RealClimate Co-Founder Exposes His Inability to Grasp Complex Subjects

And most regulars will recall William Connolley. Connolley’s likely best known for his hijinks as a former editor at Wikipedia. (See the WattsUpWithThat posts here, here, here, here, here, here here….and here.) But Connolley is also a former climate modeler with the British Antarctic Survey…plus a co-founder of, and former contributor to, the blog RealClimate, where he authored or co-authored a grand total of 14 blog posts from December, 2004 to March, 2008. Connolley now blogs at ScienceBlogs/Stoat.

WattsUpWithThat regulars will remember “Sou”, a.k.a. Miriam O’Brien. As Anthony Watts notes in his post My Blog Spawn:

Proprietor:Sou from Bundangawoolarangeera” aka Miriam O’Brien of Mt. Beauty, VC, Australia

Some of Miriam’s skills: being a “a sixties-something woman with an interest in climate science“, sniping at WUWT, snark, Twitter snark, photography, business consulting, being on a board of directors.

Anthony continued:

Given her daily rants, she has now qualified for “Internet stalker” levels of infatuation and invective. Assigned to the permanent troll bin.

How do those two bloggers form the basis for an article?

More background: Connolley was the first troll to appear on the thread of my post I’m Retiring from Full-Time Climate Change Blogging. See his January 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm comment. But that’s not the subject of this post. This post is about Connolley’s first link in his blog post, one that serves as his reference for my work on the processes and aftereffects of El Niño and La Niña events—a body of work that includes more than 150 well-illustrated, data-based blog posts about El Niño and La Niña processes and one book solely about ENSO. Connolley writes. [I’ve removed his hyperlink attached to my name so that readers don’t get ahead of me]:

I hasten to add that RP Sr is not speaking of me, no, he is talking of renowned blogger Bob Tisdale.

Where would you have expected the hyperlink to lead? My blog? Maybe WattsUpWithThat? Maybe the exchange I had last year at SkepticalScience about the long-term effects of ENSO?

Give up? The hyperlink was to a post by Miriam O’Brien from HotWhopper. (I’m glad I hadn’t been drinking coffee when I clicked on that link.)

As a reference for his understanding of my work, Connolley linked Miriam O’Brien’s post Bob Tisdale is Perennially Puzzled about ENSO [Miriam hyperlinks to archives, not the original blog posts, so I’ve done the same here]. Miriam’s post is her response to my post titled SkepticalScience Still Misunderstands or Misrepresents the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). (The WattsUpWithThat cross post is here.) In that post, I provided graphs of a number of datasets broken down into logical subsets that contradicted the SkepticalScience representation of ENSO, and I challenged SkepticalScience to provide links to climate model-based, peer-reviewed papers that explained why those variables for specific parts of the globe responded as they did to El Niño and La Niña events.

Of course, Miriam O’Brien did not address the content of my post. She did not discuss the datasets I presented, as I had presented them. And Miriam quoted me out of context—nothing surprising there. Miriam could have saved herself a lot of time by simply noting that she agreed with Nuccitelli’s post and disagreed with mine–but she didn’t. Miriam O’Brien wasted her time creating a couple of illustrations so that she could restate Dana Nuccitelli’s misunderstandings and misinformation.

Miriam O’Brien fancies herself an expert on just about every climate-related subject. Yet she is only capable of using the Monty Python contradiction approach to argument, which is why I find her blog so amusing…and, at the same time, I find her blogging style pitiable because she doesn’t realize she’s become an embodiment of a Python caricature.

CLOSING

It’s quite telling that William Connolley, a co-founder of RealClimate, used Miriam O’Brien’s HotWhopper post as a reference for his knowledge of ENSO. It indicates his understandings of the complex coupled ocean-atmosphere processes and aftereffects of El Niño and La Niña events are as limited as Miriam’s. And if Miriam O’Brien serves as one of his scientific or technical experts, it also suggests Connolley’s arguments about human-induced global warming have grown as laughable as hers.

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I must confess that I also have problems with ‘complex’ subjects. The deal with those is to try to strip away complexity [hoping that some essential thing did not get stripped off] until the subject becomes simple enough that I can understand it. I.e. to find out what are the important aspects.

