The BEST whopper ever

I was over at Judy Curry’s place, reading her update to the Mail on Sunday story, and noticed she referenced URLs to the updated FAQs at the BEST website. I followed and was totally shocked to read this FAQ: (bold mine)

Why didn’t Berkeley Earth wait for peer review?

Some people think that peer review consists of submitting a paper to a journal and waiting for the anonymous comments of referees. Traditional peer review is much broader than that and much more open. In science, when you have a new result, your first step is to present it to your colleagues by giving presentations, talks at local and international conferences, colloquia, and by sending out “preprints.” In fact, every academic department in the sciences had a preprint library where people would read up on the latest results. If they found something to disagree with, they would talk to or write the authors. Preprint libraries were so popular that, if you found someone was not in the office or lab, the first place you would search would be in the preprint library. Recently these rooms have disappeared, their place taken over by the internet. The biggest preprint library in the world now is a website,

Such traditional and open peer review has many advantages. It usually results in better papers in the archival journals, because the papers are widely examined prior to publication. It does have a disadvantage, however, that journalists can also pick up preprints and report on them before the traditional peer-review process is finished.

Perhaps because of the media picking up on talks and preprints, a few journals made a new rule: they will not publish anything that is distributed as a preprint or that is discussed openly in a meeting or colloquium. This policy has resulted in more attention to several journals, but the restrictive approach had a detrimental effect on the traditional peer review system. Some fields of science, for example String Theory, objected so strongly that they refuse to publish in these journals, and they put all their papers online immediately.

The best alternative would be to have the media hold back and not report preprint material. Unfortunately they refuse to do that. The situation is made more difficult by the fact that many of the media misreport the content of the preprints. For that reason Berkeley Earth has tried to answer the questions given to us by the media, in hopes that our work will be more accurately reported. The two page summary of findings is also meant to help ensure that the media reports accurately reflect the content of our papers.


I call absolute total BS on that. Why?

Because BEST contacted media in advance of the release of their papers and provided preprints. The October 20th release by BEST was planned and coordinated with media, such as the Economist, Guardian, NYT, New Scientist, and Nature, all of which contacted me before the release on October 20th. This FAQ on peer review was added sometime after that date, I don’t know when, but the FAQ headline obviously refers to past tense.

Remember the ethical quandary I wrote about on October 15th? I wrote then:


Imagine, if you will, that you are given a complete draft copy of a new paper that has just been submitted to a journal, and that paper cites your work, and it was provided as a professional courtesy before it has been peer-reviewed and accepted.

There’s a caveat attached to the email with the paper which says:

“Please keep it confidential until we post it ourselves.”

OK, fine and dandy, no problem there. Happy to oblige. I sent along a couple of small corrections and thanked the author.

Imagine my surprise when I get this email Friday from a reporter at a major global media outlet. I’ve redacted the names.

Dear Mr Watts

I’m the [media name redacted] new environment editor. I’m planning to write a pretty big piece next week on the [paper preprint name redacted], and wondered whether you might be able to give me your view of it. I think you’ve been sent the  [paper preprint name redacted] paper… If you did happen to be able and interested, I’d be enormously grateful for a word about this on Monday. Might that be possible?


I objected to being put in an untenable position with confidentiality on the paper. I was asked for my confidentiality about one of the papers, but then they gave the paper to media, and the media came calling me asking me to comment on it. I had no warning they would do so.

The Economist was first and that’s the email from reporter James Astill above, and I had to ask permission from Dr. Richard Muller before I spoke with Astill, as I mentioned in my report on October 20th.

Elizabeth Muller told me herself that “this is coordinated for October 20th”. Dr. Richard Muller says he sent it to one outlet, but I got requests from other media outlets before October 20th release. How did that happen?

—–Original Message—–

From: Richard A Muller

Date: Friday, October 14, 2011 3:35 PM

To: Anthony Watts- ItWorks

Subject: Re: Our paper is attached

We sent a copy to only one media person, from The Economist, whom we trust to keep it confidential.  I sent a copy to you because I knew you would also keep it confidential.
I apologize for not having gotten back to you about your comments.  I particularly like your suggestion about the title; that is an improvement.

I have all my notes and emails from these exchange with BEST and media outlets who made request, so this isn’t a matter of recollection.

For example this from the WUWT contact form:

Jeff Tollefson

[Watts Up With That?] Contact

Subject    interview query from Nature magazine

2011-10-18 @ 12:05:13 PM
Hello Mr. Watts, I’m preparing a story about the formal release of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature analysis on Thursday, and I was hoping to get your thoughts. Their embargoed release says they specifically looked at the temperature stations you flagged as suspect (as well as the urban heat island effect), and they say the trends hold true. Of course they already reported much of this unofficially back in May, but there you go. Would you have a moment to chat? My number is 212-451-xxxx. If I don’t hear back, I’ll see if I can’t track down your address through other means. Best, Jeff Tollefson US Correspondent Nature magazine

I wrote October 20th when the media blitz happened:


Readers may recall this post last week where I complained about being put in a uncomfortable quandary by an author of a new paper. Despite that, I chose to honor the confidentiality request of the author Dr. Richard Muller, even though I knew that behind the scenes, they were planning a media blitz to MSM outlets. In the past few days I have been contacted by James Astill of the Economist, Ian Sample of the Guardian, and Leslie Kaufman of the New York Times. They have all contacted me regarding the release of papers from BEST today.


Now BEST is telling us it is the media who refuses to hold back on reporting preprints? Give me a freaking break.

Either the Muller team is grossly incompetent at public relations, or they are playing a unbelievably stupid game of CYA after the fact due to the negative reactions they are getting to the “press before peer review” fiasco they brought on themselves.

Either way, it’s gobsmackingly unscrupulous of them to now blame the media.

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October 30, 2011 4:48 pm

Too much smoke and too many mirrors for me. BESTgate anyone?

