Free Markets, Free People

Science


Climaquiddick – Who Are The “Deniers” Now?

What an interesting week. The wheels on the AGW bus aren’t going “round and round” any more, they seem to be coming off. Unless you listen to a good portion of the alarmists who are in the middle of denying the significance of the CRU emails, that is.

But I prefer to start my examination of what has been found with a couple of quotes from Eric S. Raymond (via Reboot Congress), software engineer, open source advocate and author of the book “The Cathedral & the Bazaar“.  The first:

For those of you who have been stigmatizing AGW skeptics as “deniers” and dismissing their charges that the whole enterprise is fraudulent? Hope you like the taste of crow, because I do believe there’s a buttload of it coming at you. Piping hot.

Pretty strong, no? So why do you suppose Raymond feels confident enough to make such a pronouncement? Because his review has found blatant and undeniable fraud within the programing used to “predict” the warming supposedly taking place. Or as he says:

All you apologists weakly protesting that this is research business as usual and there are plausible explanations for everything in the emails? Sackcloth and ashes time for you. This isn’t just a smoking gun, it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.

Even stronger – and here’s why:

From the CRU code file osborn-tree6/briffa_sep98_d.pro , used to prepare a graph purported to be of Northern Hemisphere temperatures and reconstructions.

From the CRU code file osborn-tree6/briffa_sep98_d.pro , used to prepare a graph purported to be of Northern Hemisphere temperatures and reconstructions.

Raymond, in reaction to this bit of code, says:

This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the 1940s 1930s — see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.

You have to love it, in a sick sort of way – the routine is called “a VERY ARTIFICIAL correction for the decline” and the correction is named a “fudge factor”. Blatant? Unbelievable. Again, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist, or a scientist at all to see through this garbage.

What does it all yield? Raymond plots it:

artifical2

How very convenient – the “hockey stick” which began “Mann-made Global Warming”. Raymond adds an update:

Now the data is 0.75 scaled. I think I interpreted the yrloc entry incorrectly last time, introducing an off-by-one. The 1400 point (same as the 1904) is omitted as it confuses gmuplot. These are details; the basic hockey-stick shape is unaltered.

As is the basic point – “data-cooking”. Blatant data-cooking.

And yet the Alarmists want to wave it all away saying it doesn’t matter. At least those who have a political agenda which are most. But even some scientists who believe the AGW case to be valid are having difficulties reconciling what happened at CRU with what they consider to be the role of science and how science must work:

What has been noticeably absent so far in the ClimateGate discussion is a public reaffirmation by climate researchers of our basic research values: the rigors of the scientific method (including reproducibility), research integrity and ethics, open minds, and critical thinking. Under no circumstances should we ever sacrifice any of these values; the CRU emails, however, appear to violate them.

Those aren’t the words of a skeptic or a skeptical pundit. They’re the words of Dr. Judith Curry, Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology. Her main message, the same message that Raymond sends, is that this should all be open source and available to other scientists. What happened at the CRU is, in Dr. Curry’s words, indicative of “circle the wagons/point guns outward” mentality which uses “ad hominem/appeal to motive attacks; appeal to authority; isolate the enemy through lack of access to data; peer review process”. That precisely describes the emails and occurrences over the last few years as skeptics tried to get the CRU data.

Speaking of transparency, Mike Hulme, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia has this to say about the scandal:

The key lesson to be learned is that not only must scientific knowledge about climate change be publicly owned — the I.P.C.C. does a fairly good job of this according to its own terms — but the very practices of scientific enquiry must also be publicly owned, in the sense of being open and trusted. From outside, and even to the neutral, the attitudes revealed in the emails do not look good.

There are two reasons I completely agree with his assessment: 1) the research is mostly publicly funded and 2) obviously public policy is being derived from their findings and conclusions. When science is used in that sort of a way, it must be doubly open and rigorous as far as I’m concerned. And, if scientists don’t like that, they can seek their funding elsewhere (which, btw, I’d prefer as this is a wonderful example of “advocacy science” if ever I’ve seen one).

