Blacklist by Nature follows defamation by BioScience: journals reject ethics of science

From Polar Bear Science

Posted on August 17, 2019 | Comments Off on Blacklist by Nature follows defamation by BioScience: journals reject ethics of science

Along with hundreds of other people – 385 to be exact – I have been blacklisted [#181] by the science journal Nature Communications in a recently-published abysmal paper by three authors from University of California Merced, after I and a number of others were publicly defamed by a squadron of authors in a similarly-stupid paper less than two years ago in the general interest journal BioScience. This obsession that scientists-with-a-message have about silencing peers with other viewpoints (rather than constructing and communicating a winning argument themselves) is vile and utterly counter to what real science is about. Not surprisingly, they positively fawn over media stars like Al Gore and Greta Thunberg who have no science background but willingly repeat the accepted message of climate-change-doom.

Stupidest paper ever final

Now we have two stupid papers that purport to uphold the sanctity of one particular view of climate change: the Harvey et al. “absolutely the stupidest paper I have ever seen published” (Curry 2017) – which we all truly thought could not be matched – and now the Petersen et al. “worst paper published in a reputable journal” (Curry, 2019).

Judith Curry: “Apart from the rank stupidity of this article and the irresponsibility of Nature in publishing this, this paper does substantial harm to climate science.

Jo Nova: “Skeptics get banned, rejected, blocked and sacked from the mainstream media yet somehow Nature has a paper on Skeptics getting too much media. Believers don’t have to be an expert to control the news agenda, just a Greenpeace activist, or a teenage girl. Skeptics on the other hand, can be Nobel Prize winners, but the BBC won’t even phone them.”

UPDATE 18 Aug. 2019: Additional commentary on this new paper (new or previously overlooked in my initial story); do cruise the comments, some additional gems of analysis there:

Visibility and Invisibility (15 Aug 2019)

A thin bench (15 Aug 2019)

Nature Defamation (16 Aug 2019)

The Nature Communications hate list – a fast-moving story (17 Aug 2019)

Inside The Sausage Factory 18 Aug 2019

The two papers were equally-poorly conceived and executed: see critiques of the new one here, here, here, and here. Jo Nova summarized the new Nature paper this way:

“…compares bloggers, commentators and journalists with largely academic scientists, as if the two groups ought have comparable scientific citations or media mentions. Somehow paid scientists get more science citations and professional media personalities get more media. Who would have guessed? Or rather, who couldn’t?”

However, Petersen and his co-authors crossed a very clearly defined ethical line – they did research on human subjects without their consent and then publicly named them. An unknown number of people, including Roger Pielke Jr., have filled official complaints with the journal and at least one has threatened a lawsuit.

The list of subjects and other ‘supplementary material’ was available for two days – plenty of time for internet immortalization – and while it was eventually removed, that action did nothing to correct the underlying ethics violation. Even if, as seems very likely, the paper is withdrawn because of it, the damage has been done: the list is out there.

That this Nature paper was intended as a blacklist is made clear by the press release, comments by the authors (another quoted below, my bold), and their supporters.

“It’s time to stop giving these people visibility, which can be easily spun into false authority,” Professor Alex Petersen said. “By tracking the digital traces of specific individuals in vast troves of publicly available media data, we developed methods to hold people and media outlets accountable for their roles in the climate-change-denialism movement, which has given rise to climate change misinformation at scale.”

Recall from two years ago: so happy was the editor at BioScience with the international media storm that the ‘Climate change denial by proxy’ paper generated for his journal that he publicly blew off my request that it be retracted because of the blatant defamation and misrepresentation it contained. He also blew off many others who objected to the lousy science and poor copy-editing: the paper eventually went to print with two prominent spelling errors.

So sloppy was the work on this BioScience paper that a correction notice for the paper – a corrigendum – issued by the journal had to be retracted because they posted it to the wrong journal. It is therefore no surprise to find few scientific articles cite this paper and virtually no one on the Internet has mentioned it since it went to print in April 2018.

Such an embarrassment to science was the Harvey et. al. paper that the Petersen et al. Nature Communications effort released last week did not reference it, despite the strong similarities in subject matter. What a slap in the face! It would have been quite a coup to be cited in a Nature journal but alas, Harvey and colleagues had gone too far.

However, if the authors of the Petersen paper (or the reviewers or editors at Nature) had the wherewithall to leave out (or remove) any reference to the Harvey tripe, why on earth did not any of them give a second thought to what was in front of their noses?

Here is what Richard Tol had to say about the implications of this blacklist effort for future publications:

“How did this paper get published? The authors are trained as natural scientists and, moonlighting in the social sciences, may not have been aware of the rules that apply to working with human subjects. They received funding from UC Merced but it is hard to imagine they had permission from the Institutional Review Board to identify people. For two years, the authors worked with human subjects and never paused to wonder about the ethics or consult with a social scientist.

The editors did not stop them either, nor did the referees.

The referees did not spot the basic flaws in research design and data collection, errors that were very quickly found post publication.

Over the last few years, we have seen published a number of papers on the science-media interface that are very bad, so bad that the idea should have been killed over the first coffee. Those papers were challenged but never corrected or retracted. Editors therefore now have a pool of referees who do not know the first thing about research ethics or experimental design.

If the Nature Communications paper stands, Petersen, Vincent and Westerling will be asked to review similar papers in the future.”

The clear intention of this paper is to try and put an even tighter lid on the scientific literature and mainstream media so that any individuals with views that run counter to a message-of-climate-doom are excluded. As scientific journals and the media slide further down the slippery-slope of treating scientific integrity and rigor as optional, they further diminish the value of science in the eyes of the public: not just climate science, but all science.