October 30, 2011 4:53 pm

So, if they can’t be honest about this, what would bring the public to believe they were honest about their assessment of the temps?
The short answer is, there isn’t any impetus to believe this stuff. Look at their global app. It is incredulous. They have total Antarctica coverage in the 50s? Or, look at the 1890s. They claim total Africa and South American coverage. I wrote about it here…. , but the thought didn’t seem to gain much traction. Perhaps it will now.

October 30, 2011 4:54 pm

Either the Muller team is grossly incompetent at public relations, or they are playing a unbelievably stupid game of CYA after the fact due to the neative reactions they are getting to the “press before peer review” fiasco they brought on themselves.
I’m leaning toward “both”.
Does Dr. Curry fully support the Berkeley EST rationale on “Why didn’t Berkeley Earth wait for peer review?”

Al Gored
October 30, 2011 4:59 pm

BEST = Blatant Effort to Sabotage Truth.

Bill Hutto
October 30, 2011 5:03 pm

I think it was a brilliant sting to expose the gullible media!
…or maybe Dr. Muller is an incompetent boob.

October 30, 2011 5:09 pm

The media is always at fault… 😎
Seriously, Muller and daughter tried to ride the media tiger with apparently non-brilliant results. But I wouldn’t discount them yet. At the very least, they are now known as generators of readership-increasing copy.

Gail Combs
October 30, 2011 5:12 pm

Lets just hope that Muller keeps tripping himself up. The public is not nearly as dumb as a lot of people think. They may not be able to follow the fancy math but they CAN follow lies and scandal.

Gail Combs
October 30, 2011 5:13 pm

OH, and I want my Whopper with cloud cover and a side of sea level fall.

David Falkner
October 30, 2011 5:18 pm

Maybe they didn’t count on Dr. Curry to speak up?

October 30, 2011 5:21 pm

One “FAQ” is: “It appears that Berkeley Earth’s analysis shows a temperature rise greater than others had previously published. Is this so? Can you explain?”
Note, they point out that since they only have analyzed the “land only data”, and ” Land warms more than oceans, so when we include the ocean we expect the total global warming to be less.”
OK, that sounds reasonable, but then why in the next “FAQ”: “Has Global Warming Stopped?” don’t they continue that line of reasoning and state that with only the land data included so far, as discussed in the previous FAQ, it is not possible to make any conclusions regarding the overall global trend?
But nooo, they then show a graphic with “95% confidence” that might appear to some to show that based on their admitted incomplete, land only data, “Global Warming” continues.
Bias anyone?

Harry Bergeron
October 30, 2011 5:23 pm

Death of a Dilemma:
A paper given to you as “confidential” and soon after given to the press
is instantly and permanently NOT confidential.
You are thereby released from your promise. QED and Voila!
Mueller’s manipulation is worthy of a third-rate politician.
Next time, ask the journalist if s/he were held to confidentiality, LOL.

October 30, 2011 5:27 pm

it leaves you with only two choices….
A top climate scientist is stupid
A top climate scientist is crooked

James Allison
October 30, 2011 5:31 pm

[snip – even though I’ve been treated badly by Muller et al, this is a bit over the top] – Anthony

October 30, 2011 5:33 pm

It’s not like peer review works at the best of time. William Briggs discusses a peer review failure over at his blog:
“A Case Of Failed Peer Review: Dust And Death”
“The distance between what civilians think peer review is and what it actually is suffers from the same failing as that evinced by Han Solo—rare pop culture reference!—when he boasted to Obi Wan Kenobi that the Millennium Falcon could do “the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs.” Let him that readeth understand.”

October 30, 2011 5:40 pm

I don’t see that BEST is being inconsistent at all.
If the media refuse not to report on pre-review prints, it is quite within the keeping of the described MO (“For that reason Berkeley Earth has tried to answer the questions given to us by the media, in hopes that our work will be more accurately reported. The two page summary of findings is also meant to help ensure that the media reports accurately reflect the content of our papers.”) to make a press release prior to the pre-review copy being circulated.
So I think that sober analysis of your calling BS on that, is that you could be mistaken.

October 30, 2011 5:47 pm

Doesn’t it raise even tiny little questions in your mind to discover that Dr Muller’s side business will financially cash in from his so-called “sober analysis”?
It’s not like Muller has displayed any professional ethics to date.

October 30, 2011 5:49 pm

Your vituperative backlash continues. A far cry from “I’ll accept whatever result they produce”.
REPLY: So, BEST is allowed to change the rules, play games, skirt convention, trash process, and post fabricated blame, but I have to adhere to what I said when they put on the air of false professionlism for me in March?
Yes, I was duped, I trusted them. How’s the weather in Chile? -Anthony

October 30, 2011 5:50 pm

I agree. They should have taken inspiration from your own oh-so-coy-and-quiet behaviour in the couple of years before you actually published your own paper.
( 🙂 )
REPLY: The difference was that I had to advertise here to get the project done, I had to solicit volunteers and show progress. They got hugely funded. – Anthony

Michael D Smith
October 30, 2011 5:50 pm

Individuals who lie are liars.

Michael Jankowski
October 30, 2011 5:56 pm

I thought the next FAQ was just as noteworthy:
“Is it time now to end global warming skepticism?
Our study addressed only one area of the concerns: was the temperature rise on land improperly affected by the four key biases (station quality, homogenization, urban heat island, and station selection)? The answer turned out to be no – but they were questions worthy of investigation. Berkeley Earth has not addressed issues of the tree ring and proxy data, climate model accuracy, or human attribution…”

October 30, 2011 5:58 pm

I don’t see the scandal here. Knowing they couldn’t get the kind of preprint release that would be best for the scientific process, they decided to manipulate the release to the press to achieve the best effect they thought they could reasonably get. I may have missed something, but I don’t see anything wrong with that or contradictory with the FAQ. On the other hand, it does appear that they did try to “hide the decline” in the rate of temperature increase over the last decade.

October 30, 2011 5:59 pm

Somebody please hand stevo and toto a hanky. They don’t like that Dr Muller is exposed for what he is: a self-serving guy whose side company gets payola according to the alarmism they promote.

