstruct and measure those events must be repeatable – as must crime scene investigation in a murder case. I have actually found the skills from paleoecology to be very useful in handling murder cases precisely because of the past, unrepeatable nature of the events.

    The judiciary understands this as well. one of the key factors in the admissibility of scientific evidence is repeatability.

  77. “This question touches on something of a dark secret within science one which most scientists, through the need for self-preservation, are scared to admit: most disciplines of science are, to a greater or lesser extent, controlled by fashions, biases, and dogma.”

    As a biomedical scientist, I think you have correctly identified one of the persistent problems in science. In my field (immunology), T suppressor cells became suddenly unpopular in the 1980s (I don’t have space to go into why this occurred, but there was a reason for questioning the T suppressor dogma). There was good evidence from dozens of labs that functional suppressor cells existed, but virtually everyone followed the trend and abandoned this field until recently when the suppressor cell idea was revived (and modified) as T regulatory cells. During 30 years of research I have seen several examples like this. I am not sure if there is a solution, but I like the idea of an open peer review process so the reviewers and the editors as well as the person who submits the paper are accountable. The down side of this is that many scientists would be reluctant to give a negative review to a well known scientist, fearing repercussions. Perhaps open but anonymous reviews?

    The climate gate emails indicate clearly that the IPCC reports do not reflect the proper scientific uncertainty recognized by many of the participants.

    The response of the Team and its supporters seems to be that even if certainty of AGW has been overstated, we need to decrease use of fossil fuels anyway, so a crash program to do so quickly will not hurt. However, this is not the case. Governments and individuals only have a limited amount of money. The extra amount that would be spent on alternate energy sources would not be available for things that we know will save lives (like anti-smoking or anti-obesity or cancer screening campaigns or cleaning up sites with known toxic pollutants or charitable giving for food, clothing, housing, medical care, etc. for those in poverty). In a very real sense, spending billions on alternate energy in a crash program will cause or allow the avoidable death of many, many people. Thus, the standard of certainty to which the science should be held should be very high. If they reveal nothing else, the Climate gate documents reveal that such a standard has not been met. I agree that moving to alternate energy sources is needed and that it should happen faster than it is occurring presently, but a terribly expensive crash program, whether it involves cap and trade or emission limits, does not seem justified. The risk of acting massively and quickly is virtually certain (lack of money for other known life saving measures), whereas the benefit (stopping AGW) is seeming more and more uncertain.

  78. Could an unknown Swiss patent officer have gotten his theories of special relativity and quantum physics published today? I doubt it.

    It was not until 1936 when Eistein had his first run in with the peer review process, and was furious his paper was being challenged before publishing by some anonymous referee. He then published it elsewhere and never submitted another paper to. IIRC it was Physics or Physical Review.

    Let all the peers review the papers after publishing. Those who review papers prior to publication are unlikely to approve papers which contradict their own work. It’s a bad system. Perhaps an alternative is to require a scientist to get 3 other scientists who work in the field to attach their name to the paper as reviewers. Einstein used to submit his papers to other scientists he respected for opinions before going to the publishers. Anonymous peer review is a BAD idea. Kind of like Anonymous Judges or Anonymous Presidents.

    Also Leif said his publishers require him to pay a page fee, and he paid 11,000 dollars to publish his last paper. This on top of the high subscription fees is not conducive to good science.

    Another thing, not covered in this article, is the role of governments in funding science. Eisenhower warned that this may be a problem, where science is controlled by a technocratic elite bent on becoming Philosopher (natural philosphers were the equivalent of scientista back in the day) Kings, and as Plato said, these rulers should be able to tell a Noble Lie for the good of the people. Thats what Climate science has become unfortunately, a Noble (or not so Noble) Lie, paid for by the dupes being lied to.

    There are a lot of good scientists out there, all being strangled by the process and the need to publish or perish. Those who speak against the system will find funding hard to come by, so they stay silent.

  79. It has been suggested here that the IPCC should not rely upon the peer review process alone to make their reports and assessments. So true. However, the main point has been missed. They don’t even rely on the so called peers in the peer review process itself. Do I need to remind everyone that in the last IPCC report most of the scientists disagreed with the conclusions, and that the remarks made by those against the AGW thesis were ignored? The IPCC does not follow a true peer review process at all.

  80. pft: “Also Leif said his publishers require him to pay a page fee, and he paid 11,000 dollars to publish his last paper. This on top of the high subscription fees is not conducive to good science.”

    Well then if they don’t have 11k lying around what do you do if the university decides not to fund the review, or more likely you’ll be told what research you can and will be funded for review.

    He who pays the piper calls the tune. This is about as corrupt a system as you can ever conceive of.

    pft: “Let all the peers review the papers after publishing…. Anonymous peer review is a BAD idea. Kind of like Anonymous Judges or Anonymous Presidents.” — Excellent points. And have the reviews printed also so everyone can see if the review has merit or not. You’ll quickly find proper review going on or reviewers will quickly be discredited.

  81. John , so anything over a century mann came up with was pure speculation/manufactured? ( please forgive my ignorance) iam just facinated with this subject and iam just making sure i understand.

  82. Charles. U. Farley (13:25:39) :

    The identity of the “leaker” was hinted at at the end of the paper

  83. John Costella (14:08:21) :

    Hey John, how nice to “see” you here.

    Thankyou very very much for your research into climategate. I read your paper (until 5am) and am going through it a second time.

    Is this a one off or are you updating in the future?
    Have you seen Mohib Mohammed and Jo Novas 30yr timeline piece?

  84. George DeBusk (11:41:50) :

    As much as I am gratified by the reaction to the release of the “Climategate” emails, I have to say that I see nothing out of the ordinary about the things said and implied in said emails.

    I guess if you find it “ordinary” that they hid from FOI requests using bogus excuses, and lied and cheated to get certain papers in and keep certain papers out of the IPCC reports, and refused to show their data and methods, and destroyed vital evidence, and “hid the decline”, then you could say there is “nothing out of the ordinary” in the CRU emails.

    Me, I find that kind of behaviour extraordinary, but YMMV, I suppose …

  85. Stephen Pruett,you’re presenting the classic Lomborgian false dichotomy: that money cannot be spent on such things as “alternative energy sources” and “things that we know will save lives” simultaneously. Prioritising and allocating spending is the work of every budget ever prepared. We are already spending money on a diverse spread of energy sources,and energy saving measures,and,anyway, whether AGW existed or not,we will be doing ever more of this as fossil fuel resources become scarcer. Your main idea is really that AGW is a crock: you won’t materially prove that by invoking illogical tangents.

    Dr Costella,meanwhile, cannot seriously be offering a discussion of scientific ethics and a deciphering of details while identifying members of the group involved in the emails as ‘conspirators’ . This is simply prejudice.

