The Guardian's 'ursus bogus' moment

Dr. Susan Crockford writes:

Regarding: Science self-corrects: bogus study claiming Roundup tolerant GMO corn causes cancer to be retracted

This ratty story reminds me of the polar bear incident I just posted about

this morning at PolarBearScience.

Canadian polar bear researchers Ian Stirling and Nick Lunn gave Suzanne

Goldenberg at The Guardian the results of their new Western Hudson Bay

population estimate, from a study that has not been published anywhere.

There is not even a government report available! This is the first mention

of this new estimate, anywhere, and it’s in The Guardian. Folks have been

waiting for it for years, and it’s reported in The Guardian.

Forget no raw data available – in this case there is no data available

period. How can science self-correct behaviour like this?

Goldenberg’s headline (from Nov. 27): “Polar bear numbers in Hudson Bay of

Canada on verge of collapse.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/27/polar-bears-climate-change-canada-hudson-bay

See the post here:

http://polarbearscience.com/2013/11/28/polar-bear-researchers-still-withholding-hudson-bay-data/

All the best,

Susan

Susan J. Crockford, Ph.D. (Zoology/Evolutionary Biology/Archaeozoology)

Adjunct Professor (Anthropology/Graduate Studies)

University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

AND Pacific Identifications Inc. (www.pacificid.com)

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Mike Bromley the Kurd

[cough]……

David L. Hagen

I recommend submitting this to be reproduced in the Journal of Irreproducible Results and for a potential Ignoble Award.

It is worse than we thought.

David L. Hagen

This study competes for those irreproducibility awards with Steven McIntyre’s observations on The Zen of Population (N=0) where:

Mann rose to prominence by supposedly being able to detect “faint” signals using “advanced” statistical methods. Lewandowsky has taken this to a new level: using lew-statistics, lew-scientists can deduce properties of population with no members.

The study appears to be in need of Raising the bar on statistical significance
h/t WUWT

Bruce Cobb

They really are desperate to make polar bears a symbol for the climatist cause.

The alarmists are getting very sloppy in their desperation – and more visible in their motives.

TRM

From 5,000 in the late 60s to 25,000 now and the difference was what again? Oh yea we stopped shooting so many. Restrictions on killing the critters worked like a charm.
Climate doesn’t kill polar bears, guns’n’ammo do!! – NRA (National Realists Association)
🙂

Luke Warmist

Data? We don’t need no stinking data…
/dripping with sarc

davidmhoffer

In 1987, when the first reliable estimates of polar bear population were made, using a technique known as mark and recapture, there were about 1,200 bears in the western Hudson Bay area; by 2004, the figure had dropped to 935.
Nothing like cherry picking your end date. Let’s just ignore the “pause” in polar bear decline after 2004. The 2012 estimate for the same area was 1,013. Hmmm…almost 10% increase in less than a decade. We should be able to extrapolate from there and figure out in what year the polar bear population will exceed the human population world wide.
Davis Straight in the 1970’s had less than a thousand bears, now the estimate is more than double that. I recollect that Foxe Basin has also grown about 10% in the last few years.

DirkH

“”There is no way a population can remain stable, if the young aren’t surviving,” said Stirling. “If the climate continues to warm, slowly and steadily, they are on the way out.””
As it hasn’t warmed for 17 years, what is that person talking about? Does he know how to compute a correlation? Does he know that a causation is rather unlikely if there is not even a correlation?

davidmhoffer

As it hasn’t warmed for 17 years, what is that person talking about?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Dirk, Dirk, Dirk. Haven’t you been paying attention? The heat is hiding in the places where we can’t measure it, right along with the polar bears we can’t count.

RoyFOMR

The UK Guardian invests the same level of scientific objectivity into its articles as it displays fairness in its moderation of public comment within the Comment Is Free sections.
For those fortunate enough to be unaware of the reality of how a once respected newspaper treats those who display dissension, however respectfully, to that of warmistadorial and accreditated travellers can be neatly summed up by the phrase – deleted ‘cos it broke our rules and it was horrible ‘cos it made me want to scream and scream until I was sick (I may be less than word for word here but won’t give an inch about the spirit)
The UK Guardian has transformed itself in less than a decade from a high point of journalism to a level that, notwithstanding hi-faluting faux-intellectualism, displays the worst of the gutter press it deigns to despise

Bill Illis

It used to be “liar, liar, pants on fire”.
Now it is, “here’s a Phd and a Research Chair”.
I don’t know, short of getting the funding cut-off, what are we to do except keep repeating the same old saying.
Get the funding cut-off by getting the message to the funding decision-makers that incorrect findings are being funded by their decisions.