October 30, 2011 6:06 pm

“Latitude says: October 30, 2011 at 5:27 pm
it leaves you with only two choices….
A top climate scientist is stupid
A top climate scientist is crooked”

Which top climate scientist?

Dave Springer
October 30, 2011 6:10 pm

I understand Muller’s pants caught on fire just now.

October 30, 2011 6:16 pm

Joe Romm at ThinkProgress already responded to the Curry analysis. I bet you can guess the kinds of things ol’ Joe had to say. LOL.
It does seem the arguments FOR global warming are getting narrower and narrower as they lose focus and reality contradicts the so-called “studies.”

October 30, 2011 6:21 pm

Muller’s alleged “open preprint peer review” shtick is something I’ve never heard of as “traditional”. Usually real scientists should already know how to do a study, have the right professionals available as needed – instead of having to rely on “open preprint peer review” – then submit the study for possible publication, right?
So what were/are Muller’s alleged “open preprint peers” doing, anyway, voting on the “new result” or something? Climate Science often doesn’t even use professional statisticians, much less reveal their data and methods after publication. [It sounds like Muller is projecting by telling us about the way Climate Science often develops its not so open “preprints”.]
But moving on, why did “open preprint peer review” cease to exist in Climate Science? Too hard to keep a big scoop like BEST’s from the Press with its ‘misinterpretations’, eh?
So in order to prevent the defects of “open preprint peer review”, Muller decides to replicate them again, by doing exactly what the ipcc does in publishing its pre-AR Press Releases with all of their “smoking guns”, prior to releasing the AR’s, then not delivering? Which has always instead been a smoking gun actually pointing back at them, insofar as not following the practices of real science where the conclusions of a study are almost never published before the science behind the conclusions are published.
So Muller’s “narrative” stinks and even worse than usual, as Anthony and Dr. Curry, and others, have shown.
But on the bright side, if “open preprint peer review” was allegedly a big part of the past standard for practicing real science, why doesn’t Climate Science resume “post-publication peer review” involving anyone who wants the data and methods, just like the good old days of real science since that’s just about what Muller is claiming used to happen in the good old days of “open preprint peer review”.

October 30, 2011 6:22 pm

Good Stuff Anthony!!!!! Muller V Curry. This will be interesting.

Leon Brozyna
October 30, 2011 6:24 pm

The BEST spin is burning out my gyros.
If they wanted to go the pre-print route and send the papers to interested scientists for comment – fine. If they wanted to put the papers and all supporting data up on the website – also, fine. They should also have placed a caveat on those papers that they were very rough drafts subject to major revision. They should have just left it at that and said nothing to the media. Only if members of the media start showing up at your doorstep should you then respond by cautioning them that the work is very raw and could yet see major changes. Going to the media in advance of having a fully peer-reviewed paper is an invitation to disaster, as Dr. Muller is now finding out.
Now let’s see how his meeting with Dr. Curry goes.

October 30, 2011 6:40 pm

“How’s the weather in Chile?”
Interesting question. Why do you ask?
REPLY: If you have to ask, well then you don’t get it. No comment then on the duplicity from BEST, blaming the media for their own PR disaster? Instead just blame me for being “vituperative” because you are incapable of assimilating the DK moment?
– Anthony

October 30, 2011 6:41 pm

I agree with JPeden, I worked as a researcher in one of the UKs leading research Universities for 8 years and we never had open preprint Peer review. To be sure we discussed the results with others in the field to make sure they were “comfortable” that the results could be explained, but our expectation was that the Peer Review Journal system would identify any whoppers in our results. As for conferences, we generally considered them to be a second level means of review.

October 30, 2011 6:42 pm

Gee, physicists with the CERN neutrino experiment get a result that was unexpected so they ask the community to help them figure out what they may have missed. Climate science blast their results all over the place and don’t even inform the other authors (Curry for example). You would at least think their would be an internal review before they started blabbing all over the place. Whether their results are accurate or not, their professionalism stinks.

October 30, 2011 6:45 pm

In the hip new academic world we have this:
Post-peer review papers posted for online discussion. After this cycle we have such papers as this:
just sayin.

October 30, 2011 6:46 pm

it was all preplanned. if they were really concerned about Journalists writing things up out of context – a ‘conditions of usage or reprint’ could be plastered across the top of the preprints putting conditions on publication that would require explicit notification in print of the preliminary and therefore unverified nature of the research.
But of course if you do that – such publication would have no media value what so ever,,,
“An unverified, none peer reviewed and preliminary preprint discussion paper by the BEST team says global warming is continuing…”
Sort of ranks in significance with ‘dog bites man’ in news value…

October 30, 2011 6:51 pm

stevo says:
October 30, 2011 at 5:49 pm
Your vituperative backlash continues. A far cry from “I’ll accept whatever result they produce”.
You mean the result which shows no land warming over the past 10 years? And, stevo, do you accept that result? Which Dr. Curry has dubbed another “hide the decline”?

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
October 30, 2011 7:00 pm

stevo said on October 30, 2011 at 5:49 pm:

Your vituperative backlash continues. A far cry from “I’ll accept whatever result they produce”.

I’m glad you’re enjoying your new career threadbombing, using any post on this site mentioning BEST in any way whatsoever, or even just mentioning any old temperature record, as an opportunity to throw Anthony Watts’ naive initial statement back at his face. It must be very rewarding to you, and quite demanding with the many hours you devote to constantly searching this site every day. Hopefully the pay is commensurate with the dedication required and the effort exerted. You deserve to to receive the rewards you have rightfully earned in this endeavor.
Best of luck, glad to see you here.

Tom in Florida
October 30, 2011 7:00 pm

Let’s not forget that the State of California Air Resources Board was scheduled, that’s right scheduled, to announce their “vote” on the cap and trade law on Oct 20.
See WUWT report here:
How convenient that the Best media blitz was scheduled for the same day. Could if be a feeble attempt to help justify the Air Resources Board decision?