Harvey, J.A., van den Berg, D., Ellers, J., Kampen, R., Crowther, T.W., Roessingh, P., Verheggen, B., Nuijten, R. J. M., Post, E., Lewandowsky, S., Stirling, I., Balgopal, M., Amstrup, S.C., and Mann, M.E. 2017. Internet blogs, polar bears, and climate-change denial by proxy. Bioscience 68: 281-287. DOI: 10.1093/biosci/bix133 Open Access, available here. Supplementary data file available here and the data for the principal component analysis is available here and (h/t to R. Tol), the R code is available here Corrigendum here (issued 28 March 2018).

Petersen, A.M., Vincent, E.M. and Westerling, A.L. 2019. Discrepancies in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians. Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 3502. Open access.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mike Bryant
August 20, 2019 6:21 am

The new “science” of anti- science…

Reply to  Mike Bryant
August 20, 2019 3:02 pm

To the authors of “papers” like this, it is clear that the ends justify the means.

Jeff Alberts
August 20, 2019 6:51 am

I asked this in Monckton’s thread, but does it matter that the “blacklisted” individuals are public figures?

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 20, 2019 7:32 am

Yes, it may make a difference but I do not know how much in this case. Just because someone is a public figure (and how public a figure they are is a matter of degree) does not mean you can make up any sort of lies you want about them, and publish them with impunity.

See Michael Mann’s suit. Whatever its merits, it was in principle legitimate enough to be accepted by prominent law firms and by the courts.

I think the argument that by publishing under own names they have made their stances clear will have a lot of weight when it comes to simply collecting them and publishing them as a list. It is hard to see this being ruled illegitimate.

However, when it comes to classifying them, that’s a different story. Were the authors falsely to accuse them of some felonious conduct, fraud for instance, that probably would be actionable. Whether it would be if made as a generalization, word to the effect that the publications of this group are rife with fraudulent claims….? Dunno.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  michel
August 20, 2019 8:47 am

A public person is still protected by ethical rules for social science research. One cannot propose to study 10,000 people and claim later than 11 of them are “public persons” and therefore they, alone, can be identified in the published results. The idea that they can be, is ridiculous.

Making a comment “about someone who is a public figure” is quite different from subjecting hundreds to people to a social science study and unmasking them all. It appears, as stated in the headline article above, that the paper’s authors stepped outside their arena of training in ethical rules, and committed grievous transgressions that should have been picked up by the Journal editors.

As this was definitely a social science study, so where is the registered documentation approved by the ethics board giving a nod to the study? Forgot that detail, did they?

All studies require that the ethics board be shown how the study will be conducted and that it meets all the standard requirements. The intention of the study also has to be recorded. Was that done? There is no doubt that the subjects have to be informed, and they must consent in writing to being included.

If the authors had followed appropriate procedures, the forms accepting to be studied would be stored appropriately for review. This paper doesn’t come close to be academically “legal”. The institution that failed to enforce their ethical rules bears responsibility to discipline the authors. It is not even an acceptable “commentary” piece.

Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
August 20, 2019 9:35 am

The journal does not refer to IRB approval. LeRoy Westerling ignores questions whether there was one. The editor and the IRB have yet to reply to the same question.

Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  Richard S.J. Tol
August 20, 2019 12:57 pm

The editor notes that they did not ask for IRB approval.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
August 20, 2019 9:03 pm

Effics? we don’t need know effics. (Sic on the spelling)

Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 20, 2019 9:41 am

Publication and citation records are in the public domain, and many academics are civil servants (or something very similar) anyway.

Mentions in the press are public too.

Combining one public dataset with another and naming names is not a problem.

It is, however, a problem to name someone as belonging to a “movement” of “political origin”.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Richard S.J. Tol
August 20, 2019 6:17 pm

Thanks Richard.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 20, 2019 8:00 pm

Not to the IRB it doesn’t. The entire group of human subjects should be treated uniformly.

Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 21, 2019 1:42 am

That’s how I read the regulations: No exceptions.

However, naming names is common in bibliometric studies. No one has a problem with that, as the standard bibliometric paper reorganizes information that was already in the public domain, indeed information that people are eager to put in the public domain.*

This paper is not standard: It refers to people’s formal qualifications (which is confidential information) and political leanings (which is protected information).

*We got a paper accepted in Environmental Modeling and Software yesterday! Please read it! It’s the best paper ever! It will change your life!

Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  Richard S.J. Tol
August 23, 2019 11:40 pm

UC Merced has confirmed that there was no IRB approval for this paper. That alone should sink the paper and lead to disciplinary action against its authors.

Robert Beckman
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 21, 2019 12:16 pm

Yes, it does matter legally that the named individuals are public figures. Many of them are only what the law calls “limited purpose public figures,” which would give them more protection than a senator, for example, but only on a different topic. Since each person is at least a limited purpose public figure on the broad topic of climate, they’ll all be treated as public figures.

What that means then for a defamation case is not just that they’ll have to prove that the claim about them was defamatory (ex: negative), harmful (ex: they lost X job), and false, they will also have to prove that the statements were made with “malice.” Malice in defamation law does not mean with ill intent, but rather it’s a term of art that the statement was made with willful knowledge of its falsity, and was intended to be interpreted as a true statement of fact.

Examples of this: Candidate Trump said that Ted Cruz’ father assassinated Kennedy. This was clearly hyperbolic, and so not intended as truth. Senator Schumer said in 2018 that President Trump’s team conspired with Russia to hack the 2016 election, but since he did not know it to be false it’s not actionable. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that President Trump is responsible for the shooting in Texas at a Walmart, this is an opinion, not a claim of fact, so can’t be defamatory. Hustler wrote that Jerry Falwell had sexual relations with his mother in an outhouse, but a judge ruled that no one would believe it so it couldn’t be defamatory. Bill Cosby said that one of his accusers lied in her testimony, which is an accusation of a crime, and could be defamatory even though they were both limited purpose public figures because if she could prove that her claims were true then he necessarily knew that when he accused her of lying.