Mac the Knife

Bob,
If you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target.
But don’t let light arms fire deter you from the main target!
Do what you do best, Bob: Keep bombing the main target.
Mac

On your blog at http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/im-retiring-from-full-time-climate-change-blogging/#comment-14483 :
> William Connolley says:
> January 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm
William links to his FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/malaysianhoneybadger
It’s worth one visit.

@ Bob I’ve always thought the Earth’s climate could be far better modeled by an analog circuit than a digital construct. Most of Nature is analog.

CLOSING
It’s quite telling that William Connolley, a co-founder of RealClimate, used Miriam O’Brien’s HotWhopper post as a reference for his knowledge of ENSO. It indicates his understandings of the complex coupled ocean-atmosphere processes and aftereffects of El Niño and La Niña events are as limited as Miriam’s.

Perhaps, as time has passed, he has experienced a gradual reduction in intellectual capability in ‘length, breadth and scope’; no longer capable of elastic expansion to encompass new ideas and learn new concepts owing to a rigorous, enforced, and/or compelled intellectual ‘confinement’ to an ideology which does not allow for a ‘fuller’, more dynamic environment or world …
. . “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
. . – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Sad, really. Intellectually handicapped by his own belief system and ‘practice’ thereof.
.

Sweet Old Bob

Snark…Whoppers…Models…GIGO…
Will they ever realise how bad they look? Nah,kennel blindness.
Keep up the great work Bob!

jorgekafkazar

lsvalgaard says: “I must confess that I also have problems with ‘complex’ subjects. The [way] I deal with those is to try to strip away complexity [hoping that some essential thing did not get stripped off] until the subject becomes simple enough that I can understand it. I.e. to find out what are the important aspects.”
Thanks, Leif. Still a tricky process–some factors aren’t easily “strippable.” Some scientists resort to a false analogy, ignoring all the complexities and hoping that will carry the day. Models, on the other hand, often boil down to just a computational false analogy, with myriad opportunities for coding errors. But your method works in the long run, through testing and iteration.

Operations/housekeeping note: 2nd try on post.

CLOSING
It’s quite telling that W i lliam C o nnolley, a co-founder of RealClimate, used M iriam O ’ B rien’s Ho t W hopper post as a reference for his knowledge of ENSO. It indicates his understandings of the complex coupled ocean-atmosphere processes and aftereffects of El Niño and La Niña events are as limited as M i riam’s.

Perhaps, as time has passed, he has experienced a gradual reduction in intellectual capability in ‘length, breadth and scope’; no longer capable of elastic expansion to encompass new ideas and learn new concepts owing to a rigorous, enforced, and/or compelled intellectual ‘confinement’ to an ideology which does not allow for a ‘fuller’, more dynamic environment or world …
. . “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
. . – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Sad, really. Intellectually handicapped by his own belief system and ‘practice’ thereof.
.

Bob Tisdale says:
January 11, 2014 at 11:23 am
Then you’ll appreciate my stripped-down description of ENSO
I did , indeed.

Barry Cullen

AW – I think nature at our scale is nearly 100% analog. Tiny things like time and thus distance, red shift, electron “orbitals”, et al are quantized.

Mario Lento

Bob Tisdale says “Then you’ll appreciate my stripped-down description of ENSO:
ENSO acts as a chaotic, naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled, recharge-discharge oscillator, where the La Niña phase acts as the recharge phase and El Niño acts as the discharge phase.”
+++++++++
And the ENSO process has shown over the latter half of the 20th century that the discharge has been a net positive as reflected by the global temperature anomalies. It will be interesting to see if this process reverses on the net output. That is, will El Niños be weaker, with less energy being charged during La Niña events.
I look forward to seeing more of your work over the rest of this decade.

Mario Lento

lsvalgaard says:
January 11, 2014 at 11:13 am
I must confess that I also have problems with ‘complex’ subjects…
+++++++++++
It’s humbling to us to see you make such a claim. It strengthens your unwavering positions!

DonS

Thanks, Bob. I’ve been wanting the elevator version of ENSO for a long time. Now, where’s the same for climate sensitivity?