Crispin in Waterloo
October 30, 2011 7:11 pm

You are fooling no one, big boy. “Vituperative”??? You are sounding desperate in your lame attempts to divert attention from the weaselly Muller to Anthony. It is amazing to see the academic squirming about pre-print and media and all that jazz, really epic stuff, and you are still trying to blame the victims (don’t forget to blame Dr Curry too – she is not a warmist either). With talent like that you should consider running for public office.

October 30, 2011 7:22 pm

Tom in Florida says:
October 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm
No, we, apparently in California, took the AB-32 exit 5 years ago…….

Mike Bromley the Kurd
October 30, 2011 7:26 pm

When did “preprint libraries” become “popular”??? That sounds like science by Penthouse Magazine (the former Omni). Peer review was ALWAYS “submitting a paper to a journal and waiting for the anonymous [sic] comments of referees” where I came from…where you sweated bullets until the review comments came back, then you addressed them, resubmitted, and sweated bullets again. Having a klatsch of merry commentors lining up at the check-out desk sounds, well, like members of an “Occupy” protest reading the Village Voice over Starbuck’s latte. Whopper indeed.

October 30, 2011 7:35 pm

Bill Hutto says:
October 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm
I think it was a brilliant sting to expose the gullible media!
or maybe Dr. Muller is an incompetent boob.

OK, still laughing over that :). As long as the last sentence was delivered in the voice of Hedley Lamarr…

October 30, 2011 7:58 pm

maybe polygraph tests of the whole CAGW team, incuding their MSM ennablers, are in order:
28 Oct: UK Independent: Michael McCarthy: Climate change scientist faces lie detector test
This week Mr Gleason was interviewed intensively by investigators and asked if he would take a polygraph (lie detector) test; he responded that he would only take such a test if the agent interviewing him took one as well.
“There appears to be kind of a desperate, almost fierce nature to pursue this until they find something,” said Mr Gleason’s lawyer, Jeff Ruch, of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Mr Ruch accuses the investigators of taking issues raised during the normal scientific peer-review process and acting as though they constitute evidence of wrongdoing…

Theo Goodwin
October 30, 2011 8:01 pm

Wonderful article, Anthony. You nailed them totally.
A “preprint” is not something that one would submit to a journal and, conversely, something that one submits to a journal is never offered as a preprint.
Peer review exists to serve journal editors and for no other reason. Peer reviewers are volunteers who give freely of their time and genius to support a journal and an editor. Just think what such a volunteer would think if he were sent a “preprint” to review? He would ask the journal editor why the editor wants him/her to do a careful analysis of a paper that has been talked to death for weeks. The very idea is preposterous.

Tom Harley
October 30, 2011 8:11 pm

Stevo doesn’t get it…
Try Chilly in Chile

October 30, 2011 8:18 pm

stevo says:
October 30, 2011 at 6:40 pm
“How’s the weather in Chile?”
Interesting question. Why do you ask?

Obviously because he’ll accept any answer you produce? Stay on message, stevo, repeat, repeat, repeat!

October 30, 2011 8:35 pm

These peers who review AGW papers are peers in the formal sense of the word. Something of equal quality. They all believe in the same thing. Usually the politics of having too many people consuming too many goods that the peers reckon is a bit too presumptuous.
There are too many peasants in the world for their taste.

October 30, 2011 9:14 pm

The weather at Chile is quite cold. Based on my records it had been the coldest year in the past 10 years. The La Niña effect will be quite interesting to watch. If the forecast are correct we are going to face a very dry summer.
The central part of the country is already facing a 50% precipitation deficit, and from now on the southern part will start to feel the effect of the current La Niña.

Timo Kuusela
October 30, 2011 9:18 pm

I just can not help thinking that the whole thing is intentional; first one author gets media attention by giving pro-warmist opinions, then the co-author gives an opposite opinion of the results.
Media attention is guaranteed, and ,if everything goes as planned, the final result is pro-sceptical.
Brilliant, if that is(was) the original idea.Media was just too eager, now we will see if they can (dare)publish the correction.At least The Mail did.

October 30, 2011 9:31 pm

Noting the email from Nature,

Hello Mr. Watts, I’m preparing a story about the formal release of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature analysis on Thursday, and I was hoping to get your thoughts. Their embargoed release says..”

What does ’embargoed’ mean in this context?
Trying to imagine this without personalities being involved…
BEST is going to release pre-reviewed work to the public, on the premise of transparency, and also to garner comments and criticisms that might help alter/improve their final submission (who knows, they may include the 30-year analysis that has been called for in line with data). This is completely in line with Muller’s stated preference for how work progresses, and is not far off how I imagine skeptics would like things to be, not completely trusting peer-review. (Let’s see what you came up with before anonymous pinheads decide to give their imprimatur, demand alterations, or reject it. The logical conclusion of this position is that all peer-review should no longer be anonymous, to remove the taint of potential ‘pal-review’. We have seen this scenario clearly stated by skeptics in very recent history.)
So BEST will release their papers prior to peer-review. nothing wrong with that per se, but what about the news media? If BEST do nothing, the news media will report the results however they want. And the news media are not known for reporting the science accurately, which anyone who knows anything about the subject can attest. Everyone complains about media distortion of the science. So BEST decide they will try to ensure accurate media reports by sending embargoed pre-release copies of the papers and having a conversation. They don’t want the work going online and being misrepresented by the media eager for an angle to make a juicy scoop. So they have to walk a journo or two through the science.
This all seems like a reasonable sequence of events to me. Where did BEST go wrong?
REPLY:What a humorous rationalization. I love the “anonymous pinheads” description, which coming from you, one who demands anonymity so you can diss from the shadows, while at the same time ignoring the simple fact that Dr. Muller lied to me in saying “I sent it to one media outlet”, is quite telling about you. FAIL – Anthony

Dave in Canmore
October 30, 2011 9:38 pm

step 1 make press releases with misleading conclusions
step 2 complain the media reports what you’ve told them
step 3 earn every bit of humilation you’ve sown

October 30, 2011 10:30 pm

The puppeteer in this crazy play seems to be Liz Muller. Her manipulations have created a circle of discontent across the climate scam community, sucking in all sides from Anthony, Judith, and the Boyz from GISS, to the blogosphere regulars, all now finger pointing in time to Team Berkeley’s fiddlers. Liz seems to be the real brains in Berkeley’s BEST where no publicity is bad publicity. I have no doubt the IPCC is watching and rolling their eyes. Who will be first to issue a primal scream heard ’round the cooling troposphere?