In short, it’s really hard for public figures to win defamation cases, even excepting that Mann v Steyn is running decades long now…

All this applies to the US only, which also has a statute preventing domestication of foreign judgements for libel if the standard in the other country would not pass the US constitutional standards, so unless one of the authors has assets overseas there’s no point in suing in the U.K. (which has MUCH easier rules to win defamation suits).

Richard S.J. Tol
Reply to  Robert Beckman
August 22, 2019 1:14 am

Thanks Robert

Nature Comms is published in London but the hair-raising stuff is in the press release of UC Merced.

August 20, 2019 6:55 am

UC Merced? The “expansion team” of the UC system appear desperate to get noticed. So they do their best Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuola imitation … carrying out the orders of Pope Urban VIII Gore.

August 20, 2019 6:58 am

Welcome to the ethics of the progs.

Or to paraphrase Justin Trudeau, “Some people experience ethics differently than others”

Bryan A
August 20, 2019 7:01 am

Smells like a Class Action Liable Suit to me…
385 litigants
$50,000,000 settlement each
$19.25b to litigants
$30b suit with $10b to the Law Firm
Would another paper be published maligning a specific group of people if this were the outcome?

Sue them into non-existence

Reply to  Bryan A
August 21, 2019 1:28 am

For too long prominent sceptics have been too restrained to use the tools available to exact satisfaction.

If you won’t do pistols at 10′ then do us a favour and litigate … there are law firms that will back themselves for a healthy cut.

Otherwise, stop complaining about being ‘mistreated’.

[ I have an azzhat that overstepped the mark in my profession squarely in my sights and believe me, when I’m finished with him, he will wish he were never born ! ]

David Tallboys
August 20, 2019 7:04 am

Can someone who understands this climate science please review this recent book:

The Rise and Fall of the Carbon Dioxide Theory of Global Warming by Dr Rex Fleming

It is published by Springer:

Dr. Rex J. Fleming is a mathematician with a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the U. of Michigan. He has over 50 years of experience as a scientist and manager in weather and climate research. He has published peer reviewed scientific papers from 1971 to 2018.

Reply to  David Tallboys
August 20, 2019 10:17 am

The Paleo stuff is outside my background. The physics is basic regurgitation of historical classical junk just giving derived understandings which probably reflects the authors age and physics background. It doesn’t go into modern radiation theories, models and the like.

I have issue with the book title “carbon dioxide theory” it really should be “theories” because it deals with a number of them without really drilling into pros and cons of each.

It’s a light easy enough read which attempts to tread some middle ground and will probably upset both sides 🙂

Reply to  LdB
August 20, 2019 3:15 pm

isn’t the CO2 theory supposed to be based on pre quantum classical physics, or did Arrhenius have access to a time machine ?.

Reply to  Sparky
August 20, 2019 7:11 pm

Maxwells Equations date to 1862 and radiative transfer equation (RTE) 1890’s, QM dates from 1925.

So the question only historians can answer is why was CO2 theory done that way.
My guess at the answer is because of the origins of the field in Biology/Geology.

The real question is why you would bother with these old theories in this day and age.

Reply to  LdB
August 21, 2019 10:05 am

I don’t, but others such as gorebots do.

Reply to  David Tallboys
August 20, 2019 10:32 am

Looks interesting. However, the website says “© 2020” and “This title is currently reprinting. You can pre-order your copy now.”

There’s also a downloadable version, but that link seems to loop back to the hardcover preorder form.

I’ll look again from home.

David Tallboys
Reply to  Ric Werme
August 20, 2019 12:52 pm

Thanks for looking.

As a lone sceptic amongst a group of 97% believers I’m searching for something to point to refute the “97% say it is the fault of carbon dioxide and those 97% know more than you, so you are a denier to doubt it.”

Reply to  David Tallboys
August 20, 2019 5:38 pm

Just give them what the IPCC says about the subject. They’re who these “97% believers” should count on to tell them what to think.

From IPCC AR3, TAR-14 (, p. 774, emphasis added):

In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. This reduces climate change to the discernment of significant differences in the statistics of such ensembles. The generation of such model ensembles will require the dedication of greatly increased computer resources and the application of new methods of model diagnosis. Addressing adequately the statistical nature of climate is computationally intensive, but such statistical information is essential.”

You don’t have to be a scientist to understand the above. The first bolded sentence really says it all. The second is icing on the cake.

Reply to  sycomputing
August 23, 2019 1:34 pm

Then, however, we have the Summery for Policymakers…

Ulrike P
Reply to  Ric Werme
August 20, 2019 10:32 pm

You can find a longer version of the paper that has been published last year under this link.

Section 5 deals with the physics.
I don’t know why LdB says it is “historical classic junk”. I thought is was rather very through, and the data used for the calculations are definitely recent. The paper is full with references to recent (<20 yrs) papers. Most importantly, Fleming's integrates in his approach Planck and Schwarzschild to account for an optically thick atmosphere, instead of the "classic" approach of regarding earth as a flat black pancake.
LdB, if you have knowledge of a better model approach, let us know.

Here is a reference to an even more detailed explanation of the Schwarzschild integration (written by some "old classic" guys ;-).

Michael 2
Reply to  David Tallboys
August 20, 2019 4:11 pm

There can be no reasonable refutation that carbon dioxide CAN intercept radiative energy in certain wavelengths, and re-emit; that’s the foundation of a carbon dioxide laser.

What is less certain is the complexities of real world carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, where is the radiation coming from that it intercepts and what does it do next? My own study suggests that the mean path length of suitable infrared wavelengths is 10 meters (30 feet), meaning that by 30 feet above ground, half of the radiated thermal energy of the surface has been captured. The next 30 feet, half of the remaining, and so on. What happens next is most of the time the CO2 molecule transfers that energy to an adjacent, probably nitrogen molecule and heats the air (but not by much) which, combined with conduction from the earth’s surface, turns into convection and rises in a bubble of warm air.

Eventually the air reaches the TOA, top of atmosphere, and here the presence of CO2 reverses its utility, it now emits into space thermal energy because other molecules cannot (Ozone also emits if I remember right).