Hulme goes on to say this about Copenhagen, again something I agree with completely:

This will blow its course soon in the conventional media without making too much difference to Copenhagen — after all, COP15 is about raw politics, not about the politics of science. But in the Internet worlds of deliberation and in the ‘mood’ of public debate about the trustworthiness of climate science, the reverberations of this episode will live on long beyond COP15. Climate scientists will have to work harder to earn the warranted trust of the public – and maybe that is no bad thing.

Copenhagen’s politics aren’t really about “climate change” and its dangers. Climate change is the only the excuse for an exercise in power as it relates to governments. That and a redistribution scheme to assuage the guilt of the liberal industrial states and the greed of the third world.

But Hulme’s point about “climate scientists” having to “work harder to earn the warranted trust of the public” is a sure thing given these emails.

So while the pundits using climate change and man’s contribution as a means to more power try to wave this off and given the fact that real scientists are recognizing the huge damage these emails do to the validity of the science of climate change, the pundits are now in the “denier” category, not the skeptics.

I, for one, find the irony delicious.

~McQ


Climaquiddick – It Doesn’t Take A Scientist …

As I wander the blogs and the net reading about the scandal that has gripped the “science” around the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia I continue to see defenses of the so-called “settled science” of AGW pushed by that group that center on the implication that those calling their data into question either aren’t smart enough or qualified enough (or both) to make the determination that the CRU’s data is wrong.

I’ll admit, up front, to both charges.  I’ll also tell you that it isn’t necessary to be either as smart as some scientists or as qualified in their field to question their science.  Why?  Because as a schoolboy I was taught what the “scientific method” is and how vitally important that method is to the credibility of science.  For those of you needing a refresher, have a look:

science_method

As you can see, there is a very important box outlined in blue among all the other boxes in the flow chart.  The words “Reproduce (by others)” refers to other scientists, just as qualified as those who’ve produced the hypothesis, testing and attempting to reproduce the results that the original scientists claim.  It is one of, if not the most critical step in validating a hypothesis and turning it into a “scientific theory”.  It is that independent reproduction of the same results using the methods and data of the original scientists that provides scientific rigor and credibility necessary for it to go from hypothesis to theory.

That is the step that has been consistently missing in the AGW controversy.  Other scientists have, for years, been asking for and been refused the original data on which the CRU based its hypothesis of man-made global warming.  We see pundits defending the science claiming the emails don’t prove AGW to be a fraud.  Maybe, maybe not – but what they do show is a consistent effort to avoid providing the data requested to others who would like to test it.  That alone should raise a sea of red flags to any real scientist.  The last thing those who are sure of their hypothesis and their science should be doing is actively trying to keep the data which underpins their hypothesis from being tested as demanded by the scientific method.

Another reason to be skeptical without having to be an atmospheric scientist has to do with other findings which have found to be wanting.  Mann’s “hockey stick” turned into a hockey puck when the data was examined.  We’ve seen cherry-picked tree ring data used to claim massive warming when, in fact, the complete data set showed nothing of the sort.  And then there’s the undisputed fact that the earth has been cooling over the last 10 years in the face of predictions by this same group that it would be warming.

All of that (and more) is certainly enough for any layman to find the science involved less than acceptable and demand in very detailed look at its core methods and data. And that’s especially true since it is the basis of a world-wide attempt by governments to institute massive and economy killing restrictions on CO2 and other emissions which, if skeptics are correct, are completely useless and would be of marginal value at the very best.

There is a very simple solution to this mess – to those that are under fire and under scrutiny: show your work. That’s it – put it out there. Doing so is at the very center of the scientific method to which all real scientists supposedly adhere. Let other scientists poke and prod both your methods and data. If it is as solid and “settled” as claimed, it shouldn’t take long to verify that. And if it is correct then even we non-scientific skeptics will have to admit there is a problem. We may still disagree on the solution, but at least the claim of “settled science” will finally have some validity as the warming hypothesis will move into the realm of scientific theory.

All of that said, my guess is that will never happen – reading the emails tells me there is a real desire to avoid that. And that makes me suspicious of the “science”. In fact, it tells me quite a bit about the “science” of the hypothesis involved without having to know any of the scientific details. Given that, you certainly don’t have to be an atmospheric scientist or a genius to be skeptical.  In fact, you have more reason than ever to remain so.