October 30, 2011 10:31 pm

delingpole on BEST and Curry:
30 Oct: UK Telegraph: James Delingpole: Lying, cheating climate scientists caught lying, cheating again

October 30, 2011 10:50 pm

Yea, I’m sorry… It’s all my fault.

October 30, 2011 10:51 pm

For record keeping, here’s a wayback machine copy of that same faq in July
The paragraph in question does not yet exist.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
October 30, 2011 11:13 pm

Remember those days when peer review was so important to global warming believers? It was such along time ago. Why, it was in those long ago days that ended when this BEST paper was plastered all over the media.

October 31, 2011 12:54 am

barry says:
October 30, 2011 at 9:31 pm
This is completely in line with Muller’s stated preference for how work progresses, and is not far off how I imagine skeptics would like things to be, not completely trusting peer-review.
barry, your “imagination” has betrayed you yet again – see your net glacier retreat confabulations where you totally missed the problems with your assertions. Once again, because:
1] In the practice of post-Enlightenment science, Peer review was never warranted to ensure that the publication of a “peer reviewed” study thereby made the study’s conclusions the “given truth”; that is, until the advent of the obviously regressive and indeed “throw-back” nature of the Climate Science “method”. As proven again by the “method” used by Climate Science, in the practice of real science the real Peer Review starts after a paper’s publication, or at least is never completed without that opportunity.
And, 2] the big problem with Climate Science’s peer review is that the author “Scientists” and the Publications did not heel to the practices of real science – and to the very rules the Publications have stated as conditions for publication in/by their own Journals and Assessment Reports – by not releasing the “materials and methods”, which are the “science” of the studies, so that real peer review of the studies simply didn’t occur in those cases for some time.
In some celebrated instances, it also appears fairly certain that the Peer Reviewers did not even look at the materials and methods involved in the studies they were reviewing – for instance, concerning Mann’s Hockey Stick paper as included in the TAR and published in Nature [MBH98] and GRL [MBH99], Steig’s Antarctic Warming paper published in Nature, and Briffa’s Yamal paper published in Science, or else they didn’t understand at all what they were looking at. They didn’t understand “the science”.
But, therefore, no one else outside of the self-annointed Climate Science Community could get the “materials and methods” without being either very persistent or lucky while also being demonized simply for being sceptical, which led to the FOIA dust up and to Climategate!
Attn., barry, such scepticism is at the very heart of the practice of real scientific method and principle science. On the other hand, you trust your own imagination at your peril, but it shouldn’t seek to involve the rest of the world in its ultimate personal disaster.
You have a choice, barry.

October 31, 2011 1:03 am

I just feel sorry for Dr Curry she really did believe there was a middle ground.
I’m sorry Dr Curry but the corruption of science happened years ago in the climate science world when the first hockey stick was produced and not one climate scientist stood up and questioned it.

Cecil Coupe
October 31, 2011 1:19 am

I’m guessing BEST followed the path of countless failed startups:
1. Administrator/Scientist Identifies opportunity (new per reviewed temperature record in time for AR5 inclusion)
2. Secure funding
3. Assemble team. Appoint family member to important role
4. Buy new computers, office furniture, lease vehicles and attend conferences in pleasant places (aka team building)
5. Do some work.
6. Realize time is running out, the money is gone and the product is incomplete. Need more money and time.
7. Administrator/Scientist decides to make the best of his/her FAIL by tossing a Hail Mary pass down field without peer review blockers. Why bother telling the front line what the last play is?
9. Profit!!

October 31, 2011 1:24 am

JC has a new post up in which she explains she has spoken to muller and basically agrees with him on everything.
JC is not the new messiah, she is what could be termed a loose cannon imho.

Stephen Richards
October 31, 2011 1:24 am

barry says:
October 30, 2011 at 9:31 pm
Noting the email from Nature
I was going to pile on, Anthony, but your reply says it all. Idiot. This from a pinhead with 2 physics degrees.

Roger Knights
October 31, 2011 1:43 am

barry says:
They don’t want the work going online and being misrepresented by the media eager for an angle to make a juicy scoop. So they have to walk a journo or two through the science.
This all seems like a reasonable sequence of events to me. Where did BEST go wrong?

1. This isn’t how they represented things would be done to Anthony.
2. They didn’t incorporate Anthony’s typo-fixes into the documents they released, indicating a propagandistic desire to hit a certain date for a coordinated media-impact.
3. They didn’t inform co-author Curry. (They must have realized she’d object.)
4. Muller published an op-ed in the WSJ and an interview with the BBC. This goes beyond pre-emptive cautioning. It amounts to a pre-emptive spin, or “talking his book.” This cast the conclusions in concrete and conflicts with the purpose of circulating a draft preprint for comment. If Muller wanted to caution the press against jumping to a hasty and/or extreme conclusion, he should have included such cautions, with specifics, as introductory sections in his drafts.
5. His spin is unjustified in certain respects by his findings, or by other considerations, as posters here have pointed out.

Peter Plail
October 31, 2011 2:18 am

Should we now anticipate a redefinition of peer review by the IPCC as well to support their use of less than rigorous sources of “proof”?
So much for gold standards!