Consequently, carbon dioxide warms near the surface and cools near the top of atmosphere; the net effect is difficult to quantify BUT since life depends more on surface conditions than TOA conditions some places may well become, on average, warmer enough to notice particularly if you were alive in the 1970’s when things were unusually cool.

Reply to  Michael 2
August 20, 2019 7:12 pm

IMO you got it substantially right. Thermalization is a major parallel to convection:
A broad knowledge of nature and engineering/science reveals how CO2, in spite of being a ghg, does not, never has and never will have a significant effect on climate:
1. A huge population gradient for water vapor molecules exists from average about 10,000 ppmv at surface to 32 ppmv at and above the tropopause.
2. Significant radiation below ~wavenumber 600 can only be absorbed/emitted by WV molecules and at higher altitudes (mostly from below the tropopause) much of the outward directed emission goes directly to space. This is demonstrated by the ‘hash’ in TOA flux vs wavenumber graphs.
3. Thermalization allows much of the energy absorbed by CO2 below the tropopause to be redirected to WV resulting in the ‘notch’ centered on CO2 in TOA vs wavenumber graphs.
4. CO2 is ~410 ppmv all the way up and dominates absorb/emit above the tropopause, partially refilling the ‘notch’ in TOA flux vs wavenumber.
5. The increase in water vapor, which has been about twice that calculated from temperature increase of the liquid water, accounts for the part of the increase in warming attributable to humanity.

Average global temperature tracks water vapor, not CO2.

The good news is triple:
1. The added WV will mitigate and might even prevent another LIA.
2. The increased WV and thus the increased warming is inherently self-limiting.
3. The increasing CO2 is increasing plant growth/food production.

Reply to  Michael 2
August 20, 2019 7:33 pm

I agree with much of your statements you can’t refute the greenhouse effect it exists and we can even create it in meta-materials. I also agree the problem is you have two heat baths one at surface one at TOA and there is a complex relationship between them. However I disagree with your TOA physics and would also add there exists a third heat bath, that being space and that makes the story even more complex.

At the end of the day I really don’t care the whole thing was doomed the moment it signed into the socialist rubbish of Emission Control based per capita. Any capitalist would have told them to tie Emission Controls to GDP output. That would have cleared up the whole 3rd world developing nations get out of jail free cards for countries like China which have massive GDP.

Ulrike P
Reply to  Michael 2
August 20, 2019 10:42 pm

Hi Michael,
This is EXACTLY what Fleming describes, and he quantifies the net effect using Schwarzschild and Planck. Fleming’s conclusion on page 14, Section 5 of the paper (no need to buy the book)

“From the historical record and from these calculations one sees that the CO2 concentration had no impact on temperature. It contributes low level heating and allows upper level cooling for a zero net effect.”
From the paper here:
According to his website, the paper has been peer-reviewed and published in a shortened version last year.

Reply to  Ulrike P
August 21, 2019 11:45 am

Incomplete. Thermalization is not mentioned.

Hitran shows, in the atmosphere, absorb/emit intensity from a H2O molecule is about 5 times the absorb/emit intensity of a CO2 molecule.

Ulrike P
Reply to  Dan Pangburn
August 22, 2019 8:51 pm

You didn‘t care to read the paper.
It is the very FIRST thing he writes in Section 5:

Radiation interacts with matter on both the atomic and molecular level. Gases in atomic form adsorb and emit radiant energy in very narrow wavelengths that result from quantized changes in electronic states—called spectral absorption lines. Vibrational absorption occurs within a molecule due to the vibration of component atoms about their mean position within the molecule. Rotational absorption is due to the rotation of a molecule around its center of mass. . The multiplicity of vibrational-rotational modes creates a complex irregular absorption spectrum with bands containing thousands of lines. The strongest of the H2O lines have not the strength of the strongest of the CO2 coefficients.
One can make a broad brush comparison of the relative roles of H2O and CO2 in the heating of the thermal blanket. The units on the coefficients in Table 2 are in m2/kg. The comparison is for the level of the thermal blanket considered to be one km thick within the planetary boundary layer.
(Table 2 here)
The concentration of CO2 is considered to be uniform over the atmosphere at 400 ppmv. The concentration of water vapor varies from a maximum of 40,000 ppmv (Hong Kong) to the lowest measured value of 4 ppmv in the upper stratosphere. A value for water vapor at one km is estimated to be 11,000 ppmv, so the ratio of mass of H2O / CO2 at one km is approximately 11,000 / 400 = 27.5. Comparison of the absorption coefficients over the full range of 1.5 to 18 μm gave the result: CO2 / H2O = ~ 5.5. Thus, water vapor dominates by the ratio of 27.5 / 5.5 = 5.

Reply to  Dan Pangburn
August 23, 2019 4:07 pm

UP, It appears we are not on the same page with understanding of thermalization. Thermalization is the process of absorbing radiation and sharing the absorbed energy with surrounding molecules.

According to Spectracalc/Hitran, at zero altitude there are about 24 H2O molecules for each CO2 molecule and each H2O molecule is about 5 times as effective at absorb/emit of thermal (LWIR) radiation emitted from earth surface as a CO2 molecule.

Nick Werner
August 20, 2019 7:06 am

Statement of Ethical Values:

Integrity: We will conduct ourselves…
Excellence: We will conscientiously strive…
Accountability: We will be accountable…
Respect… We will respect the rights and dignity of others.

UPDATE [2019]… Some others are more equal than others.

Reply to  Nick Werner
August 20, 2019 9:52 am

No you got it wrong

Integrity: You’re gonna have to trust us on this or we could just fake the data.
Excellence: We will make sure all data even if faked has 97% support
Accountability: We will make sure 3 friends review all findings and papers
Respect… We will respect anyone agreeing with us, the rest of you can die in the fires of Mordor.