Sweet Old Bob

Time for a “Golden Toady” award?

While always referring to published results showing western Hudson Bay polar bears were suffering decreasing body condition (BCI) Stirling and Lunn never published their latest dta showing since that time the body condition had been improving.
http://landscapesandcycles.net/image/78275869.jpg
The area which I shaded gray represent data that Stirling has claimed is unreliable and thus are not included in population estimates. If population data from 1980s is included then the population has doubled. There mark and recapture study also contradicts the recent aerial survey and mark and recapture studies are notorious for subjectivity as reported here http://landscapesandcycles.net/how-science-counts-bears.html
Striling also contradicts [his] own published accounts that less ice is beneficial to ringed seals and polar bears as referenced here http://landscapesandcycles.net/less-arctic-ice-can-be-beneficial.html

Here is one example of Stirling’s hypocrisy blaming warming for low bear populations, while in other published reports he reported it was heavy ice that was detrimental. As a co author of “Temporal variations in Hudson Bay ringed seal (Phoca hispida) life-history parameters in relation to environment” he wrote “We propose that the decline of ringed seal reproductive parameters and pup survival in the 1990s could have been triggered by unusually cold winters and heavy ice conditions that prevailed in Hudson Bay in the early 1990s, through nutritional stress and increased predation pressure. The recovery in the 2000s may have been augmented by immigration of pups, juveniles, and young adult ringed seals into the study area.”
Read abstract here http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1644/10-mamm-a-253.1

Mick J

This parting shot from an entry at the Polar Bear Alley blog demonstrates a similar contempt for the claims of some.
“So, as usual, its a complicated reality with polar bears… Either way, we have some glitches and all that but its better to focus on the good news this year: the bears for the most part are out on the ice. For the most part, the bears were in good condition (Manitoba Conservation reported that many of their larger bears were around 150lbs heavier than last year). Of course, others did not fare as well including Dancer and a radio-collared female who was reported to have lost her cub this fall. She was disoriented and wandering down the road, her hormones probably all out of whack. Its tough to see but this is part of nature.
Still, these last two season have really put an exclamation mark on what all of the local polar bear guys believe up here: we have not reached a ‘tipping point’ with Churchill’s polar bears, they are not starving, the numbers are not crashing and it is not necessary to remove them from the wild and place them in captivity. So yeah, if I have an ‘agenda’… well, that’s it.
One more note, its funny that over all these years, I have never come across a study that has shown with statistical significance that freezeup is occurring later and later or with any real trend at all, it must be out there somewhere I suppose – it seems to get quoted a lot.”
http://www.polarbearalley.com/blog/index.php/polar-bear-blog-the-complicated-world-of-freeze-up/

Mungman

Boy, no one mention to them that the Manitoba government took three bears from the Churchill area (from the western HB population) to populate the new zoo exhibit in Winnipeg. There’s four bears now, when the exhibit it full there will be about a dozen bears there.

AnonyMoose

Gee, now they can’t publish in peer-reviewed journals which will require data and stuff, because they’ve published it in The Guardian. How unfortunate that there are all these rules against republication.
(Yes, I know rules differ at various publications…)

nevket240

Another comical wackjob from the Guardians of Marxist Orthodoxy
http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/11/29/science-environment/carbon-mapping-and-why-climate-policy-only-can-stop-bo
With this seasons Ice recovery the bears are back in favour as they cannot use the Ice extent for funding purposes.
If I may draw an analogy.
In Pattaya there are Tshirts proclaiming..No Money, No Honey.
Same with Climate ‘science’ No Honey ie desired proclamations, No Funding.
Easy.
regards

JBJ

davidmhoffer says:
November 28, 2013 at 5:12 pm
As it hasn’t warmed for 17 years, what is that person talking about?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Dirk, Dirk, Dirk. Haven’t you been paying attention? The heat is hiding in the places where we can’t measure it, right along with the polar bears we can’t count.
It has warmed a lot in Eastern Canada over the last 17 years … if you lived here you would know that. Question is … how long will this last … this years ice looks like its forming faster!