October 31, 2011 2:55 am

>>Cecil Coupe says: October 31, 2011 at 1:19 am
Thanks, Cecil – I think you have the whole scam in a nutshell there….
Thanks. 😉

October 31, 2011 2:58 am

I have not followed this closely. But I suspect that the FAQ is part of the post-crisis cover-up. It suits Muller if this all looks like a normal academic brawl. But it looks more like a conspiracy. Muller looks like the front for conspirators wanting to mislead public opinion before a critical international conference. Who organised the money? Who planned the media blitz (Muller & Company mis-managed the media blitz; but who planned it?) Who commissioned Muller? The conspirators’ mistake was to expect Dr Curry (the only climatologist on the author list, apparently) to go quietly.
This does not look to me like something most IPCC scientists could have arranged. It needs to be someone with a critical interest in maintaining public belief in a warming temperature data series for, without that, the game and careers are over. And it must be someone who can quietly influence public funding. Someone at the heart of the AGW movement. Given that the offence was committed in the US with public money this may be criminal rather than just professional misconduct. There are few protagonists with audacious form in this field. They are easy to guess although probably hard to prove — unless they are “grassed up”.
With enough pressure (including calls for an FBI or IG investigation), I doubt that Muller and colleagues will “carry the can”. Can the climate blogs expose the conspirators? That’s what needs to happen now!

P. Solar
October 31, 2011 2:58 am

From the same FAQ
Has Global Warming Stopped?
…Some people draw a line segment covering the period 1998 to 2010 and argue that we confirm no temperature change in that period.
Yet the accompanying graph which selects to show 1950-2009 does not show that at all . It shows continual rise behind the ENSO or whatever cyclic behaviour. So the graph plainly contradicts what they are saying. No one could argue there was no rise if that is what their data showed.
So what are they plotting here. More shenanigans.

Paul Coppin
October 31, 2011 3:34 am

A preprint is not a press release. A preprint is a copy of a satisfactorily reviewed paper in the process of publication, after which it becomes an offprint. Muller et al submitted an unqualified technical “press release” to the media, nothing more, nothing less. Prostituting the science, as it were. Stems from a psychological disorder in which scientists believes their opinions are more important than their findings.

October 31, 2011 3:35 am

After having whitnessed the massive hiding of data and adjustments from GISS, Hadcrut etc. then the only thing that would make me trust any new source of temperature data is, total openness with respect to temperatures stations, their adjustments and arguments for specific adjustments done.
If such data is available AND arguments + procedures appears sound, then i would trust the results. BEST is FAR from this kind of openness.
All the issues with GISS/Hadcrut makes demands high for openness to any one producing temperature data in the future.
K.R. Frank

October 31, 2011 3:37 am

It always seems to me that there is eventually a point where the scales fall from ones eyes and suddenly everything you knew and trusted is then seen in a different light. Suddenly someone gets it and the world seems a different place. Maybe Judith Curry is going through this at the moment. Let’s face it she’s been a big gun luke warm sceptic for sometime but recent shenanigans must make her increasingly sensitive to motives and an eagerness to push an agenda. But what do I know. Seriously though this whole debate has been obscured by the massive ideological battle ground between it would seem left and right. Yes I know it should be about the science and Judith is obviously a very prestigious scientist who seems now to be thinking WTF is going on here.

wayne Job
October 31, 2011 3:53 am

Odd is it not that in Australia the slang for filthy lucre is mullah pronounced the same as this mans name. The total disregard of real principles in both the treatment of Anthony and Dr Curry from this mob at B.E.S.T. is reprehensible.
The attempt at hiding the decline for fame or monetary gain is disgraceful, this I would imagine is the last hurrah for the catastrophic warmists. The stench from this will slowly stem the life blood [ public money] as people and politicians slowly awaken.

October 31, 2011 4:01 am

Oh go on. Their confirmation of the validity of the major terrestrial temperature records is a great story. It answers “skeptical” questions very nicely. There is no way they should have waited until it was peer reviewed.
You are just making a fuss because their results didn’t come out ho you wanted them.

a jones
October 31, 2011 4:54 am

judith Curry has a post up about this here:
It explains quite a lot about these shenanigans.
Once again it also shows climate science in bad light.
Kindest Regards.

Al Gormless
October 31, 2011 5:55 am

The warmists lost all strands of credibility years ago. Now in their efforts to rebuild this charade in the face of people simply no longer accepting their twisted claims at face value, they are exposing themselves instead as liars.
In any case, they are simply Mullered!

Gail Combs
October 31, 2011 5:56 am

SuspiciousOz says:
October 31, 2011 at 2:58 am
I have not followed this closely. But I suspect that the FAQ is part of the post-crisis cover-up. It suits Muller if this all looks like a normal academic brawl. But it looks more like a conspiracy. Muller looks like the front for conspirators wanting to mislead public opinion before a critical international conference. Who organised the money? Who planned the media blitz (Muller & Company mis-managed the media blitz; but who planned it?) Who commissioned Muller? …..
“Who organized the money?” It is not a small time group.
From Muller & Assoc.:
“…Muller & Associates provides expertise for energy challenges that deserve the best minds in the world. Our senior-level team includes Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Geniuses, and recognized global leaders with experience in over 30 countries. We integrate science with business acumen, economics, and long-term trends to ensure that our clients are making the right investments for their organization.
We know that in order to be effective, solutions must be sustainable…
and we know that for businesses, sustainable solutions must be profitable as well.

GreenGov™ is a service offered by Muller & Associates for Governments, International Organizations, non profits, and other organizations that work with Government. The aim is to provide politically-neutral counsel that is broad in scope while rooted in the hard facts of state-of-the-art science and engineering. The key is to make the right patch between the best technologies and the strengths of the government. We know that to be effective the political dimension must be integrated into the technical plan from the start. “

A key word is SUSTAINABLE This ties to the UN Agenda 21, Ged Davis, Shell Oil and the IPCC.
Climategate e-mail on Sustainable Development (B1) Ged Davis wrote Sustainable Development (B1) scenario is mentioned.
Here is more on the (B1) scenario IPCC Emissions Scenarios
Here is who Ged Davis is (Shell Oil executive with IPCC connection)
If you then go to the listing of the TEAM at Muller Assoc. you find. Arthur Rosenfeld, Former California Energy Commissioner among others.
Further down you find Marlan Downey
Click on Marlan Downey, Oil and Gas Executive
And guess what ? We are BACK TO SHELL OIL!
“Marlan Downey, Oil and Gas Executive
….. Former President of the international subsidiary of Shell Oil…..”