Bryan A
Reply to  LdB
August 20, 2019 2:09 pm

Well, the complaints department is at the top of Mt Doom

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Bryan A
August 20, 2019 6:04 pm

I was in a little diner recently, the retro burger joint type. Lots of old signs, or meant to be old,anyway. One of them had a had pointing to the right and said “Complaint department, about 20 miles that way”.

August 20, 2019 7:22 am

Indignation misses the point. The issue is not climate, or science. None of these people actually believe the hysterical and alarmist things they keep saying.

This is simply tribal warfare. The stance one takes on warming is an indicator of which side you are on. The paper is not a serious study of anything, its only point was to list the main people on the other side. They could have just published it as a list of names, it would have served the purpose equally well.

You think this is impossible, you think they must surely really believe it?

No. Very few devout churchmen through the ages have ever literally believed their creeds. Those who kow-towed to Lysenko didn’t believe it. Those who praised Stalin’s writings likewise. Very few if any modern day Marxists actually believe in the Hegelian laws of history.

The most committed global warming advocates don’t believe in the pending catastrophe. If they did they would advocate measures which actually will reduce global emissions, which they steadfastly refuse to do, despite it being obviousl what those are.

They instead focus on advocating pointless measures which will have no effect, while denouncing anyone who opposes them as being of the other tribe. The point is not to lower global emissions, or even to lower local emissions. The point is to smoke out and identify THEM, and denounce them.

I have come to the conclusion that the most effective measure in the midst of this mass hysteria is to support the alarmist agenda. Someone wants to install wind turbines, go to it. Someone else wants to have China commit to raising emissions? Yes, by all means you noble Confucians, do lead the world in tackling this existential problem.

This will eventually die out like all religious manias. There is nothing to be done except wait for it.

Reply to  michel
August 20, 2019 8:10 am

This will eventually die out like all religious manias. There is nothing to be done except wait for it.

Religious manias are dying out? They seem to be going pretty strong, some of them thousands of years old.

Reply to  Windchaser
August 20, 2019 10:20 pm


Reply to  michel
August 20, 2019 9:48 am


Meanwhile, no whining…..instead, respond with humor and mockery….it works better. Eg:

We should respond to being called “climate deniers” by saying, “No, I am a climate infidel!” and refer to the believers as “the climate faithful”.

The globe is warming. Has been since the Little Ice Age. Probably that’s a good thing. We will find out. India and China are not going to stop pouring out the CO2, so the “What is the effect of rising CO2?” experiment is going to happen.

But the “Catastrophic” part of the climate change movement is religious in nature, no more scientific than is Scientology. We should use mockery to neutralize that movement.

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  kwinterkorn
August 20, 2019 11:07 am

Like this, and for exactly the same reasons? 🙂

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Michael H Anderson
August 20, 2019 10:09 pm

That’s great!
I never saw it, and only knew the name Spike Jones from the song “Up on Cripple Creek”, on one of my all time favorite albums by The Band.
I never understood the reference, but I used to listen to this album/song every day when I was about 11-14 years old.
So now I am reading about the song, while listening to it, and learning about Spike Jones!
45 years later I have my answers!
And all because you posted this video…so thanks!

Here, some links for anyone else who wants to catch up:

(Too far off topic) SUNMOD

The original version:

A shortened version from The Last Waltz:

Explanation of the song:
But then I got sidetracked by the whole thing with the clavinet played through a wah-wah pedal(which I had been told as a kid was invented by Jimi Hendrix and always thought was true but just found out that it is not true, and the invention was more of less an accident that occurred while some guys were redesigning a popular amplifier, and was quickly adopted by not just Jimi but also Eric Clapton and many others…Clapton may have released a song with Cream, using it first), to other famous songs featuring the clavinet, to a deconstruction of the Stevie Wonder song Superstition, to a video of him playing it live (2004 Grammy Award show, in which Stevie has what appears to be a mint condition Hohner D6 clavinet, which they stopped making in 1984…), which is a fascinating story in itself, the whole thing with the clavinet and how modern electronic keyboards (including mine which I just turned on and found the clavinet setting which I had never noticed) now have an emulation of, including a version of what it sounded like when the rubber pads were starting to wear out and stick to the strings, and is a distinctive sound in it’s own right…*deep breathe*…wow!
The interwebs is great!
I also found out that the D6 model was made starting in 1971, and Superstition was released in 1972, so he must have played a brand new unit when he wrote and recorded the song.
I have not been able to find out if the unit he played at the Grammys was that same original one, but I do know that by 2004 it was hard to find parts, let alone a brand new mint condition instrument. Ok…Nope, he used a model C.
(there are a bunch of other songs using the clavinet that everyone knows)
-Whatever Gets You Through the Night by John Lennon
-Life in the Fast Lane by The Eagles
-Have a Cigar by do I even need to say?
-Kid Charlemagne by Steely Dan
-You Make Lovin’ Fun by Christine McVie
-Too many more to name but you get the idea…

Stevie original and on the 2004 live version:

So it was full circle, from global warming superstition to the live version of the song, and then back to here!
With many stops along the way…20 open tabs at the moment.
No wonder I can never get anything done!

I wanted to include this amazing video of the evolution of guitar rock, played with no guitars, but instead….you guessed it.
Some people!

Ok, some people pointed out a bass is a type of guitar.

(Too far off topic) SUNMOD

August 20, 2019 7:35 am

Clown World.

August 20, 2019 7:45 am

This alone shows how messed up they are:

Climate Skepticism

“A new defamatory paper at Nature Communications shows the climate cult sinking to new lows. It follows a familiar technique of creating hatred and division by dividing everyone up into just two groups, the goodies and the baddies. The abstract starts with “We juxtapose 386 prominent contrarians with 386 expert scientists …”, at which point they have already gone astray since many of the so-called contrarians are in fact expert scientists. The claim is that ‘contrarians’ get more media coverage than the scientists, which is an obvious falsehood.”

bolding mine

August 20, 2019 8:08 am

However, Petersen and his co-authors crossed a very clearly defined ethical line – they did research on human subjects without their consent and then publicly named them.