    He then raises a false equivalence ( tax minimisation = tax evasion),when he cites his first email.
    He cannot be seriously suggesting that using knowledge of lump sum taxation rules on money transfers between sovereignties to minimise taxation implies something sinister. The researchers are simply trying to conserve as much grant money as possible to apply to the project. Every casual international traveller knows the implications of lump sum thresholds,and seeks to inform themselves on how to minimise loss during transfers.

    In the second email he visits, he discusses an exchange about the annoyance value posed by Piers Corbyn,who was gaining prominence as an alternative weather forecaster and AGW doubter. From this one exchange, and only the second discussed so far,Dr Costella is confident enough to decide:

    ‘Already we can start to appreciate that the politics and “spin doctoring” in this field outweighs the scientific issues’

    Is such a conclusion possible, from just one email?

  86. Nick (14:46:33) :

    It is patently obvious you haven’t read the whole paper. if you had, you wouldn’t have the gumption to comment like you did.

    IMHO you are a lemming trying to discredit what is in reality a reprint of the very words out of the mouths of the AGW “team”.
    It’s easy to attack the author with ad homs. How about you try dicrediting the content? YOU CAN”T BECAUSE THE CONTENT IS STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH.

    I bet you were too gutless to read past the intro. for fear your “belief” will be shattered. Religion indeed, and you are living proof of it right here amongst us

  87. Those who are criticising Johns introductory paragraphs are, with all due respect, missing the real point.
    It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the legal system analogy, John even stated it was the best he could come up with for now.

    The meat is in the emails themselves. Now, you may have a different interpretation of individual and or chains of emails, thats fine, if you do, maybe you can share your interpretation with us.

    John Castello, I love your comments about jail time etc Is there something in the pipeline regards criminal charges that you can share with us?

  88. Baa Humbug (18:59:44):

    Thanks for the welcome.

    I will certainly be amending the web page for any errors or omissions, but right now I see the analysis page itself as essentially completed.

    Absolutely, I have seen the wonderful 30-year timeline — and all the other excellent work; indeed, I and am embarrassed by compliments when I’ve done very little compared to those who have toiled hard on this issue (and given where we are currently talking, I am even more humbled and embarrassed).

    At this stage I have not decided what to do next, but I certainly would like to contribute to sorting out this mess in whatever small way I can.

  89. Baa Humbug (19:23:20):

    Yes, if you look at the original web page, what SPPI have included as the “introductory essay” is the op-ed piece I wrote on 10 December, with a regular newspaper audience (definitely non-scientists) in mind.

    I don’t think there’s much more I can add publicly over what is already public knowledge.

    Of course, all opinions are mine and mine alone.

  90. Re: Stephen Pruett (17:45:26) :

    “As a biomedical scientist, I think you have correctly identified one of the persistent problems in science.”

    I saw the same phenomenon in paleoecology in the early 1990s. The Younger Dryas – a period of return to Glacial Period temperatures that happened at the beginning of the Holocene – was the hot thing at the time. It seemed one merely had to hint that they might find evidence that the YD was global in nature (as opposed to limited to the North Atlantic) to get funded or published. I joked that one French lab could find the YD in the sediment at the bottom of their tea cups. In discussions with other grad students, I found similar fashionable ideas existed in other areas of biology and geology. I called it paradigm chasing. To me it seemed to be a result of centralized government funding. It is very interesting to hear the same phenomenon occurs in biomedical science.

  91. John Hooper (16:09:33) :
    Need I also point out the “Science and Public Policy Institute” is a right-wing think tank with a clearly biased agenda, and should therefore be given the same credibility as Greenpeace and WWF.

    Except where the former are making up BS to save trees and whales, the SPPI is making up BS to save corporate dollars

    Bias is most problematic in research, where research findings about purported facts can be tweaked, fudged, re-done until right, put in a file drawer, etc. This is where drug companies’ “findings” can seriously mislead, or likewise with “advocacy research” (e.g., about the number of homeless, or the threat to polar bears).

    But when only argumentation is involved, as with the material on the SPPI site, it doesn’t matter much about which “wing” of the political spectrum the site’s curators and backers are on. What matters are the arguments. Only a hyper-partisan of one wing would automatically and emphatically spurn anything said by a partisan of the other and/or refuse to hear it.

    (But this is the knee-jerk rejectionist reaction that opinion-leading propagandists like Joe Romm routinely and successfully attempt to inculcate in their followers.)

    Superficially unbiased organizations like the NSF, the IPCC, and the EPA aren’t ipso facto trustworthy. They may just be wolves in sheep’s clothing, infiltrated or manipulated by partisans.

    The arguments have to be judged on their merit.

  92. Pft:
    Another thing, not covered in this article, is the role of governments in funding science. Eisenhower warned that this may be a problem, where science is controlled by a technocratic elite bent on becoming Philosopher (natural philosophers were the equivalent of scientist back in the day) Kings, and as Plato said, these rulers should be able to tell a Noble Lie for the good of the people. That’s what Climate science has become unfortunately, a Noble (or not so Noble) Lie, paid for by the dupes being lied to.

    It’s also a Nobel lie.

  93. The legal analogy is one that goes a long way to positioning the debate in a fruitful way. In our book, we borrow a phrase that steve Mcintyre passed along

    Noble Cause Corruption.

    google it

  94. Stephen Pruett (17:45:26) :

    “This question touches on something of a dark secret within science one which most scientists, through the need for self-preservation, are scared to admit: most disciplines of science are, to a greater or lesser extent, controlled by fashions, biases, and dogma.”

    As a biomedical scientist, I think you have correctly identified one of the persistent problems in science. In my field (immunology), T suppressor cells became suddenly unpopular in the 1980s (I don’t have space to go into why this occurred, but there was a reason for questioning the T suppressor dogma). There was good evidence from dozens of labs that functional suppressor cells existed, but virtually everyone followed the trend and abandoned this field until recently when the suppressor cell idea was revived (and modified) as T regulatory cells. During 30 years of research I have seen several examples like this. I am not sure if there is a solution, but I like the idea of an open peer review process so the reviewers and the editors as well as the person who submits the paper are accountable. The down side of this is that many scientists would be reluctant to give a negative review to a well known scientist, fearing repercussions. Perhaps open but anonymous reviews?

    George DeBusk (19:44:52) :

    I saw the same phenomenon in paleoecology in the early 1990s. The Younger Dryas – a period of return to Glacial Period temperatures that happened at the beginning of the Holocene – was the hot thing at the time. It seemed one merely had to hint that they might find evidence that the YD was global in nature (as opposed to limited to the North Atlantic) to get funded or published. I joked that one French lab could find the YD in the sediment at the bottom of their tea cups. In discussions with other grad students, I found similar fashionable ideas existed in other areas of biology and geology. I called it paradigm chasing. To me it seemed to be a result of centralized government funding. It is very interesting to hear the same phenomenon occurs in biomedical science.