~McQ


Climaquiddick Expands – New Zealand Data Questioned

Anthony Watts has the story.

The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.

The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.

The charts explain it quite well. Here’s the NIWA chart:

NZchart1

Notice the relentless rise in temperature depicted on the chart.

Now, here’s the raw data from the temperature stations:

NZchart2

As Watts points out:

Gone is the relentless rising temperature trend, and instead there appears to have been a much smaller growth in warming, consistent with the warming up of the planet after the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850.

The revelations are published today in a news alert from The Climate Science Coalition of NZ:

Straight away you can see there’s no slope—either up or down. The temperatures are remarkably constant way back to the 1850s. Of course, the temperature still varies from year to year, but the trend stays level—statistically insignificant at 0.06°C per century since 1850.

Got that? 0.06°C per century since 1850?! Absolutely statistically insignificant (especially given that 1850 signaled the end of the Little Ice Age) and certainly nothing which supports the dire prediction of the Chicken Little crowd.

Read the entire Watts article. And for some additional reading, try this piece at American Thinker about the programing problems at the University of East Anglica’s CRU. I understood about half (not being a programmer) but it certainly made me understand that there were serious problems with their calculations.

As an aside, I’m going with the “quiddick” suffix vs. the “-gate”. As CR mentioned, “-gate” refers to a story the media will relentlessly pursue while “quiddick” refers to a story the media will do its level best to ignore. I think, given the current “coverage” that it is obvious “quiddick” is more applicable – although I do like another suggestion about a name for the whole AGW movement – “Global Whoring”. Fits.

~McQ


The Significance Of The Growing Climate Scandal

Whether you prefer “Climategate” or “Warmaquiddick” or “Climaquiddick” (most seem to prefer something with “quiddick” v.  “gate” for some reason) as a name for the developing scientific scandal, the fact is that the emails revealed this week from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit are significant and damning.

Why are they significant?

The leaked documents (see our previous coverage) come from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in eastern England. In global warming circles, the CRU wields outsize influence: it claims the world’s largest temperature data set, and its work and mathematical models were incorporated into the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report. That report, in turn, is what the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged it “relies on most heavily” when concluding that carbon dioxide emissions endanger public health and should be regulated.

To me that’s more than enough reason to step back, call a halt to all this talk about global treaties and take a good hard look at the science involved in all of this. What should be obvious to everyone is that more than enough questions have emerged over the past year to seriously question the conclusions reached by the CRU.

This data is the source of the EPA’s decision to regulate CO2. The fact that the data may be false or fudged then throws into question not only the conclusions of the IPCC’s report, but the EPA’s decision. If, in fact, they indicate scientific fraud as they seem too, then it also calls into question any other science or decisions made based on their conclusions. We’re literally talking about trillions of dollars hanging in the balance and a massive shift in government power (through regulation and taxation) and intrusion in our lives.

Yet, despite the fact that this story has been circulating for at least a week, some media outlets have declined to pursue it and have done the journalistic equivalent of yelling “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” by publishing editorials and articles which talk about the threat of global warming. Thankfully their readers, in some cases unmercifully, clue them in. The Washington Post, one of the few media outlets to even acknowledge the scandal, essentially blows it off in an editorial ironically entitled “Climate of Denial”, preferring to pretend that there’s really nothing of significance to the emails except perhaps, the CRU should have been a little more transparant than they were. It also refers to the emails as “stolen”.

In fact, it appears that the revelation of the emails may have been the work of a whistleblower, who, unlike WaPo, saw the real significance of what was being concealed:

It’s not clear how the files were leaked. One theory says that a malicious hacker slipped into East Anglia’s network and snatched thousands of documents. Another says that the files had already been assembled in response to a Freedom of Information request and, immediately after it was denied, a whistleblower decided to disclose them. (Lending credence to that theory is the fact that no personal e-mail messages unrelated to climate change appear to have been leaked.)

Interestingly the media exception to that is Declan McCullagh at CBS’s blog “Taking Liberties”. He does a pretty good and indepth job of looking at it all. I’ve linked ot his piece above (about the significance of the scandal). Make sure you read the emails concerning the programing and the data base. If that alone doesn’t set off alarm bells and tell you that what CRU produced might have some very serious problems, I’m not sure what will. Also read Phil Jones attempt to explain away the “hiding the decline” comment in one of his emails as meaning something colloquial which, of course, he claims doesn’t mean what in means otherwise. Very poor.