They did research on you?

They didn’t cut you open or inject you full of some new drug. They didn’t violate your body. They did research about you, same as anyone can do by looking up your name and what you’ve said or published.

This is one of the most snowflakey things I’ve ever read on this site. “They did research on human subjects without our consent!”

Reply to  Windchaser
August 20, 2019 9:26 am

Research ABOUT you is not a legitimate research paper. It’s an editorial.

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Windchaser
August 20, 2019 9:32 am

Windchaser: They didn’t cut you open or inject you full of some new drug. They didn’t violate your body. They did research about you, same as anyone can do by looking up your name and what you’ve said or published.

There are regulations: here is a start for your reading:

Start here:

This page has an email address:

more detail is here (note the requirement for training, and explicit presentation of the informed consent form):

And at the federal level:

More about informed consent here:

It is the IRB, not the researcher, who decides whether the informed consent is needed or not.

There’s this:

Can records or databases be reviewed to identify potential subjects without obtaining informed consent or parental permission?
Yes, under certain circumstances. Although the HHS regulations do not specifically reference this type of activity, sometimes referred to as “preparatory to research,” such an activity must be reviewed and approved by an IRB in accordance with HHS regulations at 45 CFR 46.109(a) when:

The activity involves human subjects research, as defined by the regulations at 45 CFR 46.102(f);
The research does not meet the criteria for exemption under HHS regulations at 45 CFR 46.101(b).
In general, informed consent of the subjects, or parental permission for children involved in research, must be sought and documented in accordance with, and to the extent required by, HHS regulations at 45 CFR 46.116 and 45 CFR 46.117 respectively.

However, an IRB may approve a consent or parental permission procedure that does not include, or that alters, some or all of the elements of informed consent, or may waive the requirements to obtain informed consent (45 CFR 46.116(c) or (d)). In order to permit investigators to obtain and record identifiable private information for the purposes of identifying potential subjects, OHRP expects that IRBs routinely will waive the requirement for informed consent for such activities. In assessing the level of risk to determine whether a waiver of informed consent or parental permission is permissible for the identification of potential subjects, the IRB need only consider the risk of investigators accessing the subjects’ identifiable private information, not the risks of the research in toto.

And there’s this:

You’ll notice the requirement for confidentiality

What are investigators’ responsibilities once a study is completed?
If all research-related interventions or interactions with human subjects have been completed, and all data collection and analysis of identifiable private information described in the IRB-approved research plan have been finished, then the human subjects research study has been completed. When a human subjects research study has been completed, the investigators no longer are required to obtain continuing review and approval of that study by the IRB. The investigators should follow any applicable institutional policies and procedures for notifying the IRB of the study’s completion.

Once a study has been completed, investigators may keep the data they collected, including identifiable private data, if consistent with the IRB-approved research plan. Investigators should continue to honor any confidentiality protections of the data.

Investigators also should honor any other commitments that were agreed to as part of the approved research, for example, providing information about the study results to research subjects, or honoring commitments for compensation to research subjects for research participation.

There actually is lots more. Just about everything requires approval of the IRB before research can begin.

These laws can seem Draconian when you encounter them for the first time.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Matthew R Marler
August 21, 2019 7:31 am

A “tour de force” by Matthew! Thanks. 🙂

Reply to  Windchaser
August 20, 2019 9:58 am

Take a Saturday stroll through the parking lot of your local synagogue, writing down the license plate numbers. Go to the DMV and look up the names (public information in most States). Publish a list, stating that THESE people are supporting the “occupation” of Palestine, and need to be silenced.

You didn’t touch them, you didn’t take up any of their time, you didn’t use anything that was not out in the open and readily available. That somehow makes it right? I don’t think so… (Not even considering that you aren’t bound by any kind of professional ethics code – just common everyday ethics.)

Depending on the synagogue parking lot you stroll through, you could also get a whole bunch of FALSE “positives” – some “Jews” do support the destruction of Israel. Just as several of the people on this black list are believers in the “consensus” about CAGW.

Reply to  Windchaser
August 20, 2019 10:20 am

“This is one of the most snowflakey things I’ve ever read on this site. “They did research on human subjects without our consent!””

Says some anonymous coward. Good thing I have too many other things going, it would be tempting to do some research on you. 🙂

Heh, I hadn’t realized that there was recent activity over at RealClimate. How are they treating people there these days?

Reply to  Windchaser
August 20, 2019 10:25 am

On the other hand, after getting papers, including one on rape culture in dog parks published, Peter Boghossian is being investigated by the U of Portland for violating ethics codes. The issue is that he and his collaborators did an experiment on journal editors without their permission by submitting fake research on gender issues. He will probably lose his job.

If the ‘Grievance Studies Affair is ruled as a violation of ethics codes, then the Nature paper certainly is. How this plays out in law courts is another matter.

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Fran
August 20, 2019 2:11 pm

Fran: Peter Boghossian

thank you. I was about to look up that case and post a reference.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Windchaser
August 20, 2019 10:46 am

In the Social Sciences, it is considered unethical to use someone’s writings, public statements, beliefs, etc. in a study without their permission if you reveal their identity. It may be legal, but then lots of unethical things are legal. However when you start throwing around labels like “denier” (which was used in the press release), then you may even step over the legal line.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Paul Penrose
August 20, 2019 6:12 pm

Or inferring that a credentialed scientist (Pielke, Christy, Spencer, Curry) is not a scientist simply because they come to a different conclusion.

Bruce Cobb
August 20, 2019 8:17 am

Alinsky tactic #13: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
Mission accomplished.

J Mac
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 20, 2019 9:48 am


August 20, 2019 8:22 am

Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians

“16 August 2019 Editorial Note: This is an update of an editorial note issued on August 15. Readers are alerted that the editors are aware of a number of criticisms related to this work. These criticisms are being considered by the editors. The Supplementary Information for this Article is currently unavailable due to concerns regarding the identification of individuals. We will publish an update once our investigation is complete. ”

August 20, 2019 8:36 am

Ethics is relative.