If we follow the Shell Oil connection, we find Queen Beatrix of the Dutch House of Orange and Lord Victor Rothschild are the two largest shareholders of RD/Shell. (I read some where the Dutch Royal family owns about 25%)
Prince Bernhard of the Dutch Royal Family is heavily tied to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Gets positively incestuous doesn’t it?
What many are missing is a privately held company is an excellent way to hide BRIBES AS CONSULTING FEES!
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro allegedly went from poor as a church mouse to #48 on the Richest lCongressman list–getting her wealth from her husband– (campaign strategist Stan Greenberg for global warming, globalisation…). According to Roll Call, DeLauro’s primary asset is a 67-percent stake in Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Inc
DeLauro has push for years to get a new Food “Safety” bill passed that turns control of the US food supply over to the World Trade Organization where Monsanto has a major presence.
Greenpeace found the Greenburg Monsanto connection Monsanto passed it off as being “Ten Years ago” of course that is about when DeLauro started her never ending stream of Food “Safety” bills….
DeLauro started out poor from “To Rich to be Republican” comment # 325 by exnfl20
And then of course there is Patchy and his romance novel….

October 31, 2011 6:13 am

John Brookes says:
October 31, 2011 at 4:01 am
Gee John, do you think that “results” in the BEST papers are quality results? Why is the period 60 years, rather than 30 for which there is accurate data? If 60 is good, why not 100, or 150, or 200 years? Mostly, the answer is that within extended data, there is that inconvenient truth. We aren’t seeing runaway warming, we’re seeing recovery from cold, at least until the Sun got quiet.
Now, you should hope the warming doesn’t stop. Many more people will die as a result of the cold, than would ever die due to a 3 deg C warming. The problem with real scientists is that they try to discuss their findings with other scientists, amateur or not. People who dodge scientific give and take, are not scientists, they are poseurs.

October 31, 2011 6:18 am

Several decades ago at the end of his career, legendary film director Orson Wells shilled for Paul Masson wine makers with the tag line, “We sell no wine before its time.”
BEST would have been smart to take this simple advice.

D. King
October 31, 2011 6:41 am

Gail Combs says:
October 31, 2011 at 5:56 am
…and the Koch brothers, don’t forget the Koch brothers.
What a fricking mess, LOL!

George Daddis
October 31, 2011 6:58 am

The real problem is that the only ones aware of the Muller’s “blunder” are those thoughtful people who already fall into the category of skeptics or to use Muller’s phrase “doubters”.
I opened my newspaper today and an AP story next to the OpEd section was headlined “Skeptic now agrees global Warming is real” touting his skeptic credentials and the fact that he proved “temperatures are rising rapidly” and that they carefully examined the contention that “weather stations are unreliable”. The story includes a long paragraph documenting the role of the evil Koch brothers whose companies “produce sizable greenhouse gas emissions”. Lo and behold, the exact same story is the lead in the home page of AOL (Huffington Post).
Unless there is a credible platform to broadcast the other side of the story, I’m afraid the Muller charlatans will have gotten away with their brazen plan.

corporate message
October 31, 2011 7:44 am

“Acceptable disingenuousness ends where implausible deniability begins” ?

corporate message
October 31, 2011 7:46 am

“…where implausible deniability begins”
The above is just a “rule of thumb”, for the BEST team – in future

October 31, 2011 7:56 am

So no one else thought it was hysterical that a bunch of glorified weather men compared themselves to String Theory?

John Blake
October 31, 2011 8:36 am

Contrary to preconceptions, “peer review” is not meant to address whether a given hypothesis is true or false, but to ensure that data as submitted enable replication of the original experiment; alternatively, the reconstruction of a submission’s consistent, viable, math/statistical analytical approach amenable to falsification.
To say that “peer review” establishes the validity of a hypothesis is prima facie erroneous: Only scientific evidence in form of careful measurement ever can do that, subject to all manner of precautionary caveats. If an experiment cannot be replicated, or observations verified by independent third-party experts in a field, you’re left with Rene Blondlot, J.B. Rhine, Trofim Lysenko, Immanuel Velikovsky and so on, and on.
From c. 1988 if not before, AGW’s Green Gang of Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann. Trenberth et al. –now welcoming BEST’s Muller to their company– is as far-removed from rational scientific discourse via Peer Review as it is possible to get.

October 31, 2011 8:43 am

John Brookes says:
October 31, 2011 at 4:01 am
You are just making a fuss because their results didn’t come out ho you wanted them.
Naaa naa naa naa naaa, “I know you are but what am I?” In other words, Brookes, as usual, in the face of objective reality all you are doing is repeating infantile groupthink memes, also a rather pathetic form of “bullying”. So go look in the mirror, John. Are you wearing diapers?
If not, you might soon be…that is, if you insist on remaining a simple tool for the current crop of Totalitarian “redistributionist” dead-enders, whose experimental results include the conditions displayed by North Korea vs South Korea – and, btw, whose Alinskyite “rules” seem to fit your mentality like a key to Pandora’s box – and their similarly parasitic looting cronies. Or are you one of them or think you will be? “All hail Kim Jong Brookes”?
Of course it’s beginning to look like you, John, having already experienced many teachable moments here at WUWT and elsewhere, are simply incapable of doing anything else and will therefore fall prey to your own Totalitarian Cult’s Malthusian worry…one way or another! No one ever said that a progressing Evolution would produce instantaneous “change” within the whole human species itself – see pre-Postmodern Anthropology, that is, after you finally master the basics of “The Three Little Pigs” and “The Emperor With No Clothes”.
Naaa naa naa naa naaa!

