Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation: Part VI

by Judith Curry

The recent dust-up between Eric Steig and O’Donnell et al. is an interesting case study as we ponder the issue of reconciliation.   This dust-up is in regard to the analysis of temperatures on Antarctica:

This is being discussed on several blogs, and has even brought co-author Jeff Id temporarily out of  blogospheric retirement:

This is the noisiest scientific dust-up/dispute I’ve seen in awhile: the science that is being disputed seems pretty straightforward, the dispute seems to be more personal than scientific, IMO.  So, lets discuss here some of the following issues of relevance to reconciliation and open and honest scientific debate:

  • What constitutes “fair play” and honorable behaviour in a scientific debate?
  • What is the role of the blogosphere in illuminating and settling scientific disputes?
  • If the main goal is honest scientific debate,  is civility necessary or desirable?

I look forward to your recommendations on how to have prevented such a dust-up, or is this just a particularly bloody example of how the “game” is played?  (exactly why are we playing such games?)

I haven’t followed this too closely, but my personal reaction to this is that the editor of the journal should pay close attention to potential conflicts when an individual scientist whose paper is being critiqued is asked to review that same paper.   Would an open discussion journal (e.g. online, with reviews online as well) have helped or hindered this?

Your thoughts on how to prevent/mediate (or whatever) such disputes?  Or should we just sit back and bring on the popcorn?   My concern is that owing to the public scrutiny of the climate field, such public and vehement disputes that seem to be an attempt to discredit rather than merely disagree don’t do anyone any favors.   Suggestions for how to move forward this particular research question?

339 responses to “Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation: Part VI

  1. – Others?

    The Blackboard

  2. I think this is related to part of your questions. It doesn’t seem to be really “debated” at RC, since some of the authors of O’Donnell et al. (and many others) are not allowed to post. Not scientific fair play, not the way the blogosphere can illuminate anything, and not the needed civility.

    • I’m surprised that they are being so heavy handed over at RC; with their new change of format I thought there might be change towards more openness in terms of debate.

      • Latimer Alder

        I fear that on the issue of being surprised at their heavy-handedness you may be in a very small minority. It’s been apparent to many ‘sceptics’ that RC exists as a one-way communication channel since its foundation.

        Like a preacher in a pulpit, the assembled masses are only there to be given The One True Word, not to ask questions of the annointed messengers. Especially awkward ones.

        On the topic of popcorn, there is a strong whiff of schadenfreude as we watch the petard of ‘peer-review’ hoist its most vocal and aggressive defenders. Early reviews are in:

        ‘One of the best belly laugh a minute comedies you will ever see’.
        ‘You’ll hug yourself with glee’.
        ‘Watch the bad guys caught out by their own too-cleverness’.
        ‘Least supported Actor nomination – Eric Stieg’.

        Pass me a toffee apple and a choc ice to go with the popcorn please.

      • Why are you surprised? I don’t know anyone else who is.

      • Oh, oh, oh, moderation at RC!

        Well, I lie awake at night dreaming of moderation at CE……where quality is inversely proportional to quantity.

      • Well Michael, if i were doing much moderation at Climate Etc., you would rank in the top 5 of posters here who would find many of their comments deleted, since they mainly consist of insults and gotcha attempts, with little substantive addition to the dialogue.

      • I apologise; comments above doing nothing but whining about the moderation policy at another blog are clearly far suprerior in quality to mine making fun of such.

        I further apologise for not marching in lock-step with the prevailing group-think.

      • So you’d rather march in lock-step with the prevailing group-think over at RC then?

      • No, I want to join the happy back-slappers here!!

        Me: RC moderation!

        Everyone else: Yeah, right on! / Hmm that’s a good point.

        It’s all so nice and cosy!

      • So do you have anything of substance to contribute to the real subject of this thread then, instead of your cheap shots?

      • When did substance become a requirement here??

        I offer you the Iron Sun Theory in my defence.

      • Insults with rude words in a comment without substance get deleted. Whatever the merits of the Iron Sun Theory (and there probably aren’t any), the topic is science, and the tone is polite.

      • Probably!?

        Sadly, there does come a time when theories, no matter how beloved, are dead and buried.

      • With the big difference of course being that I allow criticisms of myself and Climate Etc. to appear here, whereas RC does not allow such criticisms, at least not without heavy handed words (their comment on Jeff Id’s comment at RC was outrageous in my opinion). These are not equivalent situations. This is the sense of the discussion on the moderation topic; its not about which blog’s comments you personally prefer.

      • But I could have sworn that I saw some criticisms of Climate Etc and you that were written by ianash that no longer appear – you didn’t actually moderate them away did you?

      • That comment went straight to trash, it violated blog rules. It did not criticize Climate Etc., it insulted commenters here using rude words without any substance at all to the post. Insults (such as your “simple minded” characterization of WUWT) are ok if they do not use excessively rude words and are not directed at commenters here. Insults are not useful in the discussion here; they mainly detract from the credibility of the person posting them.

      • I hope Judy removed his threat to my employment.

      • You can’t be paying careful attention then.

        Every RC thread has commenters telling whoever the author is, that there are deliberately wrong, distorting the evidence, suppressing dissent etc. Usually in accusative terms, and often assuming bad faith on the part of the author.

        And the first few generally get a detailed response with links pointing out the published material on the question. Repeats get shown the trash can.

        The general rule, unwritten from what I can see, is that questions are answered in the spirit they are asked.

        And they have been doing it for years! The novelty of commenters who ignore information, and persist in error soon wears off.

        Perhaps in another 12 months time you’ll still have Olivier K. Manual posting the same diatribe on every post no matter what the subject – but what’s the point?

        The problem is that RC’s clearly stated goal of trying to keep to tightly focussed discussions that are informative, is spun here as some kind of conspiracy. It wears thin pretty quickly.

        My very light-hearted jab at moderation policy here immediately drew your ire. Interesting, no?

      • From the comments at RC:

        “Did someone send an invitation to the loons? Looks like the bore hole will be opening up

        [Response: No, they invited themselves. as usual.–Jim]

        Comment by Chris Colose — 7 Feb 2011 @ 7:40 PM”

        Nice tightly focused discussion they’re having over there. So informative, too.

      • And kch chimes in just to make my point.

        60+ comments with many deatiled, hyperlinked, in-line responses from the author and one of the very few OT comments (and a very brief one) is paraded as evidence to the contrary.

        Groupthink wins again!

        An example – a certain Timthe ToolMan has asked a large number of questions about the paper in question, getting deatiled responses, and then the nature of the questions sparks this question – ‘hey, have you even read my paper??’ Answer – ‘no, could you email it to me?’.


        Bizarrely, eric actually goes and emails him a copy of the paper!

        Their patience astounds me.

      • The reason you don’t get the joke, Michael, is because……Oh, nevermind. You won’t find it funny anyway.

      • Michael –

        “paraded as evidence to the contrary”

        Not really. The intention was more to point out that your generalization of RC was just as wrong as your generalization of this blog.

        RC can be informative, but they do tightly focus the discussion by heavily moderating dissenting views. No problem with that (their blog, after all), but it isn’t a virtue, it isn’t open, and it isn’t really conducive to an honest debate. It is good for hammering home a particular point of view, but I’ve always thought of that as a political approach, not a scientific one.

        Dr. Curry allows a much more freewheeling discussion which can be harder to follow, but even more informative for allowing both sides to speak (as long as they remain relatively civil). I can’t really imagine that being called ‘groupthink’.

        If the goal is ‘honest scientific debate’ I know which approach is more likely to achieve it.

      • Anyway, Michael, have you anything interesting to say on the substantive subject of the main post or are you merely trying to distract attention away to something unimportant? I believe that is they call trolling.

      • That’s an interesting claim Dr. Curry as I had a post of mine ‘moderated’ yesterday on what grounds I couldn’t tell. No bad language. No links. Suffice it to say, it did point out how just how vapid your ‘those tribal climate scientists think the science is settled and I can prove it by playing on the ambiguity of that phrase’ claptrap is.

        Coincidence? Speaking of vapid, this last statement’s a demonstrable falsehood given how many critical of RC comments appear at RC on each of its threads. If you would like I’m happy to back up that claim with some evidence, btw, presuming such stuff is not verboten here?

        This blog ought to be subtitled, ‘Wherein I flatter my vanity from atop a high horse’.

        PS having my comment yesterday moderated didn’t bother me until I came across this chutzpah. People are not obligated to print what you have to say in the least, and the moaning you get from this tribe on this subject is evidence of a profoundly juvenile persecution complex.

      • Majorjam. If that same statement would have been appended to a longer post on some substantive issue of relevance to this blog, it would not have been deleted. Rude commentary about the people on this blog that is divorced from any discussion of the topic at hand is deleted. On a blog that commonly attracts over 500 comments on a thread, cluttering up the thread with gratuitous insults that are not associated with any kind of argument is not what I want this blog to be. On average, I delete about 5 posts per week. If you want to insult people, do it in the context of statement or argument with some substance. Don’t just provide your rude opinion, no one cares what it is (especially when you are anonymous).

      • “On a blog that commonly attracts over 500 comments on a thread, cluttering up the thread with gratuitous insults that are not associated with any kind of argument is not what I want this blog to be…” – JC

        Um, hate to point this out, but……

      • Dr. Curry,

        The deleted comment was neither off topic nor directed at any other blog participant. It was on topic directed at you. Whether or not it was rude (and I’m going to bite down hard on the tounge now given all that counts above board here) it was not at all gratuitous as you imply.

        In any case, as I said before I don’t claim entitlement to post here, and I didn’t lose any sleep over the deletion. Your ‘tribe’ has plenty of outlets on which to loose their profound musings. What is gratuitous is all the venom that eminates from such denzinens because RC choose not to humor it ad nauseum ad infinitum.

      • @Majorajam

        I just had a comment ( a rare comment on Climate Etc) that directed at you deleted by blogowner.

        Happy now?

      • And isn’t this whole post just a silly gotcha?

        Eric Steig reviewed O’Donnell; peer review is broken – GOTCHA!

        Which was preceded by – GS declined an invite to a meeting; says the science is settled (not) – GOTCHA!

        I’m just trying to blend in!!

      • Latimer Alder

        I think you need to apply a little more subtlety of thought and understanding before that will happen. You have missed the point.

        Perhaps you’ve had too much coaching in what others have told you goes on in this blog, and not enough reading of what actually does. No matter- you can easily rectify that.

      • Sadly, I’ve read an awful lot here…..or is that, I’ve read a lot awful here?? :)

      • Yeah, and if the subject matter wasn’t so serious, you know, the end of life on Earth as we know it, or, at least, the virtual bankrupting of the world’s economy, and all that.
        Yessiree, if it wasn’t all so serious then perhaps we could all chuckle along with you and your inane comments.

      • “inane comments”

        I’m fitting in better than I thought.

      • Perhaps I should have suggested that you concentrate on understanding what goes on, rather than just reading it.

        But like the man says, if you have nothing to contribute bar juvenile remarks, perhaps its better to remain silent.

      • Isn’t this whole series of post on ‘Reconciliation’ just another excercise in sh!t stirring?

        Continuously pointing out one side’s failings whilst completely ignoring the other isn’t conducive to bridge building.

      • Louise –
        There are two sides to this dance floor – and they both have a lot to say here. But if you examine the noise from each side, you’ll find that the insults, juvenile remrks, personal attacks, rudeness and incivility emanate largely from one side – yours.

        Be very, very happy that I’m not the moderator here.

      • Vince Whirlwind

        Really? So which “tribe” posted personal attacks aimed at Eric Steig and which have had to be removed due to their clear unlawfulness?

        Perhaps you can contrast Abraham’s approach with Monckton’s response, and prove your assertion with a concrete example?
        Or perhaps not?

      • LOL – and how does your comment NOT qualify as incivility at best?

      • “since they mainly consist of insults…” -JC

        Hey, I missed that!

        Really. Insults? Just to be clear, criticism does not equal insult.

        And “little substantive addition to dialogue” being a basis for deletion woul mean that most threads would struggle to get comments reaching into double figures.

      • The issue is relevant for the following reason.

        RC is for all practical purposes the “megaphone” of the IPCC on the web.

        Since those of us who believe in AGW have an interest in the public being persuaded we have a duty to assess the effectiveness of RC and the effectiveness of the current spokespeople at RC.

        By any quantifiable measure, traffic, awards, RC is a failure. The site with the best science ( RC), the most experts (RC) is an abysmal failure. My good friend, a TV weatherman, routinely kicks their ass. My other good friend, a retired mining exec, also kicks their ass.

        Any good PR person would tell you that its time to examine the personell and policies behind the failure.

        I’ll note these failings on policies.
        1. Failure to provide links to competing viewpoints.
        Here’s a hint. When I can’t remember the URL for a blog I go
        to WUWT because I know Anthony has a list of most everyone.
        hit for WUWT. It also gives the appearence of fair play.
        2. Failure to host alternative viewpoints. By hosting AGW proponents
        WUWT gives the appearance of fair play.
        3. Comment moderation. One of the deadly memes for AGW is the
        meme of “the debate is over”, “the science is settled”. Muzzling
        commenters just feeds these memes.

        I won’t speak to the people problem at RC.

      • One of your better posts.

        Unfortunately (from your perspective) the overall issue is that those who believe in AGW (and that actions need to be taken today to shut down power plants that emit CO2) will lose the argument based upon economics as well as science.

      • steven mosher

        I dont agree that global treaties on C02 are a viable policy.

      • Latimer Alder

        I note that a megaphone is not an instrument designed for two-way communication. I guess that having arrived at their =
        perfect understanding of Settled Science. they feel no need to discuss with the hoi-polloi. Just to pass down the (virtual) Tablets of Stone to inform us of the unchallengeable Laws of the Universe that they have formulated for us.

        Propriety does not permit me to use the phrase I would like to, but the second word is ‘them’. And the first has the same number of letters as the second.

        As ‘ambassadors’ for the IPCC I hope they continue in post for a long time to come. They do more to bring it into disrepute in a day than an army of Mcs, Keenans, Bishops and Wattses could do in a month

      • > Muzzling commenters just feeds these memes.

        Almost anything can feed a meme. That’s the point of a meme. Even using words like “muzzling” in a PR analysis can feed a meme.

        Muzzling touchdown dances.

        Touchdown dances for the sake of blog science, no doubt.

        Very bad for openness and the appearance of fair play.

        “The Appearance of Fair Play”: I like that.

        Reminds me of the WWF.

      • steven mosher

        “Almost anything can feed a meme. That’s the point of a meme. Even using words like “muzzling” in a PR analysis can feed a meme. ”

        Well this is clearly wrong. In the abstract of course anything can feed a meme, because meaning is not inherent in the sign. However, in the practical world words have predominant associations. Its easier, practically speaking, to build certain certain memes. Once you understand the metaphors we live by you’ll understand some of the basics in meme building and meme promotion. You’ll get why certain ideas go viral while others don’t. why do you think I choose the word megaphone?

        the simple fact is that the AGW side needs a better PR team. They need a better strategy. Merely analyzing what skeptics do doesnt suffice.