Betapug

A strategic move to spike a logical looking export plan for Alberta oil sands product?
Bypass the American blockade with a short 1200Km pipeline to Churchill?
Enquiring minds want to know.
http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/11/27/oil-via-hudson-bay/

artwest

RoyFOMR says:
November 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm
The UK Guardian has transformed itself in less than a decade from a high point of journalism to a level that, notwithstanding hi-faluting faux-intellectualism, displays the worst of the gutter press it deigns to despise
——————————————————————
I feel the same about The Guardian and a couple of other formerly more or less trusted news sources – but then I remember how long I have been seriously viewing a broader range of news sources on the internet. It’s pretty much the same period.
Is it that my original news sources have got worse or is it that I now have regular access to information which shows them up as being often egregiously flawed, trivial and/or biased?
Of course, it is probably a bit of both.

Sounds like a variant of science by press release.

Sales pitch science. Marketed for the masses!

stan stendera

My Grandpappy always said “you believe what newspapers say until they write about something you know about”.

hunter

AGW promotion depends on conclusions based on studies with 0 evidence. It is a clear demonstration of the sublime nature of the AGW true believers.

RoHa

“The heat is hiding in the places where we can’t measure it, right along with the polar bears we can’t count.
It has warmed a lot in Eastern Canada over the last 17 years … if you lived here you would know that. Question is … how long will this last … this years ice looks like its forming faster!”
Now I’m confused. Is the heat hiding in the polar bears or in the ice?

SpeedOfDark

Same page on the guardian website:-
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/27/canada-living-with-polar-bears-climate-change
Seems there are far too many polar bears as well as not enough of them.

John in Oz

Our local paper’s Letter to the Editor this week includes:

“…it is certainly a truth that computer modelling is dependent on whatever data is used which is why the science is peer reviewed so all facts and figures are checked and re-checked before publication.
That way nothing gets in the way of facts but updated facts.

With believers such as this pushing the pro-AGW barrow, ‘scientists’ who allow their data-free comments to be published in the MSM are reinforcing the thoughtless acolytes’ adherence to the climate change meme.

ConTrari

Climate alarmist: “Can’t see any polar bears. They must be extinct.”
(one of those “Famous Last Words”)
Polar Bear: “All humans I encounter tend to die very quickly. Humans must be on the brink of extinction. Hey folks, we must eat less seals to save humanity!”

magicjava

David L. Hagen says:
November 28, 2013 at 4:12 pm
I recommend submitting this to be reproduced in the Journal of Irreproducible Results and for a potential Ignoble Award.
_____________________________
Unfortunately, a majority of modern science could be submitted to that journal.
Back when ClimateGate happened, the defense from the alarmists was to say “this is how science is done.” Sadly, they were right about that.

Txomin

@artwest. Same here. For those of us that take nothing on belief, the internet provides better access to information than anyone could have ever predicted. This hyper-abundance of information is also why those that take everything on belief find the internet is a source of confusion. “Who can you believe?” they keep asking me. N-O O-N-E, people, no one. There is no reason to believe anyone.

Oakwood

As Mark Twain said:
“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

Greg

Goldberg version:
http://polarbearscience.com/2012/09/27/critical-evidence-on-polar-bears-in-w-hudson-bay-is-unpublished/
original version:
http://polarbearscience.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/stirling-and-derocher-2012-fig-5-sm.jpg
Spot the difference? Goldberg takes the care to remove the numbers from the graph. This is what scientists often call a “sociologists graph”.
Without the numbered scale there is a rhetorical suggestion that the bottom is zero. The drop looks far more dramatic like that.
Now this is not unintentional. You don’t prepare a graphic like that , publish it in newspaper and then go “opps! I appear to missed the numbers off”.
No , this is deliberate propaganda and Goldberg is a specialist of misrepresenting science.

Rabe

The heat is hiding in the places where we can’t measure it, right along with the polar bears we can’t count.

They are growing gills, now?

Greg

The other thing to like about these graphs , they are plotting “mean estimated mess of lone (and thus likely) adult female polar bears…”
So they have not weighed them, have not got close enough to tell whether they ARE pregnant, so what is all this based on? Apparently eye-balling them from a safe distance with binoculars and guessing their body weight.
This must be great, end-of-year game in Churchill. GUESS THE POLAR BEAR’S WEIGHT AND WIN A SNOW EQUIPPED S.U.V. !!!
I bet if they sold loto tickets they could raise lots of money to help fight global warming.
(Mind you if I lived in Churchill I may not be too set against the prospect of a bit of warming).
Kudos to Dr Susan Crockford for highlighting yet more bad practice and propaganda.