    About 2/3 through a previous thread here I posted long extracts from Joel Best’s book, Flavor of the month: Why smart people fall for fads, that relate to what you are saying. Go here and search (Ctrl + F) for “flavor”:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/05/pielke-senior-arctic-temperature-reporting-in-the-news-needs-a-reality-check/

  95. Dr. Costello writes a good piece, but remain a bit skeptical of his analysis due to his history of work in other modern conspiracy theories.

  96. @rbateman (11:35:10) :

    “This formula worked for millenia.
    The present incarnation of AGW has foundered due to the inability to corner the market on climate science. The group that intended to force others to sacrifice at the AGW altar is now being eyed narrowly as disposable.

    That was brief, but beware, others will try it.”

    An excellent post rbateman! Unfortunately, this AGW group is not going away. They will alter their positions, and try again. They need to be closely watched.

  97. Unfortunately, this “betrayal of the principles of science” became the standard mode of operation (SOP) in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and in our space agency (NASA) long before the current climategate scandal.

    Since the time of the 1969 Apollo Mission to the Moon, NAS and NASA successfully distorted and manipulated space age data that might expose the myth of the Hydrogen-filled Sun. More recently DOE got into the act and reported that solar neutrinos from H-fusion oscillate away before we can detect them!

    Thus Climategate is just the visible tip of a very dirty iceberg.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA PI for Apollo
    Emeritus Professor of
    Nuclear & Space Studies

  98. u.k.(us) (16:03:42) :
    possibly, the reason most of us are here is because we heard the science was “SETTLED”. NEVER tell a scientist, it’s settled.

    Ain’t that the truth! This resonates strongly for me. Hearing that AGW is settled (or that there’s overwhelming evidence) sets my teeth on edge. It’s just so implausible on its face as to be hilarious. Something as complicated and chaotic as a whole planet’s climate is so well modeled that we can predict temperatures out dozens of years? Balderdash.

    I keep looking for the overwhelming evidence that I’m apparently missing and I just can’t find it. All I seem to be able to come up with is a supposed correlation between increases in CO2 and warming. First principal: correlation does not equal causation. And then to learn the details of the temperature measurements….

  99. James Chamberlain (13:08:52) :

    Peer review in itself is extremely flawed and biased. I hope for the death of peer review and for the death of the MSM. Blogs and secondary sources of information for everyone! Even if it is chaotic, let the truth be known.

    Agreed.

    I’d rather chaotic truth, than orderly lies.

    But I think most folks think of “secondary sources” in terms like some idiot science writer at “The Guardian”. A primary source is the actual study. A secondary source is a report on the study. A tertiary source is a report on the report of the study and so on. Wikipedia is a good example of a tertiary source in many instances. Which is why I normally reject a Wiki reference out of hand. Apart from that quibble, I’m in agreement.

  100. Doug in Seattle (20:34:24):

    I acknowledge that some, like yourself, believe that my work on the Zapruder film and the NTSB investigation of the Wellstone plane crash push my neutrality too far to the left for me to be credible. I can’t change that opinion, and I won’t try. There are other forums for us to discuss any disagreements you have with my findings on those topics.

    Even so, I encourage you to read the email excerpts themselves: just ignore everything in black font. That was what I really wanted to contribute. The commentary was only added, originally, on the request of a (busy) colleague (ironically, he has reviewed papers in that field), in order to place the excerpts in context more quickly.

  101. John Costella (21:26:09) :

    I have read your breakdown of the emails and find only a few things I disagree with. The emails speak for themselves if one take the time to wade through them.

    My only serious issue lies in your usage of the term fraud. Bad science, lousy ethics, and misleading (and outright lying) in pursuit a political goal are pretty clear, but these are not crimes – at least not in America.

  102. If Dr Costella purports to be offering analysis of the emails,then what is he doing with the Funkhouser/Briffa exchanges in the third and fourth emails cited?

    Funkhouser informs Briffa that the raw material he was working on was compromised by what appears to be inconsistent values. He goes into some detail about this. He states that a co-worker didn’t find any great climate response either and that he is still exploring the options.

    Yes,Dr Briffa has his interests in what the data Funkhouser is analysing offers. Is this sinister or even surprising? Briffa expresses interest in any content relevant to the Holocene. He is hopeful,as is Funkhouser, something useful can be extracted from the data,after the time and expense of the fieldwork. Who wouldn’t be?

    Funkhouser replies that he’s tried everything to get something of value from the data,but it is not possible. The data is ‘tempting’-hinting at some useful information- but there is ‘too much variation even within stands’. See ya Keith ,catch up for a beer one day.

    What has Dr Costella got to say about all this? That Funkhouser is hiding the results because they don’t tell the story he wants. But Funkhouser has explained that NO story of any reliable kind can be extracted from the material.

    It boils down to the interpretation of “climate responses”; Costella interprets this as not showing evidence of warming. I argue,given the detail Funkhouser gives, that it can be interpreted as not showing evidence of any consistent signals useful for any interpretation-‘Valeri didn’t find any great climate responses either’ writes Funkhouser. It’s dud material. Not a concealed ‘null’ result,but no result at all.

    Then Dr Costella ,who has already fingered Briffa as a blundering ‘older conspirator’ in his pre-amble and a ‘curious character’ here, alleges that Briffa has ‘influenced’ Funkhouser’s analysis. Why? It’s obvious that Funkhouser sought some counsel on alternative approaches,but there is nothing for it but ‘to look for an option where I can let this little story go as it is’.

    Dr Costella has made no attempt to find and examine the material being discussed,and is ever-willing to ascribe motive that reflects poorly on his targets,without acknowledging any ambiguity or alternative interpretation thrown up in these stolen, selected and decontextualised exchanges. Not very scientific,really.

  103. I’m sorry,people,but ‘the emails speak for themselves’ is code for ‘this is how they talk to me’. At best.

  104. To those who are critical of the paper, (you have every right to be) I believe you are missing a rare golden opportunity, in front of a blogg full of skeptics at that.

    Here is a paper that is NOT cluttered with complicated mathematical equations nor does it use computer models or graphs etc Put simply, the emails are the DATA. How that data is interpreted and chronologically presented is the “meat” of the paper and the authors thoughts and conclusions.

    The paper is at hand, so how about a “review” of the paper by one or some of you? Go thru it page by page and identify the “errors” as you see them.

    This is a rare opportunity in front of so many skeptics, anyone up to it?