Then you’ll appreciate my stripped-down description of ENSO:
ENSO acts as a chaotic, naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled, recharge-discharge oscillator, where the La Niña phase acts as the recharge phase and El Niño acts as the discharge phase.

Bob, I read something very close to that a long time ago and it was probably from you. Very good definition.
The entire weather machine that is Earth’s climate is sunlight-fueled and moderated greatly by the planet having so much water. CO2 means nothing in the greater scheme of things, it is solar output and that is reacted to by all the H2O. We are “Water World”.
Enjoyed the post very much by the way.

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

Upon posting a question to connolley on another site, concerning his, errrr, ‘constructive criticisms’ of people who posted non-AGW climate articles to Wiki, I got a response which suggested memory problems (‘ I did no such thing’). So I have to wonder: did he just forget which link he was linking to which article, in regards to Bob?

John F. Hultquist

Several years ago here on WUWT someone had a link to one of William’s rants. I took that path and regretted it. This time, I’ll take a different route. You have told me enough. Thanks.

> If you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target.
You people really aren’t thinking.

As demonstrated above, the problem with Mr. Connolley’s ability to communicate is condescension. He wears it like a body glove.

Ric Werme says:
January 11, 2014 at 11:23 am
William links to his FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/malaysianhoneybadger
It’s worth one visit.
___________________________________________________________________________
Worth one VERY short visit.

M Courtney

Was that the real William Connolley?
Surely an educated man could put up a better defence than that?
Can anyone confirm that we don’t have an imposter trying to humiliate William Connolley?

Bob, you’ve done an excellent job of simplifying the complex for me. I’m not sure I’d worry too much about the snarky types.

Rud Istvan

When a debating opponent is in the process of self destructing as here (Connelly was kicked out of Wikepedia editorship yet denied that fact) it suffices to sit back, relax, and enjoy the spectacle.
Appreciate all your work on ocean cycles. BTW, chaotic systems have strange attractors in N-1 Poincare space. ENSO appears to be just that, with two strange attractor lobes, one called La Nina and the other El Niño.

jlkinsella

Anthony Watts says:
January 11, 2014 at 11:31 am
“@ Bob I’ve always thought the Earth’s climate could be far better modeled by an analog circuit than a digital construct. Most of Nature is analog.”
I modeled complex biochemical kinetic reactions with an analog computer available at NIH. Digital computers were not reliable after the large number of iterations necessary. Always wondered why climate modeling was done with digital computers. (By the way, when the data didn’t fit the model; we changed the model.)

> Connelly [sic] was kicked out of Wikepedia editorship yet denied that fact
Errm, since I wasn’t, it wasn’t a fact, so it seems entirely reasonable to deny it.
Perhaps you have your own reality?

David W

Last year the climate change section of the Weatherzone forums was closed down here in Australia. A large part of this was due to the behaviour of a poster “Ceebee” who many of us suspect was Miriam from Hotwhopper.
“Ceebee” certainly shared many of the obnoxious attributes as Miriam and when the section was closed down it was Ceebee straight away boasting on HotWhopper of the achievement.
Time and again it is shown to be patently obvious that those who support CAGW theory have no desire to have the matter debated,

Bob: The Monty Python school of argument is WONDERFUL!
That will be attached as a link to many of my writings in the future.
Shows the thinking (NON?) of various psychotic personalities.
I’ve been to technical meetings, with REAL discussion. Where a moderator would jump in, if anyone got out of line procedurally, and ‘pet theories’, without good data and backing, were identified as such and put off to an ending, “speculation” round. All quite civil, and productive!

ob, you would be a great educator. I can understand the rumpus: wannabe model makers interrogating keyboards are embarrassed by encountering the physical real world of heated wind driven ocean current flows, gravity and geography. Only simpletons masquerading as scientists would ignore those things. I suspect the weather will ultimately ‘do them in’.
Your post with charts was so clear and unarguable. I would like to consider reposting it on my wife’s blog site: revfelicity.org
Thanks
Kevin O’Brien

Bob, apologies.
Now I have your name right.
Kevin.