Greg

The other question this all raises in the total absence of any REAL data, is what are the numbers of sightings used in these estimations?
In view of the last polar bear research fiasco, which apparently was all spun out of the spotting of one dead bear from an aeroplane flight and then spinning it into a projection of arctic wide population decline, we are going to look a bit carefully about any such claims from now on.

Anthony,
Since you mentioned bears, in passing. Did you know that there’s a new subspecies of bear evolving in California, in places like Yosemite and the W shore of Tahoe. It split off from Black Bears, in much the same way that dogs split off from wolves 15k years ago. Both subspecies are better adapted to living near humans than their thoroughly wild parent species. The new bear subspecies is called Ursus Garbagiensus. 🙂

George Lawson

There ought to be a means of prosecuting those who put out or publish press releases containing false information simply to support a personal agenda. We can refute their arguments with true facts as much as we like through these blogs, but in spite of The Guardians lowering standards of journalism, the fact remains that a lot of people still read the paper, and even objective readers will be convinced by the message that the article sends out,no matter how false its contents, and before long we will all be hearing statements from friends and innocent casual observers “but why are the polar bears declining if ther is no global warming” Thus, the false arguments of the AGW nutters are strengthened to the detriment of the well argued sceptic viewpoint.

LamontT

I thought I would look and see how comments where trending on the article and surprise … They don’t have comments turned on for it. Imagine that.

JaceF

Wow, most likely Polar Bear scientists saw a far more serious lack off grant money on the horizon as a far more of a threat to their cushy megastar climate scientist lifestyle. I wonder what’s in that green bubble we will all find out when it bursts.

H.R.

Polar bear populations are easy to determine using this simple formula; count their noses and divide by one. It helps if you put a little dot of fluorescent orange paint on each nose you count to avoid double-counting.
The advantages of this system is that it is very accurate and it requires a large number of polar bear researchers, so there will be plenty of employment opportunities in this field. The only drawback I see is that careers are typically very short.
P.S. If you’re looking for that missing heat, check the polar bears’ pockets. Might as well frisk them for contraband heat as long as you’re painting their nose.

john robertson

The continuation of these activists existence on the public payroll, says nothing good about our policy makers.
Kleptocracy comes to mind, not sober assessment of the facts and public interest.
CAGW is a creation of bureaucrats.

buggs

Betapug
“Bypass the American blockade with a short 1200Km pipeline to Churchill?”
Nice idea, but given the port is only functional for about 1/3-1/4 of the year, it’s not really practical. Grain only ships out of there for about 8 or so weeks, maybe a little more. Part of that is a function of harvest being in late summer (August) but part of it is the danger of ice along the route.

KNR

Given the biggest danger to polar bear cubs are adult male polar bears , so to save the cute little ones you have to deal with the 300 pound killing machine which is there only predator.
Anyone who thinks otherwise hates small polar bears , and probable puppy dogs, and are clearly not thinking of the children.
As for Goldenberg , she is another in the line of human reprographics machines of green PR who claim to be journalists , that long ago stop asking any questions,

KNR says:
November 29, 2013 at 10:30 am
Given the biggest danger to polar bear cubs are adult male polar bears ,
==========================================================
Actually the greatest danger to the entire polar bear population was a man with a rifle. Since we have stopped shooting polar bears, they are doing quite well.

tobias

Around our house when something disappears we have a standard answer “it’s probably in a safe place” and when they magically reappears weeks later the book was thinner and wallet is empty, sounds alot like this “study” of the Hudson Bay, (hey, but then maybe they were doing a study to discover The Hudson Bay COMPANY, that sadly has disappeared from said area.

John Anderson

In the 1960s I used to read the old Manchester Guardian. It was a fine newspaper. Last FridayI saw a copy of the Guardian that included a replica of the coverage of the assasination of President Kennedy – with excellent articles at the time by Alastair Cooke who was their main US correspondent plus the likes of Norman Shrapnel and Hella Pick.
Today’s Guardian “journalists” are dwarves by comparison. But the Guardian is dangerous – it has a miniscule number of daily purchasers for the paper, but it is the house gospel for the BBC which dominates UK news supply. The BBC and the Guardian are in lock-step in their false coverage of climate issues.
I pray for the day when the BBC and its $6 billion licence tax is cut down to size – and the day when the Guardian finally folds under its heavy financial losses.

JBJ

“Actually the greatest danger to the entire polar bear population was a man with a rifle. Since we have stopped shooting polar bears, they are doing quite well.”
Polar bears are still hunted in the Arctic!