  105. Keep swinging Nick… at some point you may even land one. You’ll have to do some artful dodging after you get past the first few relatively innocuous emails. The juicy stuff ain’t for pages yet…

  106. For all intents and purposes, the whole thing is a hoax. There’s not enough there to worry about. Humans have far more pressing problems. We should stick with the basics of reasonable conservation, removal of pollution, and sensible reuse. Beyond that, what of billions without adequate water and the burning of wood indoors for heat.

    The whole lot of climate science should be reduced to zero public funding.

  107. pft (17:55:34) :
    He then published it elsewhere and never submitted another paper to.
    It just so turns out that Einstein was wrong in that paper, and that the reviewer was right in criticizing it. Peer-review ‘worked’ for the first submission and failed for the second one.
    Before ~1950 there was a sort of peer-review because younger scientists would often first send their paper to established and respected ‘elder statesmen’ of their field for comments.

  108. Actually I am a biological scientist as well. Surface temperature measurement data should be a straightforward affair statistically, compared to our type of data with mind boggling variables. The surface temperature variables appear to be standarization/calibration of thermometers, placement, cherry picked start and end dates etc, not complicated at all. The real natural temperature is that measured in NON_URBAN areas and would represent what is really happening plus of course the satellite data. What’s the problem? Answer = an agenda. Actually you do find the same issue with ie companies trying to show a drug effect, but there seems to much more strict compliance issues than with “climate research” where it seems anything goes….

  109. vg,

    You omitted one crucial fact – that a temperature measurement is an intensive variable which is used to factor an extensive variable to produce a sensibly countable number. You cannot compute statistics on intensive variables that are physically meaningful. All intensive variables are qualitative assessments of some object in comparison to a previously established benchmark. They are rankings along some arbitrary scale, and not an absolute measurement of some physical property.

    In terms of physical reality, a temperature measurement is used to “weight” or factor a volume of physical matter – in this case a volume of air – to produce a heat or energy content value which can then be manipulated mathematically to produce physically meaningful statistics.

    However the process of analysing raw temperature measurements in isolation is as physically relevant as calculating an average telephone number from a page of the local telephone directory. Mathematically possible but physically nonsensical.

    This criticism is directed at the temperature data collected from earthly surfaced based thermometers, not from the temperature data collected by the various remote satellite systems that Roy Spencer, to give one example, analyses.

    The problem with surface temperature measurements is the ignorance of the physics underlying it. Put simply, a land based temperature measurement is an arbitrary measurement of two physical objects, the thermometer and the object it is in physical contact, and thus thermal equilibrium, with.

    It’s an ignorance of these basic physical facts that occurs in those who populate the social sciences, and who then exported that ignorance to the physical sciences they have invaded, Unfortunately many scientists in the physical ones also don’t understand the difference between intensive and extensive variables.

  110. As noted earlier, ‘this “betrayal of the principles of science” became the standard mode of operation (SOP) in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and in our space agency (NASA) long before the current climategate scandal.

    Since the time of the 1969 Apollo Mission to the Moon, NAS and NASA successfully distorted and manipulated space age data that might expose the myth of the Hydrogen-filled Sun.’

    One example is Dr. Carl Rouse. Dr. Rouse had a PhD degree in astrophysics from CalTech, but he was an honest scientist who had evidence of the Sun’s iron-rich interior. He was therefore sidelined.

    For a brief summary of Dr. Rouse’s research: http://tinyurl.com/y9o99y9

    The findings by Dr. Rouse and I were opposed not only by NAS (the National Academy of Sciences), but also by INAP (the International Academy of Propaganda)- an international alliance of politicians, scientists & publishers that promote propaganda to divert the attention away from empirical facts,

    Climategate is just the visible tip of a very dirty iceberg.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA PI for Apollo
    Emeritus Professor of
    Nuclear & Space Studies

  111. Nick (22:39:41):

    Concerning the generation of the ‘hockey stick’ from tree-ring proxy data, you assert;

    “It boils down to the interpretation of “climate responses”; Costella interprets this as not showing evidence of warming. I argue,given the detail Funkhouser gives, that it can be interpreted as not showing evidence of any consistent signals useful for any interpretation-’Valeri didn’t find any great climate responses either’ writes Funkhouser. It’s dud material. Not a concealed ‘null’ result, but no result at all.”

    No! That is factually not correct. It was a “concealed ‘null’ result” that was presented as a conclusion of a positive result. Importantly, any attempt to show it was a “concealed ‘null’ result” was ignored and/or rejected.

    John P Costella explains this on page 48 of his excellent essay where he comments on the email from Phil Jones concerning the refusal of Mann, Bradley and Hughes to provide the source data and codes they used to generate the ‘hockey stick’ in their 1998 and 1999 papers.

    This issue is directly relevant to the nature of the contents of IPCC reports which is (at last) obtaining public scrutiny.

    In my peer review for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) I made the same points as Costella concerning the ‘hockey stick’, but my review comment was ignored. (My review comments total over 30 A4 pages and they were all ignored).

    The pertinent review comment (on the Second Draft) which I presented – but which was ignored – said;

    “Start Page SPM-9: Start Line 21
    End Page SPM-9: End Line 24

    This paragraph is grossly misleading and must be replaced. The following replacement is the minimum required to correct the error in the TAR.

    “The SAR had reported that temperatures of the late twentieth century are similar to or lower than temperatures 1000 years ago. The TAR placed emphasis on the work of Mann et al. that indicated very little variability in NH temperatures over the last 1000 years with consistently low temperature until a temperature rise began around 1900. This finding of Mann et al. seemed to refute the large climate variability previously reported in many places including the SAR. However, since the TAR several studies have provided doubt to that work of Mann et al.. Many studies provide data that conflict with the findings of that work of Mann et al. (e.g. Beltrami et al) (ref. Beltrami et al “Long-term tracking of climate change by underground temperatures”, Geophysical Research Letters v.12 (2005) ) and indicate that the report of climate variability in the SAR was correct. In 2005 McIntyre and McKitrick published two papers that together provide a complete refutation of that work of Mann et al. (ref. McIntyre S & McKitrick R, Energy & Environment, v 16, no.1 (2005)) (2005), Geophysical Research Letters Vol. 32, No. 3, (2005)). But, perhaps the most important of their studies of that work of Mann et al. was their publication in 2003 (ref. McIntyre S & McKitrick R, Energy & Environment, v 24, pp 751-771 (2003)) that showed it is not possible to replicate the work of Mann et al. There are several reasons for the inability to replicate this work of Mann et al.; not least that Mann refuses to reveal his source codes. The inability to replicate this work of Mann et al. means it has no scientific worth: i.e. this work of Mann et al. is anecdote of similar kind to a report of a ghost sighting. Hence, the IPCC now apologises for including it in the TAR. The IPCC will now disregard this work of Mann et al. and recommends that all others should also disregard it until it can be – and has been – independently replicated.” ”

    Richard

  112. Nick (19:05:18) :

    “Is such a conclusion possible, from just one email?”