Mycroft

She really doesn’t like you Anthony [does] she?
“What a dismal excuse for a human being is Anthony Watts.
“to pay for his recent trip to AGU13 San Francisco, without revealing how much money he was given, how it was spent, or the fact that he most probably didn’t have to pay for attending the AGU conference
And Bob calling you an armchair pseudo-scientist? and just wanting to sell your books!!
Looks like some Libellous comments to me?

Jimbo

William Connolley says:
January 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm
> If you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target.
You people really aren’t thinking.

What are you thinking? What is Trenberth thinking?

10 January 2014
Oops…Trenberth Concedes Natural Ocean Cycles Contributed To 1976 – 1998 Warming … CO2 Diminishes As A Factor
…….Trenberth explicitly admits in his new paper that the 1976-1998 warming phase is attributed in part to the positive phase of the PDO (original text):

The picture emerging is one where the positive phase of the PDO from 1976 to 1998 enhanced the surface warming somewhat……..

……..At a Royal Society meeting in 2013, Julia Slingo of the Met office played devil’s advocate and posed the following question to Prof Jochen Marotzke of the German Max Planck Institute of Meteorology,………

“…it’s a great presentation about 15 years being irrelevant, but I think, some of us might say if you look at the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and it’s timescale that it appears to work, it could be 30 years, and therefore I think, you know, we are still not out of the woods yet on this one. … If you do think it’s internal variability, and you say we do think the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is a key component of this, and it’s now in it’s particular phase, but was previously in the opposite phase, could you not therefore explain the accelerated warming of the 80s and 90s as being driven by the other phase of natural variability?”

http://notrickszone.com/2014/01/10/oops-trenberth-concedes-natural-ocean-cycles-contributed-to-1978-1998-warming-after-all-co2-diminishes-as-a-factor/

CEH

Please Anthony go a bit easy on William Connolley, the fact that he replied within 36 min from his name being mentioned in this post tells us he is reading this blog quite often, he might be on a path to enlightenment and that can take some time, so let us be patient.

Mac the Knife

William Connolley says:
January 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm
You people really aren’t thinking.
Huh…..Did I just hear another pop gun go off?
William,
Your response does not indicate lack of understanding but simply ad hom attack. As such you ‘fail’ even more completely than this hapless fellow:
http://youtu.be/yR0lWICH3rY

William Connolley says:
January 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm
“> If you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target.
You people really aren’t thinking.”
Looks like William Connolley joined the postings here. Hasn’t said much at all though. Care to defend yourself in detail? You won’t get censored like some other sites might do, this is an open forum. Just don’t use the D word.

charles nelson

William…you’re right over your target!
Love your FB site by the way!

Anthony Zeeman

There is one thing that has never been explained in this or any other climate related or even science related website. What is an average temperature? The term is meaningless which is why the endless arguments. Which is more dangerous; 9 volts or 20,000 volts? A 9 volt battery can kill you if the current can reach your heart. A 20,000 volt static discharge is just a nuisance. The difference is the energy capability of the source.
A 12 volt car battery will start your engine. Two 9 volt batteries in series, even though the combined voltage is 18 volts, will not even activate the starter solenoid. The difference is the energy capacity of the two batteries.
A kilogram of ice at 0 degrees combined with a kilogram of air at 20 degrees will not give an average temperature of 10 degrees since the heat capacity of ice is substantially different than air. Yet the temperature of the frozen Arctic, the Sahara desert and the oceans are averaged together as if the answer is meaningful when in fact it is useless.
There are far more temperature measurement stations based on land then there is in the ocean, even though huge changes in the Earth’s energy balance will result in only small temperature changes in the ocean while small changes in energy will make large temperature changes in air.
Yet, because there are more air temperature readings, these carry disproportionately more weight than the water temperatures in the temperature average.
Without taking into account the heat capacity of the various mediums such as air humidity and pressure at the time of measurement, the temperature measurement is useless in determing the total energy balance of the Earth.
Rather than measuring temperatures, we should be measuring total energy and seeing how this changes with time. This is much more difficult than measuring temperatures, but vastly more useful and relevant.
As it stands now there are heated arguments over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin without knowing what is a pin or an angel.
The ongoing climate argument is best summarized in a short clip from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWS8Mg-JWSg

huh?
this is a post about a comment that links to a post about another post, rather than a still different post. That Connelly is an idiot is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer. But this is a largely substance free post. Zilch about science and more about he said she said he said, I said, they said.

magicjava

William Connolley says:
January 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm
You people really aren’t thinking.
————————————–
Pot, meet kettle.