Reply to  n.n
August 21, 2019 2:28 pm

Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others. Groucho Marx

HD Hoese
August 20, 2019 8:36 am

You can imagine what is being said behind everybody’s back. I know the type, not very well disciplined. Yesterday I just drove down to the beach to look at birds. The sign with the inlet (Aransas Pass, Texas) in the background through which ships are bringing in wind turbine parts said “DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH THE BIRDS/ THESE BIRDS ARE PROTECTED UNDER THE MBTA/ VIOLATIONS WARRANT CRIMINAL PENALTIES UP TO $15,000/ OR 6 MONTHS IN PRISON”

Not exactly inspiring love of birds. Some days you can’t avoid the protected birds, some days you can’t avoid that mentality “communicated” elsewhere.

The author’s affiliations.
Management of Complex Systems Department, Ernest and Julio Gallo Management Program, School of Engineering, University of California, Merced, CA, 95343, USA
Medialab, Sciences Po, Paris, 75007, France
Center for Climate Communication, University of California, Merced, CA, 95343, USA
Sierra Nevada Research Institute, University of California, Merced, CA, 95343, USA

Robert of Texas
August 20, 2019 8:50 am

“If you can’t out-think them, silence them…” This seems to be the policy coming from anti-science liberals who push forward with “policy at any cost”.

August 20, 2019 9:29 am

Scientists of the self-styled ‘consensus’ refuse to openly debate climate science. This consensus argue that everything important in the science of climate is “settled science”, which it should be intellectual heresy to debate. Some of them explain because “debate will stop action”. So what action should we take? That’s clearly not up for debate! Climate experts will tell you what to do.

The reason why contrarian views have greater visibility is because anyone who wants to talk about climate science in an open forum will inevitably be talking with so-called “contrarians”. Contrarian ideas vary from: 1) the effect of humans on climate is exaggerated, to 2) technical disputes over data and method, thought to 3) alternative explanations of climate change giving most weight to the sun, its affect on cloud formation, and the subsequent change in deep ocean warming.

The only way to stop such open discussion is to ban it. Science has reached such a low point that many scientists believe the public should be banned from talking about it. They want to create an authoritarian, curated media where groups of people are not allowed to share ideas. This is such a betrayal of civilization because free-speech and skepticism were pre-conditions for the modern Scientific Revolution of the 17th century. Modern science went hand-in-hand with the skepticism and questioning which engendered what we know as The European Enlightenment. Two trends fed and fed off each other: 1) intellectual skepticism of traditional establishment ideas such as “natural law”, and 2) investigation of the actual principles of the natural world. 3) The exploration of the globe added more information to trends rejected establishment “natural law”. The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment are inter-related aspects of the same thing: skepticism given free reign to lead where it may.

Chris hagan
August 20, 2019 9:53 am

This is a perfect class action lawsuit in the making. Someone should start a Gofundme on this and all people named should state their case in court. When these slanders are addressed a 50 million win would do wonders for the skeptical position on climate science.

August 20, 2019 9:57 am

Isn’t this Nature “blacklist” a form of Lysenkoism?

August 20, 2019 10:31 am

The authors may have unwittingly blacklisted themselves from future publication.

Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
August 20, 2019 10:52 am

These papers are intended to do damage, get reproduced in the press … and who cares if they’re retracted because no one ever reads a retraction.

This tactic won’t stop until they are sued – and don’t stop if they retract – keep pursuing them until they realise that they can’t use this hit and run tactic.

Jim Veenbaas
August 20, 2019 11:20 am

I think a big issue for the skeptical movement is they don’t have prominent conservative and libertarian commentators on board. Guys like Dave Rubin, Ben Epstein, Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan are extremely influential, even though they are outside the traditional MSM. These prominent people steer clear from the climate science debate because they don’t understand how bad the science is. Like the vast majority of people who don’t follow the issue closely, many of these commentators believe what they have been told, or at least don’t question the science. Skeptics will never get a fair shake from the MSM, but they have to do a better job connecting with influentials who would be inclined to support them, if they just knew more about the issue.

This is why I suggested in a previous thread about taking a page from Boghossian and Lindsay and writing a bunch of garbage, ridiculous papers and submitting them for peer review and publication. B & L focussed on identity politics with their bogus papers, but something like 12 of 20 were accepted. The papers were so ridiculous that any rational reviewer would have rejected them. When they went public with the results, it exposed the science for the garbage it was and revealed the utter lack of rigour and the overwhelming bias of the reviewers. Climate science should be a fertile ground for similar tactics.

Although this tactic won’t gain traction with the MSM, it might open the eyes of influentials who would be more receptive of the skeptical movement, if they just knew how bad the science is.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas
August 21, 2019 7:45 am

“These prominent people steer clear from the climate science debate because they don’t understand how bad the science is. Like the vast majority of people who don’t follow the issue closely, many of these commentators believe what they have been told, or at least don’t question the science.”

Unfortunately, I think this describes a lot of Republicans, too. I haven’t heard one of them say CO2 is not a problem that needs to be fixed. They all have different fixes but none of them question whether CO2 is actually doing anything detrimental in the atmosphere. They all seem to assume it is. So we are probably not going to be too happy with the postions of a lot of Republicans. Fortunately, the Chief Republican, Trump, doesn’t put any stock in the CAGW speculation. That’s what counts.

We will find out where everyone stands during this election cycle. Bernie has already called out Trump for claiming CAGW is a hoax. Bernie says Trump is a hoax, in response. Bernie is supposed to release his climate change plan tomorrrow. Fox News Channel will have a segment on renewable energy at 5pm CST today.

The public discourse about climate change is going to be picking up dramatically between now and the 2020 US elections.