    There are over a thousand emails that were dumped online [here’s one source]. Dr Costello selected only a relative handful to make his argument.

    You could read them all, then make your own argument that it’s all a misunderstanding. I’m sure the principal actors would be deeply appreciative.

  113. I find the following quote from the full essay seems to say it all:

    “We will, sadly, see that this fundamental scientific flaw” [hiding negative results] “– which, in and of itself, is sufficient to render the evidence for climate change completely unreliable and scientifically worthless — is one that runs throughout the entire Climategate saga.”

  114. The analogy to the criminal justice system used in this story is more apt the other way around: The “evidence” that scientists “”tampered with the data”” has been obtained (or at the very least released) illegally, and should therefore be discarded in concluding anything about the guilt of climate scientists.

  115. RE: Bert Verheggen (04:48:26)

    I do not believe “guilt of the climate scientists” is the issue here. I believe we have ‘reasonable evidence’ to conclude that their work cannot be accepted as valid science. No one has intimated that the Climategate files have been fabricated or modified. In this case, I believe these scientists must bear the full burden of proof before the world can accept the conclusions of their work.

    Any prosecutor would be required prove these scientists guilty of criminal activity beyond any reasonable doubt on the basis of legal evidence. That may not be possible.

  116. Bart Verheggen (04:48:26),

    You make an assumption based on facts not in evidence when you claim that the leaked emails were obtained or released “illegally.” There is simply no evidence to back up your opinion.

    I see the strong likelihood that someone on the inside collated and posted the emails, or simply downloaded them from an FOIA folder. There were also warnings given to not leave such information on open servers. If information is posted on line, downloading it is not theft. Nothing was taken, it was simply copied. Surely you are aware of the “CENSORED” file that Steve McIntyre located on line and downloaded, which led to the embarrassing falsification of the MBH hypothesis? If copying on line files is illegal, why was McIntyre never charged with anything?

    As just one example of motive, if you were the scientist who was openly discussing the issue with a reviewer in a professional manner, and you received this kind of slap down from Michael Mann, wouldn’t you at least consider the option of showing the world what goes on in the CRU? [This is an example. I am not saying or implying that this is the leaker, only that the young Michael Mann arrogantly steps on a lot of toes – and people living in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones; retribution is far too easy.]

    Furthermore, the work product of the Climate Research Unit is publicly funded by taxpayers. It concerns the weather and the climate, not nuclear defense secrets. By what stretch of the imagination is publicly funded information proprietary?

    The biggest red herring argument in the entire debate is being made by those trying to make the issue one of “stealing” the emails, in an obvious attempt to shift the focus to unproven speculation, rather than engaging in an analysis of the wrongdoing exposed in real evidence: the emails themselves.

    So for the sake of an honest debate, let’s forget how the emails came to be exposed, until solid evidence emerges. As of now, that is a peripheral issue with no proof either way. Instead, let’s begin with the unrefuted evidence contained in the 1,000+ emails themselves. Dr. Costella argues that scientific misconduct is rampant among the alarmists, and he backs it up with numerous concrete examples.

    Your only answer is to speculate that the emails were stolen. That is an extremely weak response.

  117. I assume that many the original Climategate files still exist and are subject to subpoena. I presume those files, especially if they are subject to freedom of information requirements, would constitute the primary legal peril for all those involved. Of course, there may be some question as to whether they might have been modified in situ by the hacker team.

    If the release of the Climategate files had been an inside job, I think the authorities should have identified the perpetrators by now.

  118. Re Nick (19:05:18) : | Reply w/ Link

    “[Dr Costella] then raises a false equivalence ( tax minimisation = tax evasion),when he cites his first email. He cannot be seriously suggesting that using knowledge of lump sum taxation rules on money transfers between sovereignties to minimise taxation implies something sinister. The researchers are simply trying to conserve as much grant money as possible to apply to the project. Every casual international traveller knows the implications of lump sum thresholds,and seeks to inform themselves on how to minimise loss during transfers.

    Your comments on this matter are entirely misguided, unless you have some very specific information to hand regarding what would be an extremely idiosyncratic provision of the Russian tax system in 1996.

    You talk about “lump sum taxation rules on money transfers between sovereignties” as if this were an established procedure, of which “… every casual international traveller” is aware; but this is simply not the case, if only because people cannot be aware of something that does not exist. In general, transfers are not directly taxable; the recipients (and/or senders) are, according to the nature and purpose of the transfer, and the applicable tax legislation in the countries concerned.

    The request made of Keith Briffa is that he transfer a sum of more than $10,000 to the personal accounts of the individuals concerned, by means of dividing it into a series of transfers, each below $10,000.

    As a practical matter, larger transfers are generally subject to greater scrutiny by the tax authorities, with reporting requirements on the part of banks often linked a given threshold – with $10,000 being a common figure in this context. Making a series of smaller payments can therefore make it less likely that the income will be detected and taxed.

    However, if the recipient is potentially taxable on the receipts (which is stated explicitly in the relevant e-mail), then a deliberate failure to declare them is very likely to constitute tax evasion.

    If the sender of the money colludes with such a request, knowing the reason is for the receiving party to evade taxes, there is clearly the potential for the sender also to be guilty of a criminal act in either or both territories. There is no suggestion that actually occurred in this particular instance; as only the request is documented in the Climategate files, not Keith Briffa’s response.

    In summary, Dr Costella’s use of the phrase ‘tax evasion’ is well grounded; and your criticism of it is not.

  119. John Hooper (16:09:33) :

    Need I also point out the “Science and Public Policy Institute” is a right-wing think tank with a clearly biased agenda, and should therefore be given the same credibility as Greenpeace and WWF.

    Except where the former are making up BS to save trees and whales, the SPPI is making up BS to save corporate dollars.

    It’s like watching rats fighting over a corpse.

    REPLY:
    So you throw the baby out with the bath water???

    I find it very useful to read BOTH sides. Often there is some truth in among the lies. AGW and several other “Politically Correct” media stories would never work on the general public without the mixing of a generous dollop of truth in with the falsehood. The trick is to figure out which is which and reading both sides gives you a better chance of that. Also right, left or center does not mean an article can not be completely true.

  120. As Climategate for the moment revolves around the UK CRU at East Anglia Univ. – we submit a fine summary from Delingpole in today’s Telegraph:

    “It’s an important thing to remember when we talk about AGW: many of the activist-scientists pushing it passionately want the earth to be getting hotter and it for it to be largely man’s fault. These watermelons certainly don’t want the opposite to be true, because then they wouldn’t have the excuse they so desperately need to destroy the capitalist system and take us all back to the agrarian age.”