Where ever William Connelly goes, he gets picked on, just like on Tim Worstall’s blog. The only places where he doesn’t is on climate believer sites. Must be something about the quality of intelligence of such site’s readers. 😉

catweazle666

Miriam O’Brien and “Wiki” William Connolly are two of the most amusing trolls bloggers on the whole internet.
A visit to either of their sites invariably gives me a good belly-laugh!

asybot

William links to his FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/malaysianhoneybadger
It’s worth one visit.
Short visit , just till I got to the word “disembaccented”, I am sending that one to B. O’Reilly.
___________________________________________________________________________

Gunga Din

Anthony Watts says:
January 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm
As demonstrated above, the problem with Mr. Connolley’s ability to communicate is condescension. He wears it like a body glove.

==================================================================
Apologies to Will Rogers,
Everybody’s ignorant…only on different subjects. But some people are ignorant of that.

Dan Pangburn

Strip off the insignificant factors and the complexity of average global temperature becomes simple.
The cause of the warming, the end of it, and why temperatures are headed down are no longer a mystery.
Curiosity resulted in the discovery of the two primary drivers of average global temperatures that explain the reported measurements since before 1900 with 90% accuracy and credible estimates back to 1610. The science is settled, CO2 is NOT one of them. http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com/

Henry Galt.

con nolley – in case you missed the other Bob at Bob’s:
http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/im-retiring-from-full-time-climate-change-blogging/#comment-14495
“You pernicious, sniveling, mendacious, ungracious, cowardly, pencil-necked progressive dimwit. Shall we mention your Wiki escapades?”
Deference to A’s wishes prevents me from adding much to that missive.
You are a nasty piece of work.

Anthony says of Miriam O’Brien:
“…she has now qualified for ‘Internet stalker’ levels of infatuation and invective. Assigned to the permanent troll bin.”
“Infatuation and invective”, LOL! Miriam is infatuated, all right. Her problem is that her blog has such low traffic that it only shows up on Alexa when she goes on about WUWT.

I sympathize Bob. The Hot Whoppers website is clearly dedicated to smearing any skeptic with dishonest intellectual drive-by shootings. I was targeted by Sou the Sniper after I posted the essay “Will the Cost of the Climate Wars be the BBC’s Integrity? http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/31/will-the-cost-of-the-climate-wars-be-the-bbcs-integrity/ I demonstrated that the BBC was fear mongering about rising sea levels devastating the coast of Kitvalina’s which is located in the Chukchi Sea. I posted links to the only two tidal gauges near Kitvalina from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level. One station was to the south of Kivalina at Nome Alaska on the Bering Sea. The other station was to the north at Prudhoe Bay in the Beaufort Sea. I also show the sea ice was increasing in the winter using the neighboring Bering Sea ice. Instead of respectfully discussing the lack of sea level rise in that regions, or the decade of cooling, or the growing sea ice in the region, “Sou the Disseminator of Disinformation” posted a desperate attack that Jim Steele the climate denier failed geography, suggesting I was trying to misguide people about the location of the island. It is totally amazing to what [great] lengths they will go to spread re-direct public focus from contradictory evidence. Anyone linking to Hot Whoppers is revealing their disregard for the truth, and their willingness to stoop to the gutters in an attempt to suppress honest debate.

M Courtney

dbstealey says at January 11, 2014 at 2:45 pm…
Good point. There needs to be a term for that media-level between established source of general news and an individual’s opinion.
WUWT is there.
Specialist and the primary, accessible internet source for that specialism.

JaneHM

Dr Connolley’s degrees are in mathematics and numerical analysis, not atmospheric physics or earth science physics.

Betapug

Miriam O’Brien? “…mountaineer, environmentalist and feminist, best known for the concept of “man(n)less climbing” …? No, not that one.