      • Steven,

        You’re saying this:

        > Well this is clearly wrong [Almost anything can feed a meme.].

        Then you say this:

        > In the abstract of course anything can feed a meme […]

        I swear to word, Steven, that this looks like a contradiction.

        > The simple fact is that the AGW side needs a better PR team.

        Indeed, but framing minds is still a very conservative specialty.

        Someday, perhaps. With your talent as a megaphone for the AGW crowd, who knows? Maybe some more Kawasaki.

        Promise me you’ll try.

      • Steve: “…the simple fact is that the AGW side needs a better PR team.”

        Bosh – as a former lukewarmer myself, I must disagree. AGW simply needs better evidence. I am yet to see or hear of a debate where the AGW side wins.

        Conjecture is fine if the consequences are not larded with piles of weasel words like “could be” “might be” “will be if…and if….” as they typically are. Such concatenations are fine for debaters not ready for prime time – but not if the case is hard and definite and the evidence is plain to see.

        (Which in no way is to suggest that AlGore/Hansen and their ilk are better. They would be correct IF they had good, solid evidence….in which case, why don’t the present it……[crickets chirping.])

        Ironically, is registered to an environmental lobbying firm in Washington, DC – and their staff list at their web-site makes clear that they have long been positioned to exploit it politically and economically.

        Again, Steve-it aint for lack of PR! This firm made enviro- lobbying heroic among the vastly well-funded world of environmental activism, which outfunds their opponents by some orders of magnitude.

        Again, Steve-it aint for lack of PR-just SHOW ME the evidence. (Then I can heartily join in, again.)

        How did I fall away? First, warming precedes CO2 rises in the temp reconstructions over geological time; second, failure of the Hockey Stick to support “unprecedented recent warming”; third, the failure to find the model predicted (so-called) “hot spot.”

        However, should the murkiness of climate sensitivity debates be replaced by alarming clarity – I would have to seriously rethink, and likely reverse my stance and re-join the alarums.

      • Paul Middents

        Since when are the easily manipulated blog stats a measure of web site effectiveness or quality? Any PR person relying on an assessment like Mosher’s should be fired.

      • Latimer Alder

        As absolute numbers – probably not very much. But in relative terms they can give an indication. If Blog A gets more than ten times more hits than Blog B, it is likely that the former reaches more people than the latter by a reasonable margin.

        Alternatively you cna consoder comments. If, for example, Blog B only manages 63 comments (to pluck a number at random) on a topic and Blog A gets 134 (to pluck another number), then we might conclude that Blog A influences more people – at least to the point where they are moved to write a comment – than Blog B.

        So while it would be foolish to rely exclusively on these numbers, it would be equally short-sighted to believe that they cannot tell us anything worth knowing about the relative performance of different blogs. And better of course, to see how the numbers evolve and change with time.

      • Paul Middents

        What it tells me is that people enjoy food fights a heck of a lot more than real science.

      • Yes!

        Flame war = blog science!!

      • steven mosher

        Tell me how long you stay employed if the web site you create has lousy traffic and no awards compared to rivals.

        As I noted, RC has higher quality science. That’s just my judgment.

        You are welcome to suggest other quantifiable measures of success.

        But seriously, RC has fumbled in too many ways to mention.

        Food fights, which you seem not to understand, are a key ingredient, but they cannot be the only thing on the menu.

        To understand this you would have to do some work on analytics. My sense is that you’ve never done that kind of work before. can you spell google quality score? do you know what drives it?

      • Paul Middents

        I always enjoy a little of the famous Mosher condescension when he in full pontifical flight.

        RC should really listen to the master of the sleazy put down and food fight promoter. Piltdown anyone?

        Why should I care how well an ad does on a web page? I’m not the one trying to sell the snake oil.

        How’s the best seller doing?

      • steven mosher

        A couple of points. You’ll note that you didnt address the fundamental issue. The issue is not me. The issue is the job that RC has done with the excellent assets it had.

        1. First mover position against WUWT and CA.
        2. Superior scientific talent.
        3. Prestige and backing from Fenton.
        4. The truth about climate science.

        I’d say not so well. I’d say that even you could have done better. So again, it’s not about me. Its about avoiding the issue on the table.

      • The fundamental issue being, as you say, RC has better science.

        You don’t find a 100-odd positive responses to posts claiming that it snows solid CO2 in antarctica and that all physical chemistry texts which are cited to show it’s impossible are incorrect and clearly need to be rewritten.

        You also don’t find a constant stream of posts that boil down to “climate science is a fraud”.

        RC doesn’t have as much to post about, because they’re not shit-flinging dishonest dishonorable slime unlike those who, for instance, profit off of stolen e-mails or run around yapping “Piltdown Mann!”.

        Not that I can think of who might do such things at the moment … maybe you can help me out?

      • Category error.

        Certainly, some climate-related blogs (‘climate p0rn’ is my take on them) are very intestested in traffic and hits. They follow the golden traffic rules of regular updates (posts daily at least, multilple new posts a day is ideal) and focus on the topics that have been popular in the past (ie give the audience want they want).

        Others, like RC, focus on the quality of the offerings, somewhat indifferently to traffic etc per se, in the (possibly naive) belief that the traffic drawn by the quality is the traffic they want. Consequently heavy moderation is employed which mostly prevents the kind of flame-wars that would drive up traffic. A week or more may pass without a new post, in flagrant violation of the laws of ‘being popular’.

      • steven mosher

        One issue with RC is the lack of fresh content. The notion that one always has to have ‘flame wars’ or food fights is really not the case either. Having ZERO is a huge blunder.

        Having a readership that is less well educated than WUWT and less well educated than CA is a singular disaster. That’s correct. The demographics of CA and WUWT show a higher percentage of readers with graduate school degrees than realclimate. go figure.
        27% of RC readers have no college, 46% have a college degree and 27% a graduate degree.

        For CA? 19% 35% 46%
        for WUWT 28% 41% 31%

        Now you could also say that WUWT and RC both have the same (27% 28%) number of High school only readers. But you get the basic idea. RC aint drawing the graduate school audience as well as CA or WUWT. Why? We all have some notions about this. Here’s a novel idea, try something different. or do the easy thing.

        1. define the problem away
        2. attack the people pointing out the problem

      • First you have to share the assumption that this is a “problem”.

        Whereas I see this as the mother of all problems – “Having ZERO is a huge blunder.”
        ie. doesn’t matter is you have nothing new or interesting or relevant to say, just put something up – which does explain many of the posts at some blogs which abide by the new-posts-every-day rule of traffic generation.

        And while we’re at it, I’ll correct your other seriously flawed assumption. A very illuminating one. I spoke about ‘quality’ at RC – I was referring to the content of the posts. Your rejoinder was some visitor breakdown by educational level, with the weird notion that a higher level of non-college education is a ‘disaster’. Well maybe, if you think there is some kind of blog reader educational level pissing competition going on, and that you can take some vicarious pleasure from it.

        Maybe a blog that aims to educate about climate science and that manages to appeal to the largest number of people with the least formal education is just doing a very good job at what they are trying to do.

        I’m very happy to see RC leave the cynical chase for numbers to those who are willing to post any old garbage for the sake of having something ‘new’ and tolerate the most out-of-control comments for the sake of keeping the punters coming back.

        If all that matters is the volume of the conversation and the numbers involved, let’s close down higher education and move the search for understanding to the bars and pubs – they are already doing an outstanding job according to those parameters.

      • Latimer Alder

        All of which is special pleading designed to avoid the central and crucial point.

        If nobody reads your blog, you cannot influence them. If you are specifically set up to do that – as RC undoubtedly is – (see its links with PR firm Fenton Communications) then having very few readers is a spectacular fail.

        Deliberately setting out to annoy and turn away anyone who does immediately adhere to the party line is an especially stupid (even suicidal) way to proceed.

        No amount of argument about reader quality and remarks about the (supposed) high quality of the few allowed postings will hide this central fact.

        If they don’t read it, you ain’t influencing nobody.

      • You should learn what terms mean before using them (special pleading) and try to stay in some semblance of reality (“If nobody reads your blog…. If you are specifically set up to do that… RC undoubtedly is….then having very few readers is a spectacular fail.”) if you want to engage.

      • Latimer Alder


        So nothing of substance you can disagree with in my remarks then? Just a bit of harumphing on your part about not very much at all. Fine.

      • As it’s based entirely on non sequiturs, then yes, there is nothing of substance in your typing.

      • Latimer Alder

        You mean that nobody bothers to read it? Which entirely gels with all the earlier comments here.

        Fair enough, but no need to dress it all up in fancy language. And for a blog that is explicitly designed to influence people to believe in a certain message (‘Climate Science from Climate Scientists’), having no readers seems to be a spectacularly bad thing to do.

        I have often wondered elsewhere what their strategy is. I can only conclude that they don’t have the mental resources to concoct one. Which is also a fairly major deficiency in those who presume to tell us about our fiery fate 100 years hence.

      • speaking of blog traffic, today (and the day isn’t over yet) is the all time highest number of hits at climate etc (exceeding “heretic” day). Third highest was Jan 31. Sky dragon and reconciliation have been big traffic generators. I don’t think there has been much in the way of food fights (a little re steig), i think the “sky dragons vs the physicists” cage match was a big attraction. I don’t pay much attention to hits (my more substantive technical posts get the least number of hits), but seems like sky dragon was a quantum jump in adding new readership here similarly to heretic.

      • steven mosher

        Ya, the important thing is to mix it up. if every day is a cage match then people will come to expect it. try random reinforcement or intermittent rewards if you want to generate repeat visitors ( also a part of your sites quality score ) Basically, if people love the debates then you give that to them intermittently or randomly.

      • Multiple new posts in a single day is the golden rule for blog traffic- if that’s the metric that interests you.

      • Judith,

        The experiment is going smashingly don’t you think?

        But I’m just wondering if there is already sufficient data to form a convlusion. I’d suggest that there is more than enough. It’s a bit like in medical experiements when the evidence is so overwhelming, either for better or worse, that it’s no longer ethical to continue giving a harmful drug to the experimental group, or withholding a helpful one from the control group.

        Same here – it’s pretty clear now that a no holds barred blog discussion, emplyig all the stadnard blog traffic techniques to get maximum participation, is going to achieve anything but the same old, well-worn, almost to a cliche, flame wars. Sure, it’s a bit different here, not the standard sure fire flame war topics of policitics and religion, but politics on climate science.

        I’d be interested to read the report. Will it look at the comments by categories, outputs, or will some poor grad student have to go through and code comments and extract themes for discussion?

      • Yes steve.

        From this we know that p0rn sites are some of the most ‘influential’ blogs around.

        Hits are all that matters!

        Berley, berley, berley!

      • steven mosher

        I don’t think I argued that hits are ALL that matters. In the same way that the number of publications are not all that matters in determining somebodies expert status. If you have another quantitative ( measureable) factor to look at, please suggest it.

        in general we might look at, number of repeat visitors, time spent on the site. We might look at the number of times the sites posts generated coverage in the MSM, or the number of times they were carried by drudge, or the number of congressional inquiry’s they generated, or well you name it.

        But if your goal is to drive public opinion or political opinion and action, then the first measure of merit is what is your reach?

        But since hits DONT matter in your opinion, then I suppose you’d suggest that RC should publish really arcane stuff that nobody understands or wants to read. Right?

      • Silly parodies of your sparring partner, really are quite dull-witted Steve. You can do better than this.

        They post stuff that they think relvant and important, and the readrs who are intewrested in it come.

        On the other hand, as you have acknowledged, other climate blogs have an eye very closely on the hit counter and employ strategies to keep it ticking over.

      • > They post stuff that they think relvant and important, and the readrs who are intewrested in it come.

        Like this, perhaps:

      • Surprised by RC censoring of opposing opinion? Really? Why? They have been acting like that since Day 1.

        Why should they change? The Climategate perpetrators walked unscathed from that scandal, thanks to whitewash panels and legislators offering to change laws to protect the guilty.

        If you closed the jails, would you expect less crime?

        In any system, some people will cheat the rules to their own benefit. When there is no enforcement of the rules, those that would cheat will cheat more, and some who otherwise would not have cheated will start. Science has rules. Our system of political governance (which these !@#!@$#@#! are attempting to hijack) has rules. These rules are cheated all the time, with the frequncy in inverse proportion to the level of institutional controls to catch the cheats and the level of sanctions to make it not worth their effort to try.

        Once again Judith, we do not to replace science with PNS. We need to enforce the precepts of science. Abandoning that. and sitting down at the PNS policy table, by prescription bringing the ‘values’ of fraudulent actors into the decision making process is the last thing we should do.

      • Political / philosophical rather than scientific?

      • I found RC on their second day of operation. On the third day I asked a straightforward question (no bad words, no attack, not even disagreement), the post was deleted and I was banned. The only time I’ve gone there since is when someone provides a link on some specific subject.

        Do I miss anything? Probably. But I don’t need the purely nasty attitude they exude on any kind of regular basis.

        You may be surprised, but many of us are not. Openness is not a word they understand.

        Wrt Steig/O’Donell – my wife was involved for 5 years in the peer review process at AMS. When I told her that Steig was Reviewer A on the O’Donnell paper, she couldn’t believe it. Her opinion, like mine, is that that is unconscionable – and that the peer review process is “broken”.

        This isn’t the first area of science to experience the “broken” peer review process. Nor will it be the last.

      • Out of curiosity, what was the question you asked – if you don’t mind, that is

      • Peter –
        I don’t mind – but it’s been a long while with a lot of water under the dam. I “believe” it was in relation to black carbon effects on glacier melt. At the time I was on the NASA press release email list and I was getting a constant stream of publication notices for papers that examined different aspects of warming. Not all of them supported the CO2 “consensus”.

        The glacier melt would probably have been the specific question because it was a huge alarmist talking point at the time. And I had just returned from a hiking trip to the Canadian Rockies – with photos of several soot covered glaciers. That was the “year of wildfires” in Alberta and BC and there was beaucoup soot – everywhere. So I was curious about what “real scientists” would say about it. But they didn’t want to talk to me. Or maybe they didn’t want to talk about what I wanted to tak about. Whatever.

        BTW – a year after my Canadian trip, Hansen, et al pubished a paper confirming my photos and my conclusions. IIRC they attributed either 25% or 40% of warming to soot. There have since been other papers that have confirmed the conclusions wrt Arctic ice as well.

      • I don’t bother with their website. It’s quite clear from the way they operate that it’s a broadcast operation. Any one of them can post here, at The Blackboard, Climate Audit or What’s Up With That without any problems but anyone that isn’t in lockstep with their message appears to deleted, moderated or banned. I wouldn’t tolerate that behavior from someone I agreed with.