  121. Spector (06:25:53) :

    If the release of the Climategate files had been an inside job, I think the authorities should have identified the perpetrators by now

    No. If it was a whistleblower leak, by a government or University employee – they are protected by the UK Employment Act. The long time line and selection of emails suggests that they are a FOI response by the University and as such are neither stolen or a hack. They are communications properly subject to FOI, leaked by an insider.

    In any case they have done a yeoman’s job of exposing the corruption in climate science and the dangers of unchecked power in the hands of a few inflated egos.

  122. It is the involvement of politicians which has caused the biggest problem. They have seen a means to extract more taxation by playing on the emotions of the untrained masses and promoting speculation as if it were proven scientific fact.

  123. John Phillips (16:32:39) :

    The science peer review process is not good enough when the IPCC is recommending such drastic measures to counteract what they say is happening to the climate…..”

    Reply:
    Adding more bureaucracy doesn’t work. Like you I was impressed by how the USA FDA worked to keep people honest, that was until I worked in industry as a lab manager/Quality Engineer for thirty years and saw what went on behind the scenes. When there is a lot of money involved any system can be gamed and that is my main objection to the whole ISO/just-in-time Quality system that has taken over industry. Paperwork and a management system does not guarantee quality, only testing does. ISO just makes “gaming the system” easier. I suggest you take the time to read:

    The Festering Fraud Behind Food Safety Reform: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/contributors/nicole-johnson/

    History, HACCP and the Food Safety Con Job: http://www.opednews.com/articles/History-HACCP-and-the-Foo-by-Nicole-Johnson-090906-229.html

    Here is an example of how the US food safety system was gamed by the big boys in industry.

    The efforts of Food inspectors to bring the problems with HACCP were and still are ignored by USDA management, a management that is drawn from the prominent members of the very industry they are supposed to police. In the Apr 17, 2008 testimony of Mr. Stan Painter, Chairman, National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals,
    Mr. Painter, stated that in December of 2004 he receive reports from union members that SRM regulations were not uniformly enforced. Painter then wrote to the Assistant FSIS Administrator for Field Operation about the enforcement problem. The USDA responsed by placing Painter on disciplinary investigation status and contacted the USDA Office of Inspector General about filing criminal charges.

    Testimony: “…It [the recall of Hallmark/Westland Meat] highlights one of the problems that we have attempted to raise with the agency ever since 1996 when the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points [HACCP] inspection system was put in place. There seems to be too much reliance on an honor system for the industry to police itself. While the USDA investigation is still on going at Hallmark/Westland, a couple of facts have emerged that point to a system that can be gamed by those who want to break the law. It (HACCP) shifted the responsibility for food safety over to the companies…”
    December 2004: Freedom of Information Act requests by the Union
    August 2005: Over 1000 non-compliance reports – weighing some 16 pounds — were turned over
    http://domesticpolicy.oversight.house.gov/documents/20080418113258.pdf

    Despite this Congressional investigation and a similar Congressional investigation instigated by John Munsell, nothing has been done to correct the problem. Istead Congessmand Waxman’s “Food Safety Enhancement Act” specifically states that HACCP is to remain untouched!!!

    This is a short piece on how HACCP actually works written by the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN http://www.mfu.org/node/276

  124. Re: debusk. Police” violate” the exclusionary rule all the time–it only becomes an issue if your planned investigative activity ends up in court. Consequently, a lot of issues, crimes, never make it to peer review evaluation before a judge or jury; sometimes the crimes, facts, just lack jury appeal, as I’ve had prosecutors say. True, replication of the crime, facts, isn’t an issue in court as it is with doing science, but to paraphrase Heraclitis, the same water never passes over the same rock in the river. In short, there’s a lot of game playing with the exclusionary rule, and better outcomes could probably be had through the tort system rather than excluding facts from peer review. I will be surprised if any of the climategate miscreants are “sanctioned.”

  125. Nick,

    First, I simply disagree with you that spending huge amounts of money on energy will not affect other (potentially life saving) expenditures. Show me some numbers as to how that would work. Will Congress really hold spending on life-saving programs constant when everything else is impacted by higher energy costs? In my own personal finances, I can tell you that if I am spending more money on necessities (like heating my house), that money will come from discretionary funds, which will not then be available for charitable giving.

    You make a good point about being careful not to read too much into the emails and to admit up front that some of them could be completely innocent and simply reflect rejection of particular ideas, data, manuscripts, etc. because they are scientifically flawed (at least in the opinion of the writer). Also, I agree it is not productive to propose that alarmists are driven by money or socialism or anything else. In the absence of proof of those things, I prefer to take the high road and not make assumptions about anyone’s motives.

    However, I have seen enough in the emails and documents that cannot really be interpreted as innocent to convince me that the Team and their supporters are not nearly as sure of their conclusions as the statements in the IPCC reports would suggest. Even if we ignore their scientific misconduct, the Team reveals sufficient uncertainty in their private communications to raise serious questions about the wisdom of a crash program to decrease CO2 emissions. When Trenberth says we don’t understand why the models don’t predict the lack of warming for the past 10 years or so and this is not refuted by other Team members and is repeated by Gavin in response to a question I asked on RealClimate, I think there is too much uncertainty to proceed with an enormously expensive program that will hurt other causes.

  126. Interesting essay. I think it’s true that the lay public take a lot of what science says on faith. I mean how many of us could recount all the points that make us believe in the existence of atoms – especially remembering that Einstien’s paper on Brownian motion has been said to be a contribution to atomic theory, and that was as late as 1905. I think the lay public have a sense of what is plausible even in scientific “breakthroughs”. To me a breakthrough in superconductivity was much more believable than cold fusion. Clearly the source of a lot of skepticism is the recognition that it is something that greens are all “jonesing” for. I also think though that there is something implausible in the proposition that climate experts can predict future climate. Show me how you did it or I’ll just say to myself, “time will tell on that prediction.”

  127. Gail Combs (08:37:49) :

    “When there is a lot of money involved any system can be gamed . . .”

    And when money and politics meet there is always corruption.

  128. RE: Indiana Bones (08:25:30) : “If it was a whistleblower leak, by a government or University employee – they are protected by the UK Employment Act.”

    If the hypothetical whistleblower’s identity must be kept secret to save his professional career, then I believe his evidence would be inadmissible in the United States, at least, as every defendant here has a constitutional right to confront their accusers.

    I believe the real problem right now is the large number of people who still accept the dire need for CO2 emission reduction as Green Earth Gospel.

  129. I’ve gotten to page 58. In general, I agree with the author’s analysis — so far.

    Unfortunately, as the pages progress the author resorts to increasingly “over the top” ad hominem and snide remarks that diminish his paper. Scholarly readers are turned off by that sort of thing. Hopefully, such language will diminish as I progress to the end.