October 31, 2011 9:49 am

The normal peer review DOES NOT involve sending out preprints. Normally there are 2 or 3 anonymous reviewers who comment and may even recommend to publish or not to the journal. Preprints are not required at all. It would be untenable from an author’s point of view for all of one’s colleagues to be having input while also handling the anonymous input.
Having a few close colleagues comment is more inhouse than anything else, but it is not the norm and, for that matter, such consultation might warrant pitting them on a co-authors. I disagree that scientists go around the country lecturing on unpublished, unvetted results and conclusions. I have never seen that except at inhouse department seminars.
I edit science research papers professionally and only deal with reviewers comment, not those from preprint input.
In the real world, if I find a paper with a problem in a journal, write a rebuttal or a letter to the editor, pointing out the problem. If I have the time, I might even write a whole paper countering or correcting the error through my own work.

Fred from Canuckistan
October 31, 2011 10:03 am

BEST is writing a chapter or two for Donna Laframboise’s next book.

October 31, 2011 10:33 am

I do not see any issue with the BEST Project posting preliminary results or draft pre-review papers or data online on their website. Nor if they did that, would I find any issues if they notified everyone (including MSM) to look at their websites. Nor with Q&A at their website. Openness and transparency would be served.
If doing the above violates an agreement they had/have with a scientific journal which is in process of BEST paper review then I see that as only a problem between BEST and the journal. I do not see that as a scientific process violation issue per se.
But, the issues I see is the apparent fumbling by BEST of a self-advocating PR campaign with glaring inconsistencies does cause some valid concerns over the credibility/integrity of the BEST Project’s management process itself.
BEST should, in my view, stop looking like amateurs and get some rational resources involved in its general management.
Adice toward BEST => JC could lend a guiding hand to get BEST focused on better project management resources.
NOTE #1 – above also posted on BH
NOTE #2 – Also, in addition, maybe Moshpit could give BEST some management consultancy from the overall climate project management perspective. I trust Moshpit not to let his ‘lukewarmism’ bias his managment. : )

corporate message
October 31, 2011 11:12 am

“JC has a new post up in which she explains she has spoken to muller and basically agrees with him on everything.
JC is not the new messiah, she is what could be termed a loose cannon imho.”
Now she will have an extremely difficult time to go back to criticizing Mullins, no matter if what he tells/told her, is false.

corporate message
October 31, 2011 11:22 am

Make that “Muggins”. err..”Muller”.

October 31, 2011 1:20 pm

My simple solution:
Ask the media person if they can send you an ‘open’ copy of the paper. One free of confidentiality requirements. IFF they can, you have a ‘non-confidential source’ on which you can comment. IFF they can not, you (and they) are still bound to confidence. Just be sure to cite the ‘open source’ version in any comments. Oh, and watch out for entrapment attempts. Someone SAYING they have an unencumbered copy as a phish… Get them to send the copy with a statement that it is not confidential, then you can comment on THEIR sourced paper…
Otherwise, a secret is a secret…

October 31, 2011 4:35 pm

The FAQ entry about preprints is a lie. In the late 1990s, just as the WWW started to become populated – and before any media presence, I was in graduate school. My department had a library, but it contained no preprints. There was no such thing as a preprint room. Preprints no doubt were circulated among faculty and their friends at other institutions, but only as a courtesy among friends. The internet did not change anything. That was in a Genetics department, and last time I checked, genetics was still science.

November 1, 2011 1:33 am

Some people think that peer review consists of submitting a paper to a journal and waiting for the anonymous comments of referees. Traditional peer review is much broader than that and much more open. In science, when you have a new result, your first step is to present it to your colleagues by giving presentations, talks at local and international conferences, colloquia, and by sending out “preprints.”
Golly! By that standard, all of the publications of the Flat Earth Society have been cleared through “traditional peer review” …

Al Gormless
November 1, 2011 5:37 am

Here’s my theory on the charade of climate ‘science’, which for me is the only remaining logical option:
This whole bunch of research isn’t actually about monitoring the boring old climate & weather (only the british are interested in that); it is acttually a big experiment on the wider public as a longitudinal study of gullability.
Its’ objectives are to see how far it can stretch logic and reason to encourage people to part with their cash, and what the tipping point is for public trust in pseudo-science and being told ‘facts’ secondhand without bothering to spend 10 mins looking for themselves.
Derren Brown showed this with his recent episode of ‘The Experiments’, where we are the duped audience and the climate is the story which we are made to believe we control.

November 1, 2011 8:03 am

There is one problem with BEST, it has the name Bezerkly in it. The only good thing come out of that campus in recent years is Aaron Rogers, and I say that with some trepedation as a fan of the 49ers.

November 1, 2011 8:42 am

Earth temperature went up consistently all along the period? Fluctuations (rises, falls and flats) occurring during that positive slope have no meaning at all? How about the rise until the forties (after the end of little ice age, no antropogenic CO2), the fall until the seventies (in spite of antropogenic CO2 rise), the rise until late nineties (why? CO2 reborn?) and the flattning during the last decade (in spite of antropogenic CO2 rising)? No meaning at all?
Besides a failed atempt to suppress the flattning over the last decade, the released information brought a hand full of nothing to the debate.
Natural climate variation continues to be the BEST answer we have.

November 1, 2011 9:39 am

Skeptics generally maintain that global warming in the past decade has been scant. BEST’s contention is that warming has not stopped, producing a graph up through 2006 in which it continues to rise. However, what rises is not global temperature itself but the 10-year running average.
Many learned but long-winded arguments have been produced against using smoothed graphs, but here’s one specifically tuned to the decadal question. Anyone with a PC with spreadsheet software can reproduce it. Start a column with the years 1990 through 2010. In the next column, start at zero and add two until you reach 2000, then hold at 20 through 2010.
In the third column, compute the running average of the closest eleven numbers to the left, going back five years and ahead five years. I’m using an 11-year average to simplify the central point. You can only do this from 1995 through 2005, but note what happens. The data rises through 2000 and then stalls. The average, however, continues to climb for as long as it can be calculated.
Responsible skeptics do not deny that warming has occurred since 1975, but note that the data shows a difficult-to-explain decade-long pause. It is not a rebuttal to show that a ten-year smoothing fails to reproduce a ten-year phenomenon. Fairly steady temperatures have coincided with steadily rising CO2. Until that is adequately explained, the science is not settled.

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