        Behavior like that is usually indicative of insecurity about their position. The open forums at WUWT, TB, CA, CE, etc. demonstrate a confidence on the part of the hosts (to be fair, many of the correspondents are NOT as polite and welcoming which could explain a portion of RC’s reluctance to appear on “open turf”).

      • Yes. My contribution to the Freeman Dyson “expose” (just yesterday) was deleted – twice.

        I rarely bother at “”; it’s been years since I last tried, too.

        Perhaps my best jab was a mods message pointing out their self-destructiveness, when I resubmitted my comment. Helpful criticism, anybody? Clearly, their customer is “the environment,” not people.

  3. so Steig suggested as an anonymous reviewer to use a different method.
    When the paper comes out he criticises the method, and suggest the original one.. Normally, the author would never know how he had been gamed?

    Thus the title at Climate audit – Eric Steig’s Duplicity. (author Ryan)

    Someone put a summary into the comments at Bishop Hill:

    “Eric Steig et al produced a paper in 2009 which got front page on Nature and widespread media coverage, which argued that virtually the whole of Antarctica (and not just the peninsula) had and was warming.

    (the fact that Antarctica is just as freezing as it was 30 years ago was always a problem for the Team, a bit like the MWP which they did their best to erase from the record).

    The apparent warming of the frozen continent was achieved by use of poor and at best dubious statistical methods, which were quickly pointed out by Jeff Id and others at WUWT etc. Basically as just about all the weather stations are located on the peninsula and coasts, they had to extrapolate and interpolate this data, into the interior.

    But the resolution of their statistical interpolations was poor and there are still questions about the quality of the data they had from at least some of the coastal bases – i.e. errors were very likely to have been compounded.

    IIRC, Steig suggested to Ryan and Jeff that rather than argue it out on the blogs, they should publish a paper, under peer review.

    This is where it starts to get murky.

    Steig should not have been asked to be a reviewer, as he had an obvious conflict of interest.

    In most if not all scientific disciplines the lead author of the defending paper would not have been asked, (and definitely would have declined if he had been asked), but then be given the first right of reply following publication.

    But instead, he became Reviewer A, who tried all he could to thwart the paper’s progression to publication. (88 pages of comments and obfuscation, 10 times longer thgan the actual paper).

    Ryan guessed that Reviewer A was Stieg early on, but still remained patient and good natured.

    At one point in the review process, Steig (still anonomously)suggested that Ryan and Jeff should use an alternative statistical technique, which they then did.

    But then later, Steig then criticised the paper, (publically at RC) citing the example of the same statistical technique as an issue (the one he had suggested!!).

    So Steig has laid himself open to charges of unprofessional conduct, duplicity.

    And that was when Ryan decided to bring all this out in the open.

    Meanwhile Gavin and the other members of the Team at the Real Climate (RC) blog have gone into overdrive in moderating any commenter who ask any reasonable questions about all of this.

    Basically this is some evidence that peer review at least in climate science is broken.

    A number of commenters have said that the implications are as big as climategate. Hopefully this will give impetus to future inquiries into the behavior of the team on both sides of the Atlantic. ”
    I’m sure this example will make it way to the Sci/Tech comittee looking at peer review, in the House of Commons.

    • Well this incident in itself is nowhere near as big as climategate, but it is interesting in that it reflects the same kind of behavior revealed in the climategate emails but we are seeing it unfold in real time and being discussed on half dozen blogs.

      • I would agree, not as big as climategate (except amongsts scientists, perhaps) the public/politicians will just go huh?.

        I was just quoting the comment at Bishop Hill.

        Perhaps evidence after all that RealClimate is not run by PR peopple..
        Pr people would surely be better..

        Do you remember this earlier response from eric, which was picked up(air vent, climateaudit, lucia, pielke jnr) and raised a few eyebrows. No further comments of mine were allowed at RealClimate,I had asked at RealClimate why not have a blogroll link in other opinions, to Climate Audit, Peilke Jnr and Lucia’s Blackboard, as an example of goodwill

        [Response: Being listed on our blogroll does not constitute endorsement. In general, the sites we do list — whether they are run by scientists or not — tend to get the science right much of the time, and hence are consistent with our mission. Being not-listed could mean that

        a) we haven’t heard of the site,
        b) that it is uninteresting or unimportant, or
        c) that we consider it dishonest or disingenuous with respect to the science.

        Pielke Jr, Blackboard, and ClimateAudit all fall squarely into the latter category.–eric]

        Thus, that comment of mine at RC prompted Eric Steig into calling Climate Audi, Lucia and Peilke dishonest. My following 2 comments defending myself from Ray Ladbury, never appeared at RealClimate

        on the same article, eric steig made the following comment…

        eric [Response: There is, however, no evidence that ‘skeptics’ are being shut out of journals. There is indeed much evidence to the contrary. This is a canard.”

      • it certainly shows a certain trend in behaviour does it not?

        Personally any reviewer should declare a conflict of interest when reviewing a paper that critiques their work, he didn’t and that makes him exceptionally suspect in my book.

        who’s daft idea was it to get him on the review panel anyway??? they’re clearly not playing fair either.

      • Yes, and if indeed he suggested, as a reviewer, a method that he later criticized, it makes him dishonest.
        As a reviewer, and in any other context.

        Climate science may be a good subject for people trying to reform the scientific publishing business (with non-free printed pares in a day where authors more and more let their articles freely available on the net, citation index conditioning partly a career of professor who can advance by researching, or more of more quickly by managing PhD teams, or by media interest, or consulting (political or private) business. There is a growing concern that the methods ruling scientific publishing inherited from 19th century are not up to the task in the curent context. I feel Climate field is one of the best illustration of this view…

      • As even Judith has tried to point out – there is nothing very unusual about this. It’s even pretty standard.

      • Out of interest,Michael, how do you know it’s ‘pretty standard’?

      • Experience.

        Climate cience is not my field , but it’s quite common for a criticised author to be offered a chance to review the paper – but they also know that others are reviewing the paper, so if they unfairly critique it, they know that they will stand out from the other reviews.

      • What you’ve just said there is that the peer review process is dishonest. And therefore broken.

        if they unfairly critique it, they know that they will stand out from the other reviews.

        And just how will that happen when peer review is ostensibly an anonymous process?

      • You guys need to make up your minds.

        ‘Pal’ review = peer review is broken!

        Hostile review = peer review is broken!

      • Two statements, one conclusion. You got it partly right. There’s “hostile” and then there’s “hostile and self-serving”. Your second statement might be better as:

        Hostile review = peer review may be broken!

        And you needed a third statement to complete the set –

        Hostile and self-serving review = peer review is broken!

      • “Two statements, one conclusion”

        And you got that 100% right.

        The conclusion is carved in stone, only the statements need to be worked out.

      • And I did that for you , Michael. Say thank you. :-)

  4. The Pedant-General


    I am really struggling to see any instance of poor behaviour on the part of McDonnell et al, and that is really particularly notably extraordinarily remarkable in the face of the scandalous provocation of Steig, backed up by RC, the team and, to a more limited degreee, the journal editors.

    From where I stand the ball is in the team’s court. Steig needs to come clean sharpish, apologise and possibly even withdraw his Nature paper. What, exactly, does McDonnell need to offer up in order to achieve reconciliation?

    • I agree, I do not see any evidence of bad behaviour or ill will by O’Donnell et al. They challenged a paper by Steig, and correctly pointed out an analysis error. The next step should have been for Steig et al. to write a new paper using more data and better analysis methods, maybe even collaborate with O’Donnell et al. Why go on the attack like this, is beyond me; it seems almost certain to backfire on them.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘Why go on the attack like this, is beyond me; it seems almost certain to backfire on them’

        It already has. And strategically it is about a dumb as Hitler declaring war on the USA after Pearl Harbour. Or Napoleon invading Russia in the winter.

        Just when they must have thought it was safe to go back into academia as the peer/pal-review furore after Climategate had died down a bit, they choose to pour another dose of petrol on the flames. Refocussing attention on that whole debate, bringing RC into the spotlight once more. And then refusing to accept comments first from sceptics – then from anybody at all. Bad mistake….very very bad.

        A senior member of The Team got caught with his hand in the cookie jar – not about some trivial point of attribution or ‘amour propre’ – but actually gaming the pal-review system in the (once) most prestigious journal of science.

        I can only conclude that they must have decided that the game is finally over and have decided to go down with all guns blazing. Like Butch and Sundance at the end of the movie – but without the joie de vivre, humour and feelgood factor. Never characteristics that spring to the forefront of one’s thoughts about CAGW advocates…….

      • Re pal review. The journals published by the American Meteorological Society (incl J. Climate, where O’Donnell et al was published) do NOT use the pal review system whereby authors are required to recommend 5 reviewers (Nature and most other journals do use this pal review system). As a result, papers submitted to AMS journals overall are subject to a stiffer review process. So selecting Stieg to review the paper is appropriate, but the editor should have shown judgment in how this was weighted in the decision making process and how much of that lengthy review the authors actually needed to respond to.

      • Latimer Alder

        Thanks Judith.

        I stand corrected on that point.

      • steven mosher


        Steig seems to have recommended a method he believes to be flawed.

        That recommendation leads to two paths.

        1. The authors refuse to accept the flawed method and dont get published. Mission accomplished.

        2. The authors accept the method and Steig is then prepared to rebut the published paper. Mission accomplished.

        Clearly when you have an adversarial review the possibility of such a gaming of the system must be taken into account.

      • “Steig seems to have recommended a method he believes to be flawed.”

        And the perfect method is….?

      • There were three more reviewers for this paper see comment no. 68396 here:
        where a link is provided to all the reviews, put up by RyanO.

        If it is ‘normal’ to write 88 pages of review, then ok …
        Is it however normal to ask for a change in method – knowing full well that working this out will demand more time – and then,after the publication, attack the authors for using that method?

        It took ten months fro the paper to get published. I am forcefully reminded of the situation described by Steve McIntyre, in regard to a letter he and Ross McKittrick wrote to Nature, on one of Mann’s papers – which ,after long reviews and rewrites. was deemed too long to get published.

        This is the technique of using ‘peer review’ to block critical papers, of which we’ve been made aware for some time, not just through the CRU e-mails.

        So yes – I think this is an outrage, and no amount of reconciliation between scientists can sweep it under the carpet.

      • With respect Dr Curry I must disagree.

        The purpose of allowing an author to suggest reviewers to a Journal is so that the Journal may more easily find people knowledgeable in the field to critically review the paper. It is the Editors responsability to ensure that the reviews are indepth and fair. To this end reviewers should not be repeat co-authors with the author of the paper in question. This si a question of due dilligance on the part of the editor.

        In addition, it is the editors responsibility to insure that necessary people, e.g. statistical experts, are included as required.

        Selecting Stieg as a reviewer was catagorically wrong.. in my opinion… with respect. It could be argued that sellecting someone from his camp might be OK, but then someone with a history of disagreenig with Steig’s work would need to be selected, plus a neutral person.

        IMO, better to try and find experts in the field (sometimes a fresh view would be good also) that the editor believes will do a proper review. A reviewer isn’t supposed to look at all the stuff the author got right, they are supposed to try and find the errors.

        The journal utterly failed in that matter and Stieg is `dirty’. He should be brought up before any professional associations that he belongs to and academically reprimanded.

        Philip Finck
        Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources

        And yes, I have asked reasonable scientific questions regarding material on RC and was banned when I repeated my question and suggested that snide, rude, crude, sarcastic, …….. on and on comments were not necessary and that that I would wait for a proper response. The same thing occurred, e.g. Tamino, etc.

        I do not get deleted and banned on WUWT, Real Climate, etc when I pointt out errors, overly simplistic statements, or disagree.

      • The next step should have been for Steig et al. to write a new paper using more data and better analysis methods, maybe even collaborate with O’Donnell et al. Why go on the attack like this, is beyond me; it seems almost certain to backfire on them.

        No offence Dr but this has to be the most naive comment I have read from you.
        Where have you been? Sceptics had been complaining about the gaming of the system long before climategate which only confirmed this issue for us.

        But of course the gamers claimed there was nothing to get excited about re: climategate, just boys being boys in the privacy of their labs.

        The science isn’t just not settled, it’s broken, thrashed by a close knit cabal of chief IPCC denizens. They’ve had control of the science since B Santers infamous ” A discernable human influence” paper. Once the team realized they could get away with that (and they did) they knew they could get away with anything. They’ll get away with this too, just watch and see.

        The team has rode into the peaceful town of science, straddling their black stats bikes. They’ve taken over the bars Real Climate and GISS, intimidated the sheriff and are trashing the town drunken with their belief of infallibility.

        You can have as many Lisbons as you like. You can come up with as many convenient terms like Post Normal Uncertain Science as you like, but nothing will change until the team is run out of town, preferably after being tar n feathered.

  5. I am afraid this merely illustrates just what has happend to science as a result of CAGW. Instead of scientists putting all the evidence on the table, and trying to find out what the truth is, we have the equivalent of two sides arguing in a court of law; advocates not analysts. Unfortunately there is no Supreme Court of Science; there is no way of ruling who is right and who is wrong.

    Until organizations like The Royal Society and the American Physical Society, and publications like Nature and Science, become neutral on the issue of CAGW, these sorts of nasty spats will continue into the indefinite future. Or rather they will continue until the final arbiter in science, the hard measured data, resolves whether CAGW is valid or not.

  6. Good morning, Judith

    As a layman, I find this deeply depressing. Peer review is currently the only method for ensuring quality and for benchmarking the science. We have discussed this many times previously.

    The climategate emails seemed to call into the question the fairness of the process and now here we are again. If we are to believe the posts from the authors of O’ Donnell et al at WUWT and Climateaudit then there has been a serious subversion of peer review, and personal reputations and beliefs seem to have trumped objective analysis and wasted a great many man hours. I know that this has probably gone on for years in many scientific fields, but it makes it hard to believe anything that you read. The only caution I would add is that there are always two sides to the story and we have yet to hear from Steig on the matter.

    In terms of improving the process, what about being up front about who is conducting the peer review? Whilst this might encourage arguments about ‘personal politics’ it would at least be transparent and other observers could take into account any personal issues or beliefs that might apply. It would also bring out ‘pal review’ into the open. Judging by what I have read on the various blogs recently, I am not sure that the blogosphere could provide an alternative process but it would at least offer a diverse viewpoint and as a virtual jury it might keep those involved on the straight and narrow.

    • Rob –
      I REALLY want to hear the excuses from Steig and the Team. Self-immolation is rarely a pretty sight, but it can still be really entertaining.

      There are times when this attitude is apropriate –

      One must, it is true, forgive one’s enemies,
      but not before they are hanged.

      —— Heinrich Heine

  7. Smearing the data
    Temporally, spatially,
    All over the wall.

  8. Judith:

    “Your thoughts on how to prevent/mediate (or whatever) such disputes?”

    When two scientists disagree instead of exchanging continuous papers refuting each other, why not get the antagonists to write a joint paper explaining where the scientific differences lie. This would highlight uncertainties better and focus the effort of future work. Nothing like a bit of face to face teamwork to avoid the unpleasantries, eh?

    • THIS i LIKE.

      had to do something similar once- two opposing proposals for a project, each pointing out percieved deficiencies in each others work, each ‘forced’ to work together for a joint submission.

      Was hard as hell, but my word we put forward a good proposal.

    • Rob –
      McIntyre tried this with Annan. It takes two to tango – and the Team is apparently not willing to dance.

  9. Judy:
    I think it would be very useful if there was a knowledgeable, experienced and more neutral description and assessment of the reviews of Ryan et al’s paper.
    If Ryan’s claims are as valid as they appear to be then we are looking at some very serious problems in the peer review process which ultimately can only undermine the IPCC process further.

  10. Judith, the link to tAV in your bulleted list points to

  11. Judith, the recent dust-up over the issues has been noted at Dot Earth. Maybe more will follow?

  12. One of Michael Crichton’s suggestions was for journals to publish all review comments along with the papers.

  13. I agree with Judith –
    It is not unusual for the editor of the journal to use the author (E) of the critiqued paper as a reviewer. But if he does so, he must keep in mind the potential bias of E and try to use his objective judgement. This seems to have worked here because the paper was eventually published, but I think the editor should have stepped in sooner to halt the length of criticisms supplied by E in his attempts to stop the paper.

    It is also pretty clear that the very lengthy responses were not from E alone but also involved other members of the ‘team’. (Note the irony of E complaining at RC that he is too busy because of his day job to join the discussion at CA).

    Regarding the blogosphere, I think it is useful to see this discussed openly and all the reports posted, so that the devious tactics employed by E (pretending not to have seen the paper, criticising things in the paper that were put there at his suggestion, etc) can be exposed. It looks like RC has stopped the comments at number 63, ending appropriately with one of their hangers-on describing those he disagrees with as ‘loons’.

    Should we call this ‘Eric-gate’ or ‘Steigate’?

    • Paul M, you say: “It is also pretty clear that the very lengthy responses were not from E alone but also involved other members of the ‘team’.”

      On his blog, Jeff ID says,

      The review process unfortunately took longer than expected, primarily due to one reviewer in particular. The total number of pages dedicated by just that reviewer alone and our subsequent responses – was 88 single-spaced pages, or more than 10 times the length of the paper.

      I am quite satisfied that the review process was fair and equitable, although I do believe excessive deference was paid to this one particular reviewer at the beginning of the process. While the other two reviews were positive (and contained many good suggestions for improvement of the manuscript), the other review was quite negative.

  14. Having anonymous reviewers is what caused this problem.

    Solution – get rid of anonymous reviews of peer-reviewed articles.

    Publish all reviews, with the authors names.

    While this would cut down on the number of reviewers, it would surely increase the quality of the review.

    • Again, an excellent idea.

    • Rick –
      The problem is that you CAN’T cut down the number of reviewers if you’re to publish anything. The pool of qualified reviewers is already too small to handle the load. Not that there are not qualified people to do reviews, but there is is little or no compensation for being a reviewer. Doing a review, especially on a complex paper can take many hours and frequently requires specialized knowledge. So many scientists, especially those who are qualified (experienced and competent) won’t do them because it takes time from their own research – or even family time.

      It’s a good suggestion – just has some minor problems.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      RickA, I have suggested this many times. I disagree entirely that it will cut down on the number of reviewers — if you publish the reviews and the reviewers’ names, they are getting their ideas published in a scientific publication. How will that discourage anyone but the Steigs that are trying to game the system?


      • Willis:

        You may be correct. I was just guessing on what the effect would be of publishing the reviews.

        My thought was that if you knew it would going to be published, you would want to do your best work. My impression is some reviews are currently slap dash, with no research, reading more for grammer and flow. So, a published review may represent substantially more work, on average, which could cut down on the number of people willing to do the job of reviewer.

        Pure speculation on my part.

  15. has anybody heard any comments from the co-authors of the original paper:

    This one presumably:

    Eric J. Steig1, David P. Schneider2, Scott D. Rutherford3, Michael E. Mann4, Josefino C. Comiso5 & Drew T. Shindell6

  16. The lesson is that Gavin and the RC gang are incapable of actually defending their positions in an open forum.
    The conclusion regarding their science and claims is pretty straightforward.

    • steven mosher

      To be fair its not that they are incapable.

      They defend on their own turf where they control the ROE. They have nothing to gain (converts) by defending on foreign soil.

      • Latimer Alder

        OK – your view is that they are not incapable of engaging in open forum and defending their position.

        Would you agree however that (whatever their innate ability) they have not regularly shown these talents to the wider audience?

        Like the toddler whose Mum knows he is really a genius but just hasn’t shown it yet.

      • Yeah, you tell ’em.

        High five!!

  17. The Nature Cover at the time:

    Antartica Warming

    “A new reconstruction of Antarctic surface temperature trends for 1957–2006, reported this week by Steig et al., suggests that overall the continent is warming by about 0.1 °C per decade. The cover illustrates the geographic extent of warming, with the ‘hotspot’ peninsula and West Antarctica shown red against the white ice-covered ocean. [Cover image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Washington/USGS]”

  18. I have studied this matter carefully and have a few, as usual, simple minded questions.

    Which blog(s) should I post my questions on?

    Any and all comments welcomed.


    • LOL, Orkney girl. It depends what answers you want!!!

    • Latimer Alder

      If you are not a published ‘climate scientist’ approved by the Team and (preferably) with a PhD in Radiative Physics, you are not entitled to have any questions. Whoever put such a ridiculous idea into your head?

      And even if they do qualify, they will only be answered if they are questions with pre-approved answers. Otherwise don’t waste our time. We are busy reviewing papers, not doing original thought. There is no need for that as the Science is Settled and we know all the relevant answers.

      Does this help to explain your options?

    • Orkneygal–
      If you have substantive questions about the methods used, I would advice you post at The Air Vent or Climate Audit. Those are the blogs Ryan O’Donnell himself posted technical material. He’s most likely to see it there, and may answer.

      If you want to discuss other matters, posting at the blog whose top-level post best matches your question will do. Of course, blogs being what they are, you will get answers from people active at that particular blog.

    • Orkneygal – if all you’ve got is “simple minded questions”, I’d stick with WUWT where you’ll be sure to get simple minded answers.

      • Louise,

        You’ve got the meanest streak of us all. My compliments

      • Funny, not seen you around there much ;-)

      • To be fair on WUWT, it doesn’t have threaded comments so it’s difficult to get a discussion going on any subject. However, it’s a great resource full of diverse opinion, so I wouldn’t be quite so sarcastic about it as it probably reflects what “ordinary” people are thinking more than many other blogs.

      • The answers there might be “simple minded” but they’ll at least be honest – and open.

      • Louise;

        Girl or guy, I’m sure your mother would be very proud of you. I know that if I was that rude (privately or in public) I would have had the old bar of soap treatment. Worse, I would have had to see the look of humiliation (can’t spell embaressment) on her face. I won’t discuss what would have happened when dad found out.

        Its a good litmus test for all people on these blogs. I’m 50, my parents are both dead, but `what would they have (said, done, thought) is still my ruler.

    • orkneygal,

      Would you mind advising which blog you finally decide on to pose your questions? I’d very much like to read them and the associated discussion–nothing you’ve posted on this blog has ever been simple-minded. On the contrary. Thanks

    • ClimateAudit is probably best as O’Donnell is posting replies there.

    • Ryan O’Donnell has now posted temperature maps that answered my questions.

  19. Judy,

    Everyone wants to focus on the personal lack of integrity of some of the hockey team that has been exposed. It is certainly an important matter because science without integrity isn’t science at all. Credibility impugned for lack of integrity infects quite a bit of science.

    But there is another element of this little saga that is also very important — the failure to understand (or refusal to acknowledge) by Eric Steig and his RC friends to address what the O’Donnell paper was really about. They simply pointed out how Steig, Mann et al screwed up their stats. The purpose of the paper was not to offer an opinion about temperature trends in the Antarctic. It was to point out that: 1) if someone wanted to use the methodology Steig and friends used, then 2) at least do it the right way.

    Perhaps the RC crowd lacks the competence to understand that. Or perhaps, they do and they prefer to knowingly and dishonestly mischaracterize the paper. Either way, it calls into question the credibility of those who post on RC. And this is quite separate and apart from the personal integrity issues of Steig’s that have been highlighted.

  20. @kim

    IMHO, your best effort so far.

  21. “They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing”

    “It was worse than a crime; it was a mistake”

    Seems Talleyrand was channeling Nostradamus and didn’t even know it.

  22. With regard to how this could be done better …

    There are plenty of very successful companies that undertake useful and successful basic and fundamental research. For example:
    How do they evaluate the output of their scientists and engineers?

  23. The behaviour of Steig and RC in this case is perfectly attuned to the tenets of ‘post normal science’ as enthusiastically described by Dr Jeroen van der Sluijs (see his video lecture on post normal science at his webpage, One crucial principle is that “truth is not the issue”.

    • “truth is not the issue”



      Ryan O’Donnell made a series of serious of allegations against me at ClimateAudit, in the context of our friendly dispute about whether his new paper in the Journal of Climate supports or ‘refutes’ my own results, published in Nature.

      To his credit, Ryan has offered to retract these allegations, now that he is a little better acquainted with the facts. However, it is still important, I think, to set the record straight from my point of view. There were such a great number of claims about my “dishonesty,” “duplicity” and [implied] stupidity, all of which are untrue, that it really isn’t worth trying to respond in any detail. Just responding to the main two ought to suffice to make the point.
      “Eric recommends that we replace our TTLS results with the ridge regression ones (which required a major rewrite of both the paper and the SI) and then agrees with us that the iRidge results are likely to be better . . . and promptly attempts to turn his own recommendation against us.”

      “[in his RealClimate post]…he tries to … misrepresent the Mann article to support his claim [about the iridge routine] when he already knew otherwise. How do I know he knew otherwise? Because I told him so in the review response.”

      While it is quite possible that O’Donnell believes both of these claims, they are both false, as it is rather easy to demonstrate.

      First, I never suggested to the authors that they use ‘iridge’. This was an innovation of O’Donnell and his co-authors, and I merely stated that it ‘seems’ reasonable. As O’Donnell’s co-authors are fond of pointing out, I am not a statistician, and I did not try to argue with them on this point. I did, however, note that previously published work had shown this method to be problematic:

      “The use of the ‘iridge’ procedure makes sense to me, and I suspect it really does give the best results. But O’Donnell et al. do not address the issue with this procedure raised by Mann et al., 2008, which Steig et al. cite as being the reason for using ttls in the regem algorithm. The reason given in Mann et al., is not computational efficiency — as O’Donnell et al state — but rather a bias that results when extrapolating (‘reconstruction’) rather than infilling is done.

      Second, I was the reviewer of the first three drafts of O’Donnell et al submission. However, I did not the review draft four, which was the published one, and which is markedly different from draft 3. Nor was I ever shown their response to my comments on draft 3, so I did not in fact ‘already know’ what O’Donnell claims I did. It appears that the editor was swayed by the arguments that I was not a helpful reviewer. In other words, even if one believes that I was “bullying” them into showing particular results, they still had the last word (as any author should).

  24. Steve McIntyre

    I talked to a friend of mine who is a philosophy professor about reviewing under conflict and he said that it was strictly prohibited in philosophy journals and that the reviewer would be obliged to return the manuscript. Something like the Steig situation would not be tolerated.

    In business, undisclosed conflicts of interest by professionals are a very serious matter. If a professional has no alternative other than to act despite a conflict of interest, the conflict has to be clearly disclosed to all parties and informed consent obtained.

    The acquiescence of climate science journals in reviewer conflicts of interest that are unreported to the submitting author is something that seems very hard to justify.

    It is my opinion that Journal of Climate should have been able to locate competent reviewers without involving the Steig coauthors. While an author being criticized should have the right of reply, the reply should be in his own name and submitted to external reviewers along with the comment.

    In particular, Journal of Climate should not have presented Steig as an anonymous reviewer. Had we known for sure that Steig was Reviewer A, our responses to Reviewer A would have been totally different and the article would have been different. As anonymous Reviewer A (Steig’s identity was not confirmed until after acceptance), Steig was able to affect the contents of the article, including the loss of important sections on, for example, Chladni patterns. As anonymous Reviewer A, Steig’s opinion was counted by the editor in requiring a “major revision” i.e. one that had to be re-submitted to reviewers thereby extending the process for months.

    • Been catching up on Climate Etc’s busiest week, having been in and out of hospital with a friend who had a nasty road accident six days ago. Thanks then for this contribution, Steve, which has shed easily the most light for me on the ‘peer review gaming’ of O’Donnell et al. Judith stated earlier that she saw this as JoC just going along with their policy of non-pal review. But you convince me that, at the very least, you as authors should have known Reviewer A was Steig.

      The broader point is that any system of rules can be gamed by those without integrity who have gained access to the levers of power in a particular area. Thanks as ever for sticking in there and exposing even more of the boring details.

      • Those ‘boring details’ clearly don’t extend to the truth. from

        “McIntyre, O’Donnell and Condon.

        Please show us all your emails pertaining to the paper that were written and received between when it was first accepted for review and when the final version was accepted for review. You had no problem making the reviewers’ comments public, now you please make all your private commentary public. You know, to be open and transparent and to affirm your Honor.

        The authors of the O’Donnell paper also owe Steig and the Journal of Climate and Nielsen-Gammon a public apology.

        You guys have just shot yourselves in the foot , big time, and are now considered (for the umpteenth time) to be damaged goods. Good luck finding a reputable journal to publish in Ryan O, or someone to review your paper– you clearly cannot be trusted. “

      • I don’t offer an opinion on the issues you raise – on what and how much should be published. Just as you don’t offer one on the point I drew out from Steve: that O’Donnell et al should have been told by JoC that Reviewer A was Steig. This is a really central issue. I’d be interested to know your opinion on that point.

        I’d add that coming back to a busy six days of Climate Etc I have been particularly struck by how much time was spent wading through comments by ‘louise’ and someone called ‘michael’ that added little or, failing that, nothing, to what I was trying to find out about. Lower case to denote my evaluation of what you’re trying to do to an absolutely sterling effort by the host here – and her many able contributors.

  25. I don’t see a problem with having hostile reviewers. This is of course assuming the reviewers are ethical and hold the advancement of science above their own egos. A hostile reviewer would theoretically make the paper better. A hostile reviewer that sets out to make the paper worse in order to later be able to denounce the paper as an inferior effort has some explaining to do. I hope to see a proper and in depth response from Steig on this issue soon.

    • Agreed. Hostile reviewer are quite common, and they usually do a good job. The worst I have observed was to use the knowledge gathered during the reviewing to advance their own publication without explicit acknowledging.
      This is maybe to very elegant, but it is not damaging to science, only a little it to scientists carreers.
      Here, it is worst. I guess usually shame of possible exposure, and the result on scientific reputation, is a sufficient factor to avoid this kind of behavior. So the appropriate reaction will be to relate the incident as broadly as possible…

    • Hostile reviewers are fine and in my book necessary- look at the audits the biotech industry has to survive for examples of that- the issue is the CONFLICT of interest, not the ‘hostility’.

      It actually looks like he tried to stitch them up to protect his own paper. Thats indefensible. or spellable.

      • This isn’t or shouldn’t be a conflict of interest issue and is not comparable to having scientists from drug company A reviewing drugs from company B which could cause financial harm to comany A. The only interest here is acurate science and this should be the same interest for everyone involved. I’m not sure how you could get reviewers for many fields if you limit your reviewers to only those that have not published competing papers or if you could that the reviews would be the best available.

      • It would be fine if the only interest was accurate science. Unfortunately that seems not to be the case.

      • It appears that way up to this point.

      • it is a flagrant conflict of interest to be reviewing a paper that directly contradicts (or points out errors) in your own.

        there’s no other way to say it- and (to use my perennial example) the bitoech industry has checks in-built to prevent these conflicts as it’s been identified as a HUGE issue. Why should academia get away with such sloppy procedure>?

      • It sounds more like a conflict of egos then a conflict of interests to me but I don’t deal with the review process other then as a casual observer so I’ll cede the issue :).

      • to be fair- it’s probably a mixture of the two mate!

      • I think that you would be asking a lot of human nature to assume that any reviewer, however objective he or she may try to be, will remain completely unbiased when assessing a paper which basically calls into question their most recent – and most widely known work. The one that got to the front page of Nature and glowing reviews in the NYT. It would take the patience of a saint, and afaik nobody has been beatified for hockey sticks or climate sensitivity yet.

        Any review mechanism that didn’t recognise at least the strong likelihood that such a conflict of interest would arise has been poorly designed and is not really ‘fit for purpose’.

        The last two years have exposed juts how many failings there are in the peer/pal review process in climatology. I’m surprised that the ‘leaders’ of the field aren’t putting their efforts to getting it fixed rather than trying to use its failings to their advantage – and scoring such glorious own goals. It just reinforces my impression that they are shallow in both character and integrity. Weak men.

      • “I think that you would be asking a lot of human nature to assume that any reviewer, however objective he or she may try to be, will remain completely unbiased when assessing a paper which basically calls into question their most recent – and most widely known work”

        Agreed latmiar, hence the need for stringent controls (ala biotech) to prevent this.

      • Indeed. The world outside of academe has learnt (sometimes the hard way) about conflicts of interest and developed structural and procedural ways to avoid/reduce them. They are not rocket science.

        Why then are academics so resistant to suggestions that they adopt the standards that all the rest of us live and work with – whatever profession we pursue? Such a course seems very obvious to me.

      • Latimer, I would expect someone in that situation to be extremely critical of a paper that disputed theirs. I don’t see that as a bad thing since it would make the paper much stronger if the critique is legitimate. The problem as I see it is an ethical one as opposed to a scientific one. But I have ceded the conflict of interest point already and I agree that I probably did not take into account human nature to the proper extent.

      • steven –
        I’d suggest you read Steve McItyre’s comment above –

        In this case – and I suspect in many others – the critique is self-serving and makes the final paper weaker rather than stronger. Thus the science loses – as do the authors.

        Yes, it’s an ethical problem. But you seem to have assumed that everyone’s operating ethically and that has proved to be a mistaken assumption wrt climate science and a few other scientific fields.

      • Jim, I made no such assumption. If I had then I would not have said it is an ethical problem. And to clarify I should have specified an alledged ethical problem since I like to wait for both sides of an argument before making decisions. A precise response to the allegations should be made.

      • steven –
        I’ll be greatly interested to see the response. I’ll be greatly surprised if it’s either precise or satisfctory.

        As for your assumption – I wouldn’t presume to tell you what it is/was, but I did tell you what it looked like from my POV.

      • If the allegation is true that Steig recommended a specific technique (as anonymous reviewer A) and then criticized its use under his own name, do you see that as consistent with “The only interest here is acurate science”?

      • The only interest is accurate science, yes. If the allegations are true then Steig did not have the interest in mind.

      • Has this been confirmed? The conflict of interest can also be seen as “hostile reviewers are more attentive reviewers, and thus better reviewer” so it does not bother me.
        The extensive exchanges going too long and too much into details are more disturbing, because they should have been stoped much earlier by the editor. It is his role to make the reviewing as efficient as possible, it is the only justification for paid scientific journals in internet days. This case is already a strong case for the dissapearing of paid journals, and also it show with high probability that there really is “a Team” in climate science. But again, it can be argued that what make a good review is at the discretion of the editor, so even if many will not like how it was dealed with, no formal fault.

        Proposing a change as anonymous reviewer, and then attacking the article for implemeting this change is unacceptable, and if it is confirmed behavior, indeed, can not remain without consequences for Steig career…

        It is easily verified: the allegation is on RC, and both the editor and O’Donnell have the review comments in full.

        At the moment, Steig infirm the accusation, and neither the journal nor O’Donnell have spoken afaik. I would advice to accept Steig version so no big deal….except if O’Donnell say otherwise.

      • As far as I know there is no Steig version. A clear denial of being reviewer A or an explanation of how he views the course of events would be an appropriate action on his part at this point in time.

      • Oh perfect. At least two people have asked him directly if he is ‘Reviewer A’. Of course they asked on the (heavily moderated) Realclimate blog….so I would bet $10 he will not directly answer (and, the questions will never be published on the blog).

      • Kai –
        At the moment, Steig infirm the accusation, and neither the journal nor O’Donnell have spoken afaik. I would advice to accept Steig version so no big deal….except if O’Donnell say otherwise.

        You’ve confused me because O’Donnell has spoken at length. O’Donnell has put 2 detailed posts on Climate Audit and has posted all of the versions of the paper, the reviews, and the responses at:

        He stated in the first CA post that:
        I have known that Eric was, indeed, Reviewer A since early December. I knew this because I asked him. When I asked, I promised that I would keep the information in confidence, as I was merely curious if my guess that I had originally posted on tAV had been correct.

        Throughout all of the questioning on Climate Audit, tAV, and Andy Revkin’s blog, I kept my mouth shut. When Dr. Thomas Crowley became interested in this, I kept my mouth shut. When Eric asked for a copy of our paper (which, of course, he already had) I kept my mouth shut. I had every intention of keeping my promise . . . and were it not for Eric’s latest post on RC, I would have continued to keep my mouth shut.

        However, when someone makes a suggestion during review that we take and then later attempts to use that very same suggestion to disparage our paper, my obligation to keep my mouth shut ends.

        The questions that have not been answered are – will Steig admit to being Reviewer A?
        And – what will his response be?

      • You are confusing hostile with critical.

        You may have a reviewer who disagrees with your research, but that is very different from being hostile. That reviewer should be critical.

        In all of this is anyone suggesting that there should be `supportive reviewers’. No… all reviewers, even ones in the cubicle beside you are supposed to be critical.

        It isn’t at all uncommon to pass back a report/paper to a associate and laugh about the sea of red ink.

    • In engineering, we expect hostile reviews.
      But, then again, it’s our job to design products that actually work, and don’t kill people.

  26. Note Broccoli’s editorial; he still believes the science is settled.

  27. I was concerned this may degenerate into a he said/he said thing. But Eric Steig has not denied being Reviewer A. Indeed, it may be difficult for him to deny if he is afraid Congress may investigate this sorry affair. Far better for him to not say anything more.

  28. It is very interesting to note that Michael is drawing so much attention to RC modertaion, when clearly, the issue at hand is something altogether different and much bigger.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to call this Climategate Part II because it is the same type of activities, exposed live, as they happened.

    • IMHO Michael is an expert at drawing attention to … Michael.

      I have vowed to resist the temptation to fall again into his trap. Help me be strong folks!

    • Agreed!

      Comments by regulars here continually referring to RC moderation means that Michael is trying to make the issue RC moderation.

      High Five!!

  29. You’ll not Judith that in my statement prior to Lisbon, I thought it best to ficus on things that could be done to prevent the conflict from worsening.

    It’s too early for reconciliation. Discussion of the science can’t really happen yet and discussion of policy can’t happen. The well is so poisened that all I can think of are process changes to prevent things from getting worse.

    reforming journals is top of the list.

    • I’d put some changes to the requirements public funders put on their grants/research contracts up there too. This is potentially more outside the control of a select group and more susceptible to immediate influence.

      • steven mosher

        I’m think that something like the health effects institute is required.

        the climate effects institute

    • Mosh: “Discussion of policy can’t happen”

      Why not? Policy is always made on the basis of knowledge that it has uncertainties attached to it and about which people’s opinions differ. If that would be anargument to not discuss policy, then all governments could just pack their bags I guess.

      • steven mosher

        Basically I mean this. ( at the extreme ends of the spectrum)

        Those who want to discuss the policy dont want to discuss the science.
        Those who want to discuss the science dont want to discuss the policy.

        So, first step might be taking steps to reduce the probability of future conflict. This “debate” won’t be over for a long while. Precautionary principle.

        Next step might be actually creating a space discussions about common ground. Those who want to talk about both science and policy. Currently they appear to be a minority.

        Finding common ground is not sexy. It wont be a high traffic thing.
        People like a fight.

        The skeptics have picked a good enemy.

        willard won’t get this.

      • > Willard won’t get this.

        Thank you, Steven, for making me the fall guy of your didacticism.

        I promise you that I won’t respond to it for a few days.

        You have my Word.

        Whatever you say won’t make me break my promise.

        Not even if some Derridean daimon tries to sell me that I should sacrifice my Honor for the sake of the future of humanity.

        Meanwhile, let us both hope that your brand will carry more than ruggedness.

      • steven mosher

        Since you post anonomously, you really have no word to keep.
        You can have no personal honor.

      • Hello Steven Mosher,

        I hope your **sandbag** branding is selling well.

        Taking a break for a few days were great. Honoring my word did me good. It also provides some perspective before responding to this mud you’ve been throwing at me.

        Take this nice argument of yours, Moshpit:

        > Since you post anonomously, you really have no word to keep. You can have no personal honor.

        This is wrong in many ways. Your own “intuition pump” should be enough to make you realize it all by yourself. But life is short, so let’s cut to the chase:

        My name hereunder is and will always be willard. This is not my real name, but it is the only name I use. This provides me an identity, this name and my own peculiar way of writing.

        What about you: is it the only identity you own in climate blogland? I know another commenter who likes to finish its comments with “next”. We both know that.

        My name is my honor. If I do not keep my word, I lose my honor, and my name, which is part of my identity, however virtual you’re trying to portray it.

        We can see that another way: try to tell Anonymous that they have no personal honor.


        I see you’re in a better mood these days. If you don’t mind, I’ll await how the Solomon story comes up to judge if it’s a constructive you we have there.

        So let’s see how it goes,

        Goodbye, Moshpit.

  30. steven mosher

    In case willard is following memes for the Steig affair.

    I’ll try the meme of Sandbagging(TM) and see if that sticks.

    By recommending faulty methods as a reviewer, Steig was consciously sandbagging Ryan.

    • #goodluckwiththat!

      We should also try Honor, a subvariant of INTEGRITY(tm).

      • steven mosher

        I found the skeptics refusing to admit they were wrong quite frustrating

        What’s you take on this

        Steig, right or wrong. Do you understand Chladni patterns?

      • > What’s you take on this

        I noticed that comment by Philip Bratby:

        > Ridiculing Eric Steig and RC is the best tactic I’m sure.


        > Steig, right or wrong.

        I’ll let Steig defend himself. For now, it looks bad.


        > Do you understand Chladni patterns?

        They sound beautiful.


        I think I saw this kind of questions before.

        Yes, the “greenline” tests!

        Must I pass these tests every week?

        I already answered them, Steven.

        I already gave you my word.


        I thought my word of honor was enough, Steven.

        How can you think that I would break my word, Steven?

        Do you think that anything you could do would justify me from breaking my word of honor, Steven?

      • Used to use the Chladni patterns on guitar tops. They’re fun. You can get them to look like a Frederick’s of Hollywood garter: luthier softcore on lonely days at the shop.

        Of no use whatsoever in building great guitars.

      • steven mosher

        Do I think there is anything I could do to justify you breaking your word of honor? Yes. of course. If I sandbagged you I’d fully expect you to do the honorable thing and protect future generations from relying on any statements I made. So, yes, I’d expect you to do the honorable thing and sacrifice your personal honor for the sake of the planet. next.

      • > So, yes, I’d expect you to do the honorable thing and sacrifice your personal honor for the sake of the planet.

        This will take some Kawasaki to divert the readers from the simple fact that this a tale of honor is about protecting future generations and the sake of the planet.

        Honor relates to persons, Steven. There is no other thing than personal honor.

        Sometimes, it even comes with a badge:

      • steven mosher

        You asked a question. Could I do something which would justify your breaking your word of Honor? Most definately yes. That wouldnt make me honorable. All it would mean is that you valued something more highly than your honor.

        So, for example, if you swore to keep my confession to you secret say about an undiscovered murder, and then I murdered your wife and kids, I suspect that you wouldnt feel bound by your word of honor. I suspect that some people might consider what you did was dishonorable but justified. Some would say it was dishonorable and unjustified, some might say.. well you get the point. Our moral intuitions on issues like this differ. In fact a friend of mine face a similar situation a couple months ago.

        A. Can I confide in you?
        B. Sure, you have my word
        A. I slept with a mentally ill patient of yours.

        DOH! Needless to say, B had quite the dilemma on her hands. She had a personal honor issue and a moral obligation and potential legal obligations. My advice to her was that her honor and her word were not as important as her moral obligation to the schizophrenic. Basically, that honorable people would still consider her honorable and dishonorable people would not dump their sins on her.

        I take it that you have not had much experience with real ethical dilemmas involving institutions and individuals


      • Thank God Moshpit is there to remind us that there exist moral dilemmas.

        It is a pity that the example Moshpit constructs is irrelevant to model the promise O’Donnell made to Steig. It was a touching example.

        The case we have at hand is more casual than that. Everyone should agree that some action was suboptimal. We should even agree that it went against best ethical practices. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

        Perhaps we should build a green-line test using that case.

      • steven mosher

        Honor doesnt work because its not visual. Thats why I wouldnt use integrity either. Both are bad.

        Piltdown Mann worked because I had a visual for it.
        Hockey Stick works because there is a visual for it.

        When you create a brand there are some keys things to remember.

        1. its best if the tagline is visual or ties to a icon.
        ( like prudential, a piece of the rock)
        2. If you don’t have $$ to invest in building all the connotations
        and associations do not use neologisms. Instead take concepts
        from everyday life and “reframe” them or “recenter” them.
        3. Pick a good spokesperson. A virtual spokesperson ( like Mr. Clean)
        works best. real spokespeople, like OJ, Anita Bryant, Micheal Mann, can KILL a brand.
        4. A jingle or signature sound is a nice touch.

        Sometimes its tough to do the visual (lukewarmer) but if you can you should pick words that can easily be transmitted via icon. Sometimes ( like with Cravens stuff) the whole package arrives like a surprise at Christmas. Trenberths Travesty was nice but no clear visual. hard to visualizing missing heat.

        That’s my experience. We will see how it goes, but this one may have legs. If not with Sandbagging, then its just another example of climategatekeeping.

        All the good brands are skeptic brands. ever wonder why that is? Ever study Guy Kawasaki?

      • > Ever study Guy Kawasaki?

        Yes. I liked it when he said that one of the best way to make money is to sell books about how to sell money.

        I found it very constructive.

        Very visual too.

        A man is telling me that he’s making money because I’m reading him.

        You’re a good Kawasaki follower, Steven.

        You are your own product.

      • steven mosher

        Ah, I see you havent read him or you would have got it.

      • > Ah, I see you havent read him or you would have got it.

        Your Word against mine.

        Notice how you Word it: “I”, “you”. You “see”. I would “get” what you “see”.

        At the core of what you say is you against me.


        Speaking of Kawasaki, please tell us what you see there:

        Notice the five links at the bottom of the page. Only one link that does not relate to Guy’s persona. Enchantment.

        A paragraph of note:

        > The book explains when and why enchantment is necessary and then the pillars of enchantment: likability, trustworthiness, and a great cause.

        Antagonism and posturing. Enchantment.


        Please remind us what Kawasaki says about governments.

      • steven mosher

        Since you missed the most obvious aspect I was alluding to, I’ll say this. If you read him, you forgot something.

      • An enchanting comment.

      • steven mosher

        not self referentially true

      • Already more enchanting.

      • steven mosher

        willard, you have no word or honor to keep.
        Don’t you understand the difference between the pixel world and the meat world.

        For example, “willard” could give me “his” word and then appear as ‘bifboytoy52’ and do whatever he liked.

        personal honor requires an actual identity. At least in my world. I assume that anonymous commenters have no honor, have no identity, and cannot be taken seriously. its fun to chat with them, but they cant have moral obligations toward me and i dont have any toward them.

      • Bull, but then you never were very bright

      • I found myself agreeing entirely with Steve Mosher on honor and anonymity, so as I read the reply the irony took hold that I can never remember your real name, ER. Would Rabbit know Bull when it saw it? But Bull’s fine – I take it to mean you disagree and can’t be bothered to give reasons. The rest of the sentence reflects very badly on you. Whoever you are.

      • Moshpit’s argument has no merit.

        Nothing prevents Steven Mosher to bend her honor and use another name.

        We can’t go on together with suspicious minds. And we can’t build our dreams on suspicious minds

      • > If you don’t have $$ to invest in building all the connotations
        and associations do not use neologisms.

        Yes. The Google. Very bad idea.

      • steven mosher

        google is not exactly a neologism. The name derived from googol.
        and the idea behind the naming was the idea of something that accessed a large amount of data. I think Larry suggested “googol” When Sean went to search on the availability of the word he misspelled it — google. Homophones, not the same as a neologism.

        Again, in general, unless you have a lot of dollars to spend on building associations it’s not a wise path. Of course, there are exceptions, google doesnt exactly happen to be one of them.


      • > google is not exactly a neologism.

        Notice the word “exactly”. In that case, exact neologisms are rare. See for youself:

        > Of course, there are exceptions, google doesnt exactly happen to be one of them.

        The Word “exactly” again. Exactitude matters now.


        Can you promise me that there are only few exceptions to the rules you want to teach us?

        May I have your Word that the rules are as exact as possible?

      • steven mosher

        I’ll take it you did not know the story behind the naming of google. Thanks for playing.

        I’ll take it that you’ve never created or managed a brand. A good place to start might be Aaker.


      • I’ll take it that you don’t know exactly what is a neologism.

        Nice try.


      • steven mosher

        So you didnt know the story. nice.

      • Moshpit should know that this story is geek-common knowledge.

        Moshpit might conceal under this red herring his lack of knowledge about the creation of neologisms in natural languages.

      • For those who care, here are the five core personality dimensions of a brand: Competence, Excitement, Ruggedness, Sincerity, Sophistication.

        Let the readers judge how the Steven Mosher branding(s) scores on these dimensions.

      • steven mosher

        The point would be, since this is a discussion of how RC has screwed up a great opportunity how They score on these elements.

        I criticize RCs approach. Since you can’t defend it, your only option is to try to change the topic. Now of course people see this. They see the defenders of RC being incompetent, insincere, unsophisticated, boring weasels. That’s fine by me.

      • “since this is a discussion of how RC has screwed up a great opportunity”

        Wow – I read the whole discussion and didn’t get this – in fact I still don’t get this

      • steven mosher


        My first comment on the ‘topic’ RC screwed the pooch.
        Then of course ‘willard’ tries to channel this into a discussion of mosher.

        the problem is that IPCC=RC=GAVIN=MANN=STEIG=TRENBERTH

        In short, the science has become identified with the institutions and personalites. So, attacks on those people are seen as attacks on the science. Weird but thats how it works.

        What willard is trying to do is identify me or what I say or do with the “skeptical” position. Kindalike
        SPPI=WATTS=SINGER=MCIntyre=MOSHER with the notion that somehow the same logic applies.
        It might if we actually all defended each other to the death as the team does. But we don’t. As others have pointed out those critical of the establishment don’t need to stick together or have the same message or even be nice pleasant people. And they dont even have to be successful with criticism. They play by different rules and score different types of points.

      • You do realize Stephen that, notwithstanding the whimsical triumphalism- inadvisable in it’s own right for someone long Mosher™- you’re rather brazenly copping to your own insincerity there? This is to say nothing of the apparency of your belief in the useful idiot: ‘WUWT publish warmers’. Yipe. So much for truth willing out.
        This brings me to the reason Realclimate neither publish denialists nor subscribe to any other public relations dishonesty you advocate here and never will- they don’t share your ethical arithmetic when it comes to ends and means. They’re just dumb enough to believe that writing about the science and their own sincere beliefs and opinions is its own reward. Poor guys.
        But sod that, I’m sold. Cue gratuitous fair and honest brokerage balance: willard clearly was caught unawares of the etymology of the google. The point for Mosher means this whole thing was a draw. Just a shame that both sides had to resort to some unbecoming back and forth.
        How’d I do?

      • Louise,

        Moshpit is misrepresenting. Again.

        I am not “channeling this into a discussion of mosher”. I am merely pointing out the fact that Moshpit is branding himself quite a lot in general. And here in particular, because this is what his pissing contest is all about. I am not trying to portray him with anything else but his very honorable Self.

        In any case, let’s not forget that equation:


        Soon, there should be SOLOMON.

        Let’s see how the points scored on that next trick will count on the scales of HONOR(tm) and INTEGRITY(tm). I am not saying this to trick Moshpit. He’s doing great, lately, to the point we completely forget that he was into the “sandbagging” business a few days ago.



        The etymology of “the Google” is well-known.

        The way neologisms appear in ordinary language is less know.

        Language is a social art.

      • Bentley Strange

        Well, he scores a bit higher than Willard on all so far.

      • Yes, the independence in the group you mention is remarkable steve.

        The misconcieved pile-on over Steig, wasn’t group-think, just a coincidence.

  31. They’ve re-opened the comments at RC, and it seems that Eric is now flat-out denying any wrongdoing whatsoever:


    [Response: I haven’t bothered to go read what is evidently being written about me, but if this is an accurate description um.. you’re kidding right? I’m now being blamed for their writing a lousy paper? Really? If this weren’t so sad it would be hilarious!–eric]

    • Another illuminating episode, with skepticism showing it’s true colours.

      Steig writes a polite post, criticising O’Donnell et al, but also praising it as good work.

      All fine so far.

      O’Donnell decides he doesn’t like Steig’s critique, and, seemingly, while still hot under the collar, writes a vitriolic response accusing Steig of all kinds of bad behaviour.

      The usual suspects jump on the badwagon with posts, while commentators take their lead and ramp up the accusations, and the volume.

      I predict that O’Donnell will regret the tone of the outburst.

      Blog in haste, repent at leisure.

      • So you really know exactly what happened do you?
        And all that when you quite evidently haven’t read any of the documentation involved?

    • I don’t read this as a flat out denial to the allegations. A much more straighforward addressing of the specifics would be required to qualify as that.

      • Oh, there’s a lot more than that.
        A couple more of the more blatant examples:

        [Response: It would be entirely normal for an editor to send a paper criticizing someone’s work to that person, for their opinion. You just wouldn’t want that opinion to be the deciding factor, which is why normally you’d get several other reviewers; this is presumably the case here. Reviews, however, are usually confidential and anonymous.
        As for our ‘treatment’ of Jeff Condon, he hasn’t written anything here lately so I really don’t have any idea what he is talking about.–eric]

        Apparently he’s claiming that you recommended them to drop the TTLS method for the iridge method in your review, then criticized them for doing just that in your RC post.

        [Response: This is the most bizarre thing I’ve heard yet. Is there really anything else to say? — eric]

      • [Response: This is the most bizarre thing I’ve heard yet. Is there really anything else to say? — eric]

        Peter, this response reminds me too much of myself as a teenager answering my parents with remarks such as “I can’t believe you even asked me that”. A clear and precise answer would be something along the lines of “I did not do that or anything similar to that.” It’s a simple comment. Takes little time to type.

      • Purportedly the most crucial issue ever to face mankind, and the people at the top are teenagers???

      • Heh! How do you think we got into this mess? :-)

    • steven mosher

      ask Steig if he agrees with reviewer A. Reviewer A is the one who suggested using iridge and dropping TTLS.

      Very simple: Eric, reviewer A disagrees with your post. Was reviewer A

    • That I know of, comments at RC are basically always open.

      Unless you are suggesting waiting on moderation is the same as closed?

      • Bentley Strange

        I call bullshit on that, absolutely. There are numerous examples of the very worst type of censorship at RC. Comments simply disappear, worse, comments are actively edited by the moderators and posted without notification of the edits, and the comment is then treated by all and sundry as original when is most definitely not. RC is not a place for rational discussion because if you wish to make a simple, calm, rational point with numerous cites and justifications; if it contradicts or even just appears to contradict a point that one of the principals on that blog wishes to make, then it will not appear. Absolutely that occurs, it is an echo chamber, not a discussion place.

        Just to add to that, they have rules about language and the like, those “rules” only apply to one side of the debate, a whole range of sycophants appear to be able to post denigrating comments they wish as long as they slavishly show their devotion to the current blog talking points.

      • He was suggesting comments are turned off and on, and they are not.

        In the past they have deleted comments in total. That is not censorship. It’s their blog. Like Judith Curry does with Climate Etc., they can do what they want. The government does censorship. An individual tells you to shut up. Judith has deleted entire posts. She has moderated some content. That is a bloggers absolute right: to run their blog the way they see fit. This is her house. RC is their house.

        If you are suggesting they change the wording of a post, that would be something of which I have never heard. I believe today I saw a strike through in a post, and a word change, but I think the commenter did that for the humor effect.

        If you have great curiosity about what they consider garblage, you read it. The shut ups go into the borehole.

      • If you are suggesting they change the wording of a post, that would be something of which I have never heard.

        You mean like this

    • Stieg’s response to that comment #65, and his next response to comment #68 on the same thread are nothing more than “non-denial denials.” He does not address that actual claims made against him, but makes disparaging comments to give the appearance of having done so.

      “#68 eric: I’m now being blamed for their writing a lousy paper?

      Apparently he’s claiming that you recommended them to drop the TTLS method for the iridge method in your review, then criticized them for doing just that in your RC post.

      I smell a misunderstanding, and I would suggest actually reading hhis AirVent post and then contact him directly.

      [Response: This is the most bizarre thing I’ve heard yet. Is there really anything else to say? — eric]

      Comment by toto — 8 Feb 2011 @ 9:25 AM”

      In his Climate Audit post, O’Donnell quotes at length both the review in which Steig (assuming he was Reviewer A) criticized the original method used in the O’Donnell paper, and then Steig’s criticism at Real Climate of that same paper for using the method he urged in his review comment. Like “hide the decline,” you don;t have to be a climate scientist to get the point.

      The first response – “I’m now being blamed for their writing a lousy paper?” does not deny the accuracy of the quotations. Similarly, the subsequent comment that “This is the most bizarre thing I’ve heard yet.” also does not deny that the quotations are accurate. There are lots of ways to characterize Stieg’s comments, but “flat-out denial” is not among them.

      Unless or until Steig denies he was reviewer A, denies the accuracy of the material posted by O’Donnell, or comes up with some other explanation for the contradiction between the pre-publication review and post publication critique, his behavior will just add fuel to the anti-CAGW movement. “TTLS” may not have the cachet of the “hockey stick” and “hide the decline,” but it is as potentially serious a PR setback for the warmists; not for the importance of the papers involved, because as yet another window into the politicization of climate science that the public will understand only too well.

  32. All you ned to do is read the respective posts to figure out the above.

    Steig has a calm and polite manner, while O’Donnell got personal and nasty.

    I’m just saying that the latter was a mistake, even if O’Donnell though Steig very very wrong.

    But of course, this kind inflammatory post goes down a treat in blog-land. Just look at the hits and comment numbers.

    Flame on!!

    And now another face to add to the ‘skeptics’ wall of hate – Mann, Schmidt, Trenberth and now Steig. It’s a quinella!

    • “A calm and polite manner” means nothing. Some of the most evil people the world has known have had that particular attribute.

      I’m just saying that’s an irrelevancy.

    • Michael – You have this so wrong. Ryan bent over backwards to speak nice of Steig….look at the older posts on TAV and CA. However, a person can only take so much idiocy before he becomes aware of what is really going on. I am so glad he finally got fed up. Oh yeah, also please don’t forget Santer on your list. The are very small people and deserve what they get.

    • steven mosher

      I dunno. When Steig engages in this kind of behavior with a mere amateur and an engineer to boot and endangers our ability to get something done about climate change I have to think ‘what were you thinking eric?’
      So yes Ryan was pissed. Mad as hell. And his writing shows it and suffers from it somewhat. All that means is that in due course cooler heads may dissect exactly what Steig said as a reviewer and what he said on the RC post.

      Those cool heads may look at issues like this:

      “(2) Falsification means manipulating
      research materials, equipment, or proc-
      esses, or changing or omitting data or
      results such that the research is not
      accurately represented in the research
      record. ”

      So, for example, if “processes” is broadly defined then one could make the argument that the peer review system is an important aspect of the science making process. And if a reviewer manipulates that process to sandbag another researcher, then cooler heads may find that despite his anger Ryan has a good complaint. ( but this is a NSF standard, so probably doesnt apply to Steig, hmm somebody will check the grant records)

      Of course Nic L another author on the paper could make the same observations that Ryan did without Ryans anger. And so, the issue, of course would be the factual one. Did Steig in his capacity as a reviewer distort the scientific process by recommending and insisting on methods that he thought ( and later wrote) were inferior?

      That’s something that the university of Washington might also be asked to consider as their misconduct policies seem to have an interesting clause about interfering with another researcher. lets see.. their exact wording..
      “. Intentional and malicious interference with the scientific, scholarly, and academic activities of others.”

      So yes, high five, Ryan is a angry skeptic. I imagine that one of the other authors may calmly file a complaint. Thanks for the tip about not being angry.

      In general it works like this. When the behavior Steig engaged in is ignored or defended by his tribe, then agrieved parties look to other authorities for redress. Dont you get that?

      Knowing Ryan, he won’t want to take it there. But its something to think about.

      • Steve,

        I hope you’ll be as forthright when O’Donnell has to issue a public apology to Eric Steig.

        I believe he’s at the draft stage with it.

      • Bentley Strange

        Well Michael, I hope you’ve read Steig’s “response” at RC, no apology required on the basis of that ! Further, I hope YOU’LL be as forthright when Steig issues a public apology to O’Donnell, but of course he never will regardless of the need, so you’re probably safe on that

        Tell me, do you understand the issues at all ? Have you seen and tried to understand (or even tried to run the code) that shows unequivocally that using Steig’s code, if you increase the warming in just the Peninsula whilst holding everything else constant, that the temperature across the whole continent increases ? Do you see a potential problem with that ? Do you understand what Chladni patterns are and how they can arise, have you looked into it to be sure yourself that you understand the issues ?

        Poor methodology and techniques bedevil many fields, surely appropriate mathematical and statistical treatment is essential to gaining a real understanding, so why do you and so many others simply refuse to engage in investigating the appropriateness of the treatment accorded to the data in this area ? And before you dismiss the criticisms, you should certainly attempt to understand the issues.

      • Bentley, I don’t think most of us understood the primary issue here to be the disagreement over the science. That can be conducted in an adversarial yet friendly manner. The issue was over accusations of unethical behavior. Steig has now presented his version of the events and now it is up to O’Donnell and other accusers to show where the explanation is not true or to try to make amends for being wrong about what is a very serious charge.

  33. When they people concerned continually talk about wanting to build bridges and comment on the purported nastiness of the climate scientists, it becomes rather relevant.

    • It’s kinda difficult to build bridges when those on the other side are actively disinterested

      • It’s kinda difficult to build bridges when those on the other side are actively disinterested

        That one is priceless.

      • Difficult yes – but when some are bridge burning while calling it building, disinterest is an act of generosity.

  34. Paul Middents

    So Steve goes on at CA about the generation of Chladni patterns in spatially correlated data. How did Steig’s review prevent them from including this discussion if it really helped their paper? What prevents them from putting something a little more coherent than Steve’s usual blog post up on arXiv?

    Bishop Hill just regurgitates O’Donnel’s CA post.

    I love your true/false challenges.

    I love it when you quiz Willard on science.

    • Paul Middents

      This meant to be in reply to Mosher’s February 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm:

    • > I love it when you quiz Willard on science.

      Me too.

      High five!!

    • Why don’t you read the review comments and find out?

      • From Reviewer A:

        “Finally, the discussion in RO10 of the possible artifact of the eigenvector patterns, and their relationship to Chladni patterns is misplaced in this paper. The use of eigenvector decompositions to examine the relationship between different climate fields is well established in the literature, and its limitations well known. If the authors wish to write a manuscript about this, they should do so, but the discussion in RO10, based on simple
        visual comparison, is purely speculative and wholly inadequate and should be removed.”

        That doesn’t sound to nefarious to me. “Should” doesn’t sound like “must”. A separate paper sounds like a good idea.

      • You should take that up with McIntyre – he’s the expert on Chladni patterns as well as a coauthor of the paper. The authors were being cooperative and Reviewer A was being otherwise. If you don’t understand the relationship in this context (that “should” means “do it or I’ll recommend non-publication”) then it’s your problem. And the solution is for you to talk to either the journal editor or the author.

      • Paul Middents

        I assume you’ve talked to all concerned and that is the basis of your informed opinion. Or are you, like me, just another guy on a blog with an opinion based on what he reads on the blogs.

      • steven mosher

        talked to Ryan about it, talked to Steve about it. Both felt like Reviewer A was demanding the removal. It’s their reading of his comment that is important. Of course, one could ask Steig the following questions.

        1. You wrote that the chladni sections should be removed. If the authors had not removed it would you have rejected the paper?

        2. You’ve seen the sensitivity analysis that Ryan has done on adding/removing trends from the peninsula. You’ve seen how the effects teleconnect to other regions. Does this change your opinion about the importance of understanding chlandi patterns and the artifacts they create?

        Those are two questions that would help to settle the matter.
        See if you can get eric to answer them?


      • Mosher:

        Both felt like Reviewer A was demanding the removal. It’s their reading of his comment that is important.

        It’s their reading that’s important, not the editor’s understanding or the reviewer’s intent.

        Post-normal english …

        Elsewhere in the review Steig wrote:

        My recommendation is that the editor insist that results showing the ‘mostly likely’ West Antarctic trends be shown in place of Figure 3.

        The editor surely understood the difference between “insist” and “should”, whether or not the authors do.

      • Bentley, I do know something of Chladni patterns. Do you? In fact I computed some on the original CA thread – unfortunately the diagrams have been obliterated.

        But the concept is wrong here. Chladni patterns are resonant wave function solutions on drum membranes etc. They form in response to fixed boundary conditions. The Antarctic doesn’t have such conditions – especially with the sea-ice shelf.

    • steven mosher

      So Steve goes on at CA about the generation of Chladni patterns in spatially correlated data. How did Steig’s review prevent them from including this discussion if it really helped their paper?
      By demanding that it be removed.

      “What prevents them from putting something a little more coherent than Steve’s usual blog post up on arXiv?”

      What prevents the journal from fixing the problem they created by having a hostile reviewer demand changes that he later disavows. What prevents the journal from publishing the paper as submitted? Further if you dont understand steve’s posts may I suggest you run Ryan’s code. That’s an intelligence test that Steig failed and several of the illiterates at WUWT could handle. If your able to run the code, then you’ll prove yourself smarter than Steig and able perhaps to have some standing in a discussion about Steve’s clarity.

      “Bishop Hill just regurgitates O’Donnel’s CA post.”

      Actually not. he makes it clearer for folks who dont get teleconnecting
      and chladni patterns.

      “I love it when you quiz Willard on science.”
      That’s not exactly a ‘science’ quiz.

      • That’s not exactly a ‘science’ quiz.

        OK, here’s a quiz:

        1. what does “should” mean to you?

        2. what does “insist” mean to you?

        It’s like when a software standard states that an implementor “should” do this-or-that, vs. “shall” do this-or-that. Failure to implement parts of a standard stamped “shall” will get your implementation labeled non-compliant, while failure to implements parts of a standard stamped “should” won’t – though it might get your implementation labeled “weak” or “poorly done”.

  35. Judith,
    I notice that in part X of this series, you scored the disputants on the basis of politeness, and awarded it to the sceptics.

    I thought here Steig’s actual RC article was respectful, helpful and informative. It may well be that his alleged fickleness on iridge has Ryan justifiably annoyed. But look at just the headings on the blogs that you have linked to:
    Eric Steig’s Duplicity
    Coffin, meet nail.
    Steig’s method massacred
    Steig the Shameless?
    Reviewer A = Rod Blagojevich of Science?

    And yes, after this Steig got frostier.

    • Are you sure about that chronology? It seemed to me that all but one of the titles you posted came AFTER Steig “got frosty” and even O’Donnell’s rebuttal (which prompted “Eric Steig’s Duplicity”) came only after it became brutally apparent that Steig had played fast and loose with the peer review process. From reading O’Donnell’s piece (note that he posted reviews and versions of the paper for comparison to show how much work they put in to accommodate Reviewer A), it goes far beyond iridge.

    • Nick, i haven’t been following this one too closely, i view it as a blogospheric tempest in a teapot. that kind of blogospheric coverage can definitely make you frosty, I personally succumbed a bit during “heretic.” In terms of who wins for politeness on this one, i don’t think either side can claim many points. I don’t really see any meta issues on this one (O’Donnell got a tough review, AMS journals are known for that, the editor was somewhat lax in making the authors jump through hoops based on comments by a reviewer with a conflict of interest, but the paper got published). I mainly found this one of interest in terms of the vehemence of the dispute over not very much, really. Personalities from the chiefdoms of the two tribes having a clash.

      • Nope, the cover of Nature with a bogus message is not meaningless. It’s all about the West Antarctica ice sheet.

      • Fair enough, Judith, but what about the accusation that Steig anonymously insisted on changes to O’Donnell et al that he later used to disparage the paper? That must contravene professional standards (if they exist?) Or is the matter also just part of the tribal hurley burley?

      • I agree that his behaviour is apparently duplicitous, but of no particular import IMO.

      • Sorry, duplicity has devastating meaning. We are hardwired to detect trickery, and to despise it even at a loss.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘It speaks to the witness’s character, m’lud’

      • I agree that his behaviour is apparently duplicitous, but of no particular import IMO.

        Without even bothering to hear Eric’s side of the story …


        BTW over at bart’s there’s a fair chunk of the review-response chain reproduced there, and my quick read is that it doesn’t support the claim of duplicity.

        Eric has stated he’ll post a response soon over at RC.

        I gotta love how quickly you jump to conclusions without having even read the review-response chain.

      • Let’s assume that you had submitted a paper, and one of the reviewers suggested in strong terms for you to use a different method, recommended by him, else he would not support your paper.
        Let us further assume you did just that, never mind the extra work involved. Add to this that this new method did not change your results, but made your paper less elegant.
        Upon further negative review by this reviewer, the editor of the journal asks a fourth reviewer (the other two having already said the paper should be published), who then also recommends publication of this paper, with that different method.

        Upon publication, the reviewer who told you to use this different method now attacks you publicly on a blog for using this method he himself had recommended.

        How would you feel – would you still regard this as a storm in a teacup, engaging the blogosphere? Or would you feel the peer review systemhad been … well, tortured till the pips squeak?

      • Well the whole point is that a reviewer cannot insist on such things without concurrence with the editor. If this was my article, I would have discussed this with the editor, saying that this was unreasonable request by the reviewer, and ask that the editor consider possible conflict of interest of the reviewer.

      • Read Broccoli’s editorial. He still thinks the science is settled.

      • broccoli probably didn’t handle the review on this paper. The chief editor mainly distributes the incoming papers among the various editors to handle the actual reviews.

      • Off Topic: Congratulations Dr. Curry, on passing the 40,000 comment mark.

      • Steve McIntyre

        Broccoli was the editor on this paper. After the first review, Ryan notified Broccoli of our concern about the apparent conflict of interest of Reviewer A, but Broccoli paid no heed.

      • “Paid no heed”?
        That actually isn’t true. After the first round of reviews he said:
        “To allay some of the concerns you have
        expressed about Rev. A, I have sought the advice of an additional reviewer (Rev. D). Please
        note that several of Rev. D’s comments are similar to points made by Rev. A and thus warrant
        especially close attention.”

        That’s not nothing. He then, after reviewer A seemed unsatisfied, said:
        “Rather than request further revision at this time, I would simply like the authors to respond to Rev. A. For each issue identified in the review, they can respond by either by describing changes they would make to their manuscript or explaining why they disagree with the reviewer. Upon receipt of their response a formal decision will be rendered.”
        That’s a pretty explicit statement that he’s heard all he needs to from Rev A , and you can proceed.

      • Well, this looks like an entirely different slant on the story.
        So can someone please clarify what’s really going on here

      • Dear Judith, that is part one of my question – and you explain exactly what RyanO and the others did. So no problem there, no need for storms-in-teacups.

        But what about part two of my question: you’ve complied, the paper is published – and now you are attacked for having complied, i.e. used the method prescribed by the reviewer. and this attack takes place in full public view, on a blog.
        I.a.w, your compliance is now being used to attack your paper as being bad science.

        Would you take this lying down? Or would you defend yourself in public, seeing that you’ve been attacked in public?

      • Sure, I would probably take this on in public, but perhaps without the level of vehemence. I don’t criticize Ryan O et al. for this, I can certainly understand their frustration, but elevating this to a flame war may or may not be the best thing to do (not clear this was entirely thought through).

      • Dr. Curry,

        I think you should have a Tee Shirt made with this:

        “i haven’t been following this one too closely”

        It more closely summarizes your blog presence then the Lisbon one.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Judith, there are very strong indications that we are looking at serious issues of scientific malfeasance by both the Journal and by Steig. How is that just “personalities having a clash”? That’s another inane “boys will be boys” comment like people made about Climategate, and with about the same weight.

        This is especially true since the issue (corruption of the peer review process) is the same one that the Climategate folks were involved in.

        How is this not a significant issue? We’re looking at felony climate recidivism, and that’s not problem? How is garbage ending up on the cover of Nature magazine not a serious warning sign? Doesn’t the fact that despite Climategate people are still actively gaming the system in exactly the same way bother you?

        Those seem to be the issue here, not RC’s abominable censorship policies. What am I missing here?


  36. Steve Milesworthy

    This looks like a setup to me. The authors realise or guess that Steig is a reviewer, so they simply wait for Steig to make the slightest criticism and then jump down his throat. Possibly they became more willing to accept Steig’s review comments because they thought it would allow them to deflect criticism. (Steig *made* us do it wrong).

    They would have expected Steig to write an article on realclimate as Steig had all but said that he would. And they must have anticipated criticism because two scientists never agree.

    So the hot-headed language sounds pre-meditated to me.

    • Interesting. Could they have anticipated the duplicity of Eric Steig? Well, heh, I did. Just look at that Nature cover.

      • Aaaand the Piltdown Mann’s Crook’d stick. Yep, they are transparent.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Surely if they know their own work they should not accept the suggested changes. That’s what Judith says she would have done. Unless they accepted them tactically to give them a get-out clause in which case they were naive for submitting a knowingly flawed paper.

        I’m afraid I had to sit next to a colleague who moaned bitterly for months that he could not get a paper accepted despite multiple attempts. So, like Judith, I take the rant with a pinch of salt. All’s fair in love and peer review.