Lots of material coming our way! 🙂

August 20, 2019 11:59 am

The list is of less use without the paper to give it credence: not useless but it takes out some of the teeth.

Retraction is a reasonable aim, IMO.

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Susan Crockford
August 20, 2019 2:37 pm

Susan Crockford: not useless but it takes out some of the teeth.

Would you consider a civil suit or criminal proceeding against the authors and UC Merced for breach of research ethics? I am no attorney so my advice is worthless, but it looks to me like you could make a case.

I think we can be confident that a thorough investigation by the responsible authorities at UC Merced would conclude that their grant-winning researchers were in compliance.

Just curious. One reads about these cases in the science press from time to time. Usually an external agent is necessary to press the issue.

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Matthew R Marler
August 20, 2019 3:01 pm

What I meant was, if I actually proffered advice, rather than just commentary, that advice,would be worthless.

Maybe the commentary is as well?

Reply to  Susan Crockford
August 20, 2019 5:59 pm

“The list is of less use without the paper to give it credence: not useless but it takes out some of the teeth.”

Unfortunately Susan, the list is out there now and those who downloaded it know very well what they have. It’s a target list, setting up all named for activism and more – remember it’s not so long back John Christy’s office was shot at.

This is the exact same tactic as the recent US Dem naming of Rep donors with a call to attack. They published a list of all those who dared to have a differing opinion with a clear intent of making them targets for the radical and fascist left.

And now we see it against scientists and those who dare to read real science and comment on it.

And something missing from the whole argument so far… if the media world is SO pro a sceptic view, why is that so? And how come the MSM is NOT following the papers and science being presented? Where are the general media views of the church of AGW?

August 20, 2019 12:35 pm

My comment five years ago stands today. “All of science will suffer from this folly”

August 20, 2019 1:43 pm

These folks are lucky they are only attempting to smear mere climate contrarians.
There was this guy who was going to publish names that went to his private island….

M__ S__
August 20, 2019 1:54 pm

In a a number of areas in teh US, science is dead.

Nothing I measured and wrote about was accepted unless it was supported by repeatable data from actual experiments, and dissent was always encouraged.

Without dissenting viewpoints and proof, it isn’t science, it’s religion.

August 20, 2019 2:13 pm

I’m watching a YouTube of a thirty year old match between the Montana led 49ers ,and the Aikman led Cowboys.

Monday Night Football. Prime time. Nation wide. 1990.

Not one but two commercials by Pacific Gas and Electric presenting global warming as an accomplished fact so as to sell the rubes no windmills and solar panels.

I hadn’t realized the poison had started that early. Less than a decade since the record cold 70s.
What happened to “You need a 30 year record, as a minimum, to see climate.”?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  papertiger
August 21, 2019 7:52 am

“Not one but two commercials by Pacific Gas and Electric presenting global warming as an accomplished fact [in 1990] so as to sell the rubes on windmills and solar panels.”

Thanks for that nugget, papertiger.

August 20, 2019 2:15 pm

The people writing and publishing these hit pieces have absolutely no business being around anything to do with science. Period. They aren’t doing science. They’re doing political activism. I’m not sure how to correct the course we’re currently traveling with science and science communication and communicators. Until these scientists and communicators have ethical checks and balances, we’re going to continue seeing this sort of behavior. Somehow, integrity needs to aggressively asserted.

I like this philosophical piece on upgrading your cargo cult science. If you haven’t read it, it’s well worth the time to do so.

August 20, 2019 2:20 pm

If you trying to make an ethical argument about why this paper should be retracted you are wasting your time , because the authors are not at all worried about the ethics involved . And sadly they matter no more to those who could take action , for when your ‘saving the planet ‘ you cannot worry about such things .

August 20, 2019 3:25 pm

This is good – there’s an interview with the editor of Nature Communications who is responsible for publishing this steaming pile of ****, all about ethics and integrity!

“A key task performed by editors is reviewer selection, which is essential to maintain the integrity of published material. Professional editors have the competence and time to provide a high-quality and robust peer review experience.

Editors will also work in collaboration with the research community to develop quality and reproducibility standards for doing and reporting research that can be implemented via journal policy, for example using checklists during the peer review process. In this way, they foster integrity in the publishing process and promote ethics in research practices.”

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Paul Matthews
August 20, 2019 3:58 pm

Shameless plug for myself,

Paul, please see my responses to your comments at Climate Etc.

michael hart
August 20, 2019 3:46 pm

Tol’s comments are particularly telling.

How can a publication stable like Nature sink so low?

I suspect the answer lies in the division of labour and responsibilities within an institution. I have seen similar things occur within the boundaries of a University Department. One particular division in the Department was able to go completely off the rails, as judged by the standards of faculty in the other divisions. But they had taken the attitude of reciprocal non-interference in other people’s back yard. When they realised how stupid it was making the whole department look, it was already too late to stop the wheels in motion.

I’m sure there are still many good scientists/editors within the Nature group who wish no part in these kind of exercises that debase not just the publishing company, but science itself.

August 20, 2019 5:51 pm

When the public wakes to the scam that has been perpetrated on them AND that $Billions of public money has been wasted, the reaction will NOT be against the priests of AGW alone, but against anyone daring to try and show Science as a genuine source of knowledge.

You can bet the scammers will be well out of sight as the pitchforks and flaming torches head for the labs and research facilities.

August 20, 2019 10:19 pm

What knowledgable, respected adult would want to be identified on the list:
Take a close look at the list and view those named at #1 and #2 spots. What adult would want to appear on any list that included these two dingbats:

August 26, 2019 7:44 am

Fleming has retracted his book. It is not available anymore from the publisher. Is there any explanation by the author?

Ulrike P
Reply to  Roger
August 27, 2019 7:45 am

I asked Dr. Fleming, and he replied that the book is “temporarily out of print”. And that it is possible to get the E-book version, but not the hard cover yet. This doesn’t sound to me like he “retracted the book”. My information is as of today, August 27.

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights