Over at Climate Audit Steve McIntyre has started a new series on the “the trick.” To this day the trick is still largely misunderstood by nearly everyone discussing it, except Steve and a few of his readers. The trick deniers, are back at it using some old stupid pet tricks –moving the pea under the thimble. They clearly do not have a command of the mathematical operations underlying the trick or a command of all the versions of the trick. As Steve writes:
In a recent post, Angliss moves the pea under the thimble, using an IPCC diagram to supposedly rebut a criticism of Jones’ trick email (about the WMO 1999 diagram), and then, after this sleight-of-hand, accuses me of making claims “not supported by the published record” – relying on this trick to supposedly justify his claim. Desmogblog, without doing any due diligence of their own to determine whether Angliss’ claims are valid, spreads this disinformation.” Read the rest of Steve here.
Recently, Angliss contacted me to ask me questions about the climategate mails and whether or not I thought they were being taken in context. I’ll excerpt a bit of our discussion to illustrate his ability to question his own bias:
Angliss:….. In his testimony before the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Phil Jones estimated that he had sent about 1.5 million emails over the period covered in the published CRU emails. That compares to approximately 200 emails that were from Jones in the published emails (via a quick search at eastangliaemails.com). Do you think that not having access to those other emails limits what we can say about the context of the published emails, and why or why not?
Mosher: “From 1996 to 2009 is say 13 years. 1,500,000, mails is what 115K mails per year. 365 days a year so 316 mails a day or about 13 mails per hour 24 hours a day. Wilt Chamberlain claims to have had sex with 20,000 women. I regard both claims with the some skepticism. Who knows perhaps Jones does have a mighty pen.”
Angliss: “Even if we assume that Jones’ email estimate is an exaggeration, even 1100 emails represents a very small percentage of the total email output of CRU over the past 20 years. Does it bother you that to date we don’t know who edited the emails, why they did it, and what criteria they used to choose between what emails they published and what emails they deleted?”
People should watch this tactic closely. Jones makes a claim. Angliss, unthinkingly, not pausing two seconds to do a back of the envelope check, proceeds on the assumption that Jones is telling the truth. That’s his bias. When his source is challenged, rather than rethink his assessment of Jones, he reaffirms his bias and the storyline that some person selected and edited the mails. There is strong evidence, as I argued in our book, that indicates there was little human intervention in the selection of the texts. That the selection was done algorithmically. But that doesn’t fit the story line of an evil hacker who cherry picked the worst mails. Angliss cannot see how Jones exaggeration is relevant. He cannot see that Jones is a serial hyperbolist. We may never know who picked the mails or how they were selected. But we can watch the things Angliss chooses to discuss and which things get ignored.