        Science is a long game. Steig’s review was not an attack. It was a review. And it was a review that could be politely rebutted. If the review turns into a comment, the comment can be rebutted.

  37. “Suggestions for how to move forward this particular research question?”

    The article and responses so far would suggest that the author must narrow the reader’s focus to a single issue and to a single question. In a more general sense, “scientific” discussions should also take this track if at all possible. From my vantage point in the Peanut Gallery the lack of focus here created the opportunity for a few to hyjack the discussion and turn it into a critique of CE and JC. Looks and sounds like a barroom brawl in an old John Wayne movie. In my book “steven mosher | February 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm” hits the nail on the head.

  38. Lay back and enjoy reading the “not irrationalizations” of the sidewindin’ slidesteppers.

    Duplicity downgraded to Steig’s Trick.

    • Maybe judith should go over there and insist that they stick to their guns, since she found their argument compelling earlier, without having bothered to look into Steig’s side of the story.

      • Steve: Feb 9, 2011 – some of Ryan’s language, including the original title, breached blog policies and has been edited accordingly.

        ~two days too late.

      • If only that had anything to do with the scientific points…

      • I would presume the points will be submitted to the journal.

  39. Dr. Curry;

    You have far more patience than I would have with the juvenile rantings (about 95%) of the above.

    I would have deleted most of it and for repeat offenders banned them.

    Then I would have called their mothers.

    • Philip, some threads get testier than others, any thread that mentions realclimate pretty much is guaranteed to go crazy. The technical threads are much saner. Having a few threads for people to let off “steam” helps keep the comments on the technical threads on topic.

      • Dr. Curry.

        You promote the intemperate ramblings of your blog participants by your choice of topics, your periodic cheerleading interpositions and mostly by your passive acceptance of essentially any stream of consciousness blither your followers send.

        The technical topics are of value insofar as they generate the patient response of people like A. Lacis, Pekka the Finn, Fred Moolten and the delightful Vaughn Pratt. The lead ins to these posts are cut and paste bits with essentially no value added by you. Otherwise your blog, despite the thousands of words you are so proud of and the hundreds of comments and great blog stats, is a sounding brass and tinkling symbol.

        Above the fold we find posts inspired by Girma, kim and manaker. The first guest post is by the Great Hydrologer or something.
        Where are the published climate scientists? Don’t they fit into the “extended peer” community.

        Is this really more satisfying than doing science and publishing meaningful stuff reviewed by your peers?

        I have followed this blog since its inception–not with any great expectations, based on your drive through comments on other blogs. I did hope that a blog of your own might give you the platform and incentive to pull your thoughts together in a coherent form. Alas, this does not seem to be happening.

        I am now embarking on a 12 step program to wean myself away from climate porn. The first step is to delete this blog from my Google reader. I will rely on Willard for pointers to choice bits in the future.

        This post on the Steig and O’Donnell kerfluffle is about as low as you have gone. But I am sure you will excel yourself in the near future. Since this is a thread to let off steam–consider it let.

      • Smearing the data
        Temporally, spatially,
        All over your mind.

      • I doubt that many of us will miss you. But I wish you well and hope your recovery from cognitive dissonance is easier than I suspect it will be.

      • I’m sure the “us” you refer to will not miss me or anyone else who intrudes on your comfortable little world that we mere humans couldn’t possibly disrupt.

      • Scary words overheard @ the laundromat: ‘Scottie’s cranky today; he was up all night with that beam thingie’

      • The climate scientists are more then welcome to come and join the discussion. Most of us would appreciate their participation. It appears they would rather not engage the public in an open forum. That is their choice. I suppose it is much more satisfying to sit back and blame the lack of convincing communication on FOX since we all know they are evil anyway. As far as this being as low as Judith has gone? Was an accusation of unethical behavior by a leading climate scientist not news worthy? Should the issue have been ignored here? The snowballing effect Michael refers to further down is not unique to this blog or even to blogs in general. It is human nature that an accusation that fits in with beliefs should be believed. It is common throughout history and has nothing to do with the the mode of communication. The wild people on this blog showed so much less reasoning then everyone else? I would point out that even those normally prone to rush to the defense were worried due to the length of time it took to get a concise response. You and some others now appear to be taking a point in time that should cause many to reflect on how they treat information and ruining it with over reaching tones of self-righteousness.

      • Paul, Your post is absolutely brilliant: it summarises the bizarre nature of Climate etc to perfection, while simultaneously being the funniest thing I’ve read in ages. I’m still splitting my sides while writing this.

      • Well this was entertaining. There is a flaw in your analysis, though. When weeks go by and I haven’t written any substantive posts with new material, that means I am busy with my day job of administering an academic department, travel for my professional responsibilities, writing scientific papers and grant proposals, or working on contracts and proposals for my weekend job (my company). Hence I post on topics that are of current interest or have guest posts (something I can put together in 30 minutes), which typically (but not always) provides the impetus for a provocative and interesting discussion owing to thoughtful and stimulating comments by the denizens. I am very much enjoying participating in the discussions at Climate Etc., and also learning new things.

        Why don’t more climate scientists spend time on blogs? Because scientists are busy, but mainly because there are too many jerks in the blogosphere, and an unmoderated blog can be rough sport for those comfortably ensconced in ivory towers or who prefer echo chambers.

      • “Having a few threads for people to let off “steam” helps keep the comments on the technical threads on topic”

        This is a very interesting comment.

        I think it suggests a fundamental error in the thinking about what could be expected from this experiment, Climate Etc.

        Judith’s assumption is that the kind of inflammatory commentary we often see, is the equivalent of sending kids out onto the sports field to run off some excess energy, after which they are all the better for it.

        What can be observed on blogs (in general) is something quite different; it’s not the Letting Off Steam effect, but the Snowball effect. It often starts as some suggestion of wrongdoing, which others are receptive too and add in their own surmises, assumptions and opinions, often offered as fact. This enlarged ball of claims, attracts and enrages even more, as the tangle of claims is taken at face value by those quick to jump to conclusions, and aided by the ‘live’ nature of blogs, where thoughts can almost instantaneously make the journey from brain (often an angry one) to screen, without the moderating influence of time (to cool down).

        Now none of this might matter if Judith is right that such outpourings just ‘let off steam’. But we’ve had a pretty convincing case study over just the last few days that this is not the case.
        First, commenters let loose the ‘steam’ on Gavin Schmidt over some pretty dubious ‘interpretations’ of a simple email declining an invite. All kinds of negative things were attributed, entirely unsubstantiated, to Gavin. Much of it was unedifying in the extreme.

        Then, just days later, enter the Eric Steig affair. Again, on the basis of not a lot, except some hasty assumptions, a stream of accusations, insults and demands are let loose. The culmination, for me, was someone’s demand that Steig be “prosecuted”, in some undefined manner.

        So, if there was any effect by the steam release just days earlier, it appears to be so small as to be impossible to detect.

        But, running off some excess energy is not an analogy for thinking, which is what, in theory, people involved in a discussion/debate should be doing. And thinking is a set of skills and a habit. If today we indulge in thought that is hasty, where we fail to weigh evidence on valid objective grounds and rush to judgement based on rumour and innuendo, then it’s more likely that’s how we’ll do it tomorrow too.

        It’s not possible to quarantine the wild behaviour on ‘non-technical’ threads – this approach to thought and communication is simply reinforced by its use.

      • So, is the science settled? And just how did E. Steig fabricate that picture Nature thought so rosy?

      • Also of note was how O’Donnel’s broadside began professional and temperate then escalated steadily in dudgeon, inflecting northward at each reported grievance. A reaser could be forgiven for speculating his post might abruptly halt at the point where O’Donnel ate his keyboard. Alas, not only was that finished, but a second post counting as the most exhilarating I’ve ever read that featured heat maps followed. Judith appears to believe that these kind of parodies of frothing spittle are an elixir for the divisions between rival camps: ‘blow off some righteous steam, then come back and smile through clenched teeth’. Alas they are what ails us.

        O’Donnel’s wholesale bile download wrote checks his story couldn’t cash. Now he’s faced with the enviable choice between warm and cold crow. Alternatively, there’s always a second option in the age of the Internet: rank dishonesty. Hey, post normal science has it’s benefits… for charlatans.

      • Michael, if you disapprove of blog reasoning perhaps you should not make such long posts. I myself find public reasoning rather sound, all things considered. Long live the broadsheet.

      • There’s no such thing as ‘blog reasoning’.

        Yet, there are avenues and forums that inculcate sound reasoning, clear thinking and precise expression.

        It’s just that an unmoderated blog is not one of those. But then neither is a pub.

        Just as I don’t expect much progress in matters of science to be made in the wee hours of a nightclub, neither do I expect it at Climate Etc. A headache and blackeye? – possibly.

      • There is moderation at this blog. I understand some prefer blogs where only the rude people that support your side are allowed to be rude but here there are general rules that everyone has to live with. I suppose the only difference is this isn’t a members only nightclub. A members only nightclub probably does keep the arguing to minimum since it’s only “those” people that get insulted.

      • I think the general rules is simply – no ‘rude words’.

        Personally I’m far more offended by the woolly thinking, false accusations and bad faith than a few naughty words.

        The former are also a far more significant assualt on rational thought.

      • False accusations like calling people that disagree with you a liar because they don’t agree with you? Or do you deny that happens on your prefered blogs? That would make you a denier also. Bet you are also a teabagger. Are you a teabagger also Michael? No doubt you are here purposely lying because the other blogs have paid you to do so. Are you just a shill for the other blogs? Do they give you unmoderated posts in return? Or are you just confused because your religion doesn’t allow you to understand. Should I go on? No, you either see my point now or you never will.

      • No, I was thinking of the ‘skeptics’ antics over the last week in relation to the false accusations and paranoid assumptions relating to Gavin Schmidt, and later, Eric Steig.

        While it’s clear that the ‘skeptics’ aren’t really much focussed on the science, more on the policy side which is primarily opinion.

        But now, after the last lot of hysteria, I don’t even think that disagreement over the formulation of opinion is the issue.

        It’s the ‘skeptics’ lack of ethics that is the real problem.

        The Steig affair demonstrated that their scruples are few and far between.

      • You live in such a black and white world. I don’t even recognize it so it is difficult to explain to you how it differs from the world I live in.

      • So you don’t see any problem with the false accusations agianst Eric Steig??

      • I don’t agree with false accusations against anyone. Why would I? They are by definition false. Now since you intend to press this conversation I would note that you stated skeptics are unethical. I consider myself a skeptic. Do you have any evidence of unethical behavior on my part or would you like to offer up an apology at this point?

      • What “false accusations”? He was Reviewer A – by his own admission. Do you believe that his actions in that respect were either ethical or reasonable? If so, then that says things about you that I think you’d not want to be made public. Do you know what “projection” is?

      • Jim,
        Not only were they ethical they were, as a scientific reviewer, exemplary – he provided a timely, very constructive, detailed review, which improved the paper and aided in getting it published.

        Unhelpful reviewers sit on the review for months or just say – ‘rubbish, don’t publish it’.

        Steven, Ican’t comment on your ethics, unless you’d like yo point out your earlier comments (if any) in relation to Steig.

        But, from what I’ve read on this blog and others, there seems to be almost zero ‘skeptics’ who having jumped to wild conclusions early on, have then had the decency to say ‘ oops, might have been a bit hasty there – sorry, got it wrong’.

        The ‘skeptics’ seem to have a severe ethical deficit.

      • Not only were they ethical they were, as a scientific reviewer, exemplary – he provided a timely, very constructive, detailed review, which improved the paper and aided in getting it published.

        Michael –
        You’re not stupid – stop acting the part.
        From O’Donnell –
        Steig acting as Reviewer A, in his Second Review, had asked the editor to “insist” that we present the “most likely” West Antarctica trends, specifically proposing iridge, although, in an email yesterday, Steig expressed “total surprise” that we had complied with his iridge proposal and, in his Feb 1 RC post, even criticized us for complying his proposal.

        If, as a reviewer, you recommend a technique that is then used in the paper, criticizing that usage after publicaton does NOT class as ethical by any reasonable standards. Which makes your words –
        It’s the ‘skeptics’ lack of ethics that is the real problem.
        just so much horse puckey. As is this –

        While it’s clear that the ‘skeptics’ aren’t really much focussed on the science, more on the policy side which is primarily opinion.

        What I’ve seen is that since you apparently can’t discuss the science, you’re focussed entirely on the sceptics. Which isn’t useful to you or anyone else.

        You answered a question that wasn’t asked – you should learn to read rather than “assume”.

        AND, BTW – 88 pages of review is NOT timely or constructive and, in fact, was obstructive and designed to prevent or at least delay publication. Evidence? – is that the editor had to find another reviewer to replace Steig. That is NOT evidence that supports your position.

      • Jim,

        You can’t even get the basic facts right.

        Steig did not introduce iridge. O’Donnell et al did, Steigh merely said, ‘seems OK, but if you are going to use it then……’

        The first review was not 88 pages long. I know Watts et al have written this repeatedly on their blogs, but it’s wrong. Hopelessly wrong.

        Steigs review was 14 pages. The response from O’Donnell et al was 46 pages long!! – will you now accuse them of being “obstructive” for such a incredibly lengthy response?

  40. But Michael’s own comments apparently don’t fit in the same category. Heh.

    • I can’t resist quoting Revkin’s fourth paragraph:

      I also hope that tussles at the edges of understanding, where data are scant or uncertainty is high, don’t distract the public too much from the basics of climate science, which are boringly undisputed yet still speak of a rising risk that sorely needs addressing.

      So first, two areas are compared:
      1. the edges of understanding, where data are scant or uncertainty is high
      2. the basics of climate science, which are boringly undisputed.
      I’m quite happy to go along with that. And I’d include the greenhouse effect (so called) as a basic that’s undisputed (for although it has been debated here in the last month, that has only been to show why it’s considered part of the boring bit).

      But before he’s done with such a helpful sentence Revkin slips in three additional little claims:

      1. the basics speak of a risk that needs addressing
      2. the basics speak of a rising risk that needs addressing
      3. the basics speak of a risk that sorely needs addressing.

      The greenhouse effect, on its own, is calculated to produce about 1degC warming for a doubling of CO2. That really isn’t a risk that needs addressing.

      So what are the boring, undisputed basics that justify this extraordinary language? Language that would be considered very strange – if it wasn’t so very common.

      Don’t whitewash the details of the Antarctic warming and how hard it’s been to put the record straight, kids – but also, much more importantly, don’t claim that the statement “the risk is rising and sorely needs addressing” is supported by the basics of climate science. It ain’t. More work to do.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      “Stranger and stranger”? It is getting clearer and clearer, and Steve McIntyre as usual provides the chapter and verse. As Steve demonstrates, Steig and the Team are blowing smoke and hoping it gets into someone’s, anyone’s, eyes.

      Thanks for the link,