    This is a very serious topic that must be handled “unemotionally” to maintain credibility, I think. Hopefully, the paper’s verbiage can be edited.

  130. I just finished this. The author is sometimes too prosecutorial in his analysis, and occasionally even deeply unfair (at one point he asks why an innocent man would need recourse to legal advice!), but generally it was a very good read, with a lot of keen observation, and a very good presentation of the emails and why they were objectionable on general “good science” grounds. I suspect the Climatologists will wince deeply every time Costella (himself a Physics PhD) calls them “a soft science” and compares their competence unfavorably to high-school stats and computer programming students.

    The diddling of peer review and FOIA is quite damningly and unarguably laid bare here.

    Moving on to Mosh & Fuller book now. . .

  131. Richard Courtenay, I’m not making any point about the many reconstructions in the “Hockey Stick”.

    I am specifically examining the cited exchanges between Funkhouser and Briffa over material gathered in Krygyzstan, from which Dr Costella draws what I think is an unsupportable interpretation.

    Neil R, the email (0826209667) does not support a conclusion of tax evasion,only of advice to minimise tax and therefore maximise what is available for work:

    “Only in this case [keeping transfer sums below 10,000USD] can we avoid big taxes and use money for our work as much as possible”

    There is nothing illegal about using awareness of tax thresholds to minimise tax. This is standard practice.

  132. The fifth email (0848679780) Dr Castella cites is actually of historical interest because what it shows is the conception of a method designed to meet the ‘silly season’ December media cycle demand for a summary of the years weather/climate.

    Dr Castella tries to paint this straightforward response to external demand as a sign of the primacy of pro-active PR over science,and a contempt for impartiality. The last paragraph of his ‘analysis’ is the purest bar-room lawyers hyperbole, equating the issuing of a preliminary annual climate assessment with criminal insider trading!

    The researchers don’t want to be caught out without a straightforward media release that can be used by contributing/interested agencies. They already are becoming aware that the media demands that members of scientific ‘communities’ are supposed to sing from the same hymn book over every little matter.The media enjoy making mountains out of molehills. So competent people like Dr Neville Nicholls,then of Australia’s BOM, could be relied on to understand the context and content of a preliminary information release.

    This communication discusses the best way of producing a reasonably accurate assessment of the year,without the benefit of having complete December data. The email’s author Geoff Jenkins details which data can be used for an informed estimate for the hungry media. Jenkins clearly states the release information is to be identified as a PROVISIONAL result. Just as clearly ,he states that they will detail how they arrive at the result.

    1995 was then the hottest year on record. They know that 1996 will be a little cooler globally than 1995,which will bring ‘skeptical’ attention from the media and doubters who rhetorically expect that warming will be monotonic. Every year the cry ‘what ever happened to global warming’ would be heard,miring the researchers in the usual thankless repetitive rounds of explanations. Sound familiar?

    Jenkins also clearly states this will get everyone off their backs until they release the full information after December’s data is in,processed and added to the record. He adds as an aside that nobody will be interested by then anyway.

    What is so remarkable about any of this?

  133. Flicking through Dr Castella’s endless confection of long bows,misreadings,sermonising and unwittingnesses,I wonder how he found the time and sheer hubris to pass these judgements.

    He quotes-actually, clumsily paraphrases- part of email 1255532032 to press a laughable ‘point’ about climate model proof being validated only by absolute replication of the natural record. The implication of his wild attacks in comments in this part of the email collection is that if several generations of climate scientists,all ‘incompetent’ by his reckoning,had gotten out of the way,Costella and fellow physicists would have done a better job and quicker. Wow.

    His opinionating on email 1255523796 is mindblowing. Making a comment like

    “As a physicist,these are questions I would have been asking 30 years ago-not stumbling across in October 2009”

    is appallingly gauche,and simply ill-intentioned. All it indicates is Dr Costella’s ignorance.

    Anybody with the slightest interest in this field would be aware of mathematician/meteorologist Dr. Kevin Trenberth’s CV and publication record, and the fact that he,and climate science, has been asking these questions FOR more than 30 years. Trenberth’s scientific output has advanced knowledge of ocean/atmospheric processes in scale,distribution and detail like few others.

  134. Finished it.

    The paper provides a public service. Though some of the “judgments” made are “debatable”, the overall impression regarding the “quality” of the science, “peer review”, and “lack of objectivity” in some cases — seems correct.

    Surely calls into question the issue of “settled science” that can be used as a sound basis to spend trillions of dollars.

  135. Nick (22:56:56),

    You make some good points. But I have a problem with a couple of the issues you raise:

    Using Dr. Trenberth as an appeal to authority disregards other equally [or better] qualified individuals who have different views.

    Also, the point about climate model validation doesn’t mention that the climate models haven’t been validated. The IPCC bases its projections on the climate models, and they specifically avoid the term “prediction” in favor of “projections.” Why? Because predictions require validation, and projections do not.

    Not one of the ≈ two dozen GCMs was able to predict [or even project] the flat to cooling trend of the past decade; they would have failed validation. So they project instead. That doesn’t inspire confidence in the models.

    The great benefit of the East Anglia emails is the picture they paint of the underhanded gaming of the peer review system, and the clear admission that the warming so often predicted has not materialized.

    And the admission of scientific misconduct by Wei-Chyung Wang by Tom Wigley is a keeper, as are those emails exposing the extremely unethical strategizing that these scientists engaged in to keep out all skeptical points of view, including their conniving with journal boards and reviewers against another scientist – based solely on the identity of the skeptical scientist, who was blackballed before his paper was even read. And gaming the system in the collusion between referees and those shepherding papers into or out of publication. And the organizing of a conspiracy by Michael Mann to destroy if possible a journal that had the temerity [in their view] to print a mildly skeptical paper by an esteemed scientist. Those conclusions are inescapable when reading the emails – and these are only a small handful of the thousand+ emails available.

    I suspect there are plenty more emails and other information available, such as the Harry_read_me file, for either of two reasons: held in reserve to protect the person leaking the first batch, or emails that were deleted from the first batch, which might have implicated the leaker as going along with the rent-seeking scientists. There are plenty of emails that are clearly missing a response, which must be held in reserve somewhere.

    I agree that Dr. Costella’s article would have been stronger with fewer opinions. But when someone doing honest science sees the shenanigans that these climate gatekeepers were/are engaged in, the temptation was probably pretty strong to point out why they were being unethical. Many casual readers might have missed the nuances.

  136. Although agreeing with the content of Dr. Costella’s analysis, to varying degrees several commentors [Allen63 (13:38:36), geo (16:47:55), Smokey (09:16:44)] take exception with the tone of his analysis. I understand the commentors concerns and to some degree agree with them. However, on balance I support and even applaud Dr. Costella’s writing style. The problem as I see it is that the issue of AGW is both scientific and political–scientific in that nature and hence science will dictate what will actually happen to the earth’s climate, and political in the sense that man’s response to the perceived or real AGW threat will be decided by the leaders of nations. Let nature be the arbiter of the science, and let the public be the arbiter of the politics. The “tone” of Dr. Costella’s analysis will have zero effect on natue, but it might have an effect on the public. For this reason, I applaud Dr. Costella’s “tone”. I might have worded one or two phrases differently, but then I didn’t take the time to do the analysis Dr. Costella did. And even if I did word things differently, I would likely have been slightly more “over the top” than Dr. Costella. The polictical battle needs to be fought with a combination of science, wit, humor, and explanations that appeal to the general public. By this measure, I think Dr. Costella did an outstanding job.

  137. One of the main complaints I see at this site is that politicisation of science obscures the ‘truth’ at best,or debauches or invents the ‘truth’,so I really cannot understand why anyone would want to promote politically biased conjecture about these emails.

    It has to be remembered that the file of emails is the end result of sifting,selecting and collating thirteen years of communications between hundreds of individuals for emails that deal with the PR end of the spectrum,content that focuses on disagreement.
    between key figures,and content relating to conflict with external critics. Most of the communication between these individuals is omitted. It is unreasonable to think that scientists should not passionately argue for their research-backed beliefs,and not be able to quantify the strengths and weaknesses of their knowledge bases with nuance and candour,and occasional irony and flippancy.

    “..explanations that appeal to the general public.”,Reed Coray,do not necessarily appeal to the truth.

  138. Perhaps, I’m misreading the article – I agtee with the general premise that Science should follow the Scientific method. However, in this case I wish this was just a matter of the data being stitched together incorrectly as research was being done. After reading the emails and knowing as you mention that this is climate ideology, they didn’t just make a mistake putting the data together, they deliberately changed their sampling methods in order to obtain the results that they desired. This is the complete opposite of good science. They were influenced by those paying for the results – they new what results they wanted and that’s what they gave them.

    Junk science plain and simple. In each case, real scientists redoing thethe major scientific samplings being used by the climate ideologists to show a hockey stick warming trend at the end of their data plot, proved that this hockey stick didn’t exist. Their Scientific Method based studies showed no hockey stick and rather a normal data curve. This implied that the samplings appeared to be manipulated specifically to cause this. Now that we have the emails we know that they were indeed manipulated to cause this.

    To imply that these climate cultists even tried to apply the Scientific method, other than in appearance, is an insult to scientists everywhere.

  139. I have just finished with the document. It was very informative. The bias was a little strong. I would love to see the same emails defended in the smae format.

  140. Nick (16:57:31) :

    “..explanations that appeal to the general public.”,Reed Coray,do not necessarily appeal to the truth.

    Nick, in the sense that an “explanation appeals to the general public”, it is meaningless to argue the “explanation might not appeal to the truth”. An explanation that “appeals” to the general public is one that “has the ability to attract or stimulate the mind or emotions”. You can no more “attract or stimulate the mind or emotions of truth” than you can “attract or stimulate the mind or emotions of a brick“.

    I happen to believe Dr. Costella’s thesis is “spot on”, but that is beside the point. My (11:10:11) comment wasn’t about the truthfulness of Dr. Costella’s thesis, it was about the tone he used to express that thesis. And although this blog is primarily scientific in nature, it is not totally so. IMO “Climategate” encompasses both political and scientific issues; and since the categories assigned to this thread are “Climategate, Science”, I believe my comment was consistent with the content of this thread.

    I also believe we are on the brink of entering into a disastrous and ill-conceived reduction in fossil fuel use based on false or at least not sufficiently proven scientific claims. There are times to debate the science and times to debate the politics. Since it will be political leaders, not scientists, that push us off that cliff and since political leaders listen to their electorates, winning the political battle is critical. If you disagree, then convince people like Dr. Hansen, Dr. Pachauri, Dr. Trenberth, Dr. Holdren, and others to stick to science and cease being advocates–i.e., to stop pressuring political leaders to sign meaningless accords and to transfer wealth from developed countries to undeveloped countries.

  141. Does anyone have an opinion about how Dr. Costella’s work compares with the Climategate book by Mosher and Fuller?

    I believe Dr. Costella’s article is written in the style of a prosecutor carefully presenting his case — nothing wrong with that — as opposed to an ‘impartial’ judge weighing evidence presented before him. Dr. Costella does appear to be making a good case here.

  142. I suspect there are plenty more emails … held in reserve to protect the person leaking the first batch, or emails that were deleted from the first batch, which might have implicated the leaker as going along with the rent-seeking scientists. There are plenty of emails that are clearly missing a response, which must be held in reserve somewhere.

    I recently noticed something that makes me suspect you’re right. (Just a tiny “something,” and one I don’t want to mention.) I’d now put the odds at 1 in 4 that there is more being held back.

    This possibility, since the CRU scientists can’t know if it’s true or not, makes it likelier that there will be full disclosure of additional material in response to the Parliamentary inquiry.

  143. I just spent my Sunday reading through this excellent and enlightening analysis. A great compendium of the Climategate emails. I find it telling that in the final pages both Trenberth and Mann voice reservations if not doubts about their ‘science’.

  144. This is truely an excellent dissection of the Climategate emails. I couldn’t put it down…. I read until it was finished at 4:00 am! Maybe partly because I knew Mike really well in graduate school when he switched from theoretical nuclear physics into what would become climatology. He was convinced of GW on day one in 1990 when he attended his very first talk on climate. There was no open mind and no debate back then and I can see through the emails that he hasn’t changed at all.

  145. @Reed Coray (11:10:11) :

    It wasn’t *just* “tone”. At one point he has them unquestionably going to jail for FOIA obstruction, for instance –that’s not his job. Let the legal process decide that. At another he convicts Briffa of “treason” to the UK.

    I suppose there are posters on this thread who are ready to convict the whole lot of “treason to the human race”, but I think that’s a bit beyond what most people were looking for in an analytical analysis of the content of those emails by another scientific expert.

  146. It looks like the limitations on prosecution under the UK FOI law make it a legal fiction. In any case, I would not expect the government there to have any appetite to be seen by many as persecuting the ‘heroes’ of the green earth movement. That also applies in the United States.

    I note that Dr. Mann’s book “Dire Predictions” is the number-one bestselling book in the “Climategate” books search category on Amazon.com. Mosher and Fuller’s book is number two and Ralph B. Alexander’s book, “Global Warming False Alarm” is number three.

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