With all of that said, and ending with citing the Jones quote, I present for your entertainment, “Hiding The Decline”:

~McQ


AGW’s Crumbling House Of Cards (updates)

Uh oh … in advance of Copenhagen when this government will try to give away what little is left of your earnings, reality is beginning to dawn:

Global warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years. Some attribute the trend to a lack of sunspots, while others explain it through ocean currents.

That last sentence should tell you all you need to know about the AGW scam – if they can’t figure out what’s causing this cooling event, how in the world can they be relied upon to forecast the future? The fact is they use models which are, in the big scheme of things, technologically crude and force certain types of climate variables while minimizing or leaving out altogether numerous others. They can’t, in fact, model what has happend in our history, much less what is coming – and yet, by some, they’re taken as scientific “proof” of impending doom.

Now they have to deal with something their models didn’t at all predict:

The Earth’s average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year.

[...]

Latif, one of Germany’s best-known climatologists, says that the temperature curve has reached a plateau. “There can be no argument about that,” he says. “We have to face that fact.”

As for “settled science” and consensus:

“It cannot be denied that this is one of the hottest issues in the scientific community,” says Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. “We don’t really know why this stagnation is taking place at this point.”

Or maybe we do:

Just a few weeks ago, Britain’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research added more fuel to the fire with its latest calculations of global average temperatures. According to the Hadley figures, the world grew warmer by 0.07 degrees Celsius from 1999 to 2008 and not by the 0.2 degrees Celsius assumed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And, say the British experts, when their figure is adjusted for two naturally occurring climate phenomena, El Niño and La Niña, the resulting temperature trend is reduced to 0.0 degrees Celsius — in other words, a standstill.

Again, that “settled science” canard of Al Gore’s is out the window. Not that there won’t be warmist deniers:

But a few scientists simply refuse to believe the British calculations. “Warming has continued in the last few years,” says Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). However, Rahmstorf is more or less alone in his view. Hamburg Max Planck Institute scientist Jochem Marotzke, on the other hand, says: “I hardly know any colleagues who would deny that it hasn’t gotten warmer in recent years.”

But, as is obvious and is now being admitted, it hasn’t.

So back to the drawing board boys. When you can put a model that can duplicate the past with fidelity, then we might accept what it has to say about the future as “proof” of something. But trying to pawn off the results of those you now use in the face of the real temperatures and trends we’ve undergone (which are wildly different from the models) seems at best anti-scientific. The theory’s the models force have been disproved – or at least heavily damaged. Try, try again.

Unfortunately, even while the scientific community begins to understand the huge scam that has been pulled on them, politicians are blinkered creatures who, having now made up their unscientific minds that global warming is happening, and being a part of a caste which has as a juvenile part of its job description a desire to save the world, will meet in Copenhagen and try to strike a global monetary redistribution scheme to do so.

Facts – they don’t need no stinkin’ facts to give your money away. See “national debt”.

UPDATE: Hacked emails or leaked?  Which ever is the case, they’re pretty damning to the “science” of AGW.

UPDATE II: Remember the UN’s IPCC report that Copenhagen is going to be based upon?  Uh oh:

A scientific scandal is casting a shadow over a number of recent peer-reviewed climate papers.

At least eight papers purporting to reconstruct the historical temperature record times may need to be revisited, with significant implications for contemporary climate studies, the basis of the IPCC’s assessments. A number of these involve senior climatologists at the British climate research centre CRU at the University East Anglia. In every case, peer review failed to pick up the errors.

It is getting tougher and tougher for the alarmist warmists to maintain their “settled science” mantra. In fact, it’s getting tougher and tougher for them to even call what has been foisted upon the world “science” at all.

Question: How long will it take the media here (the stories are coming out of the UK and Australia and have been picked up by blogs here) to cover the story and, assuming they do, will it have legs are get the page A35 treatment?

[HT: Hot Air]

~McQ


The AGW Payoff For Al Gore

His supporters call him a visionary. His detractors call him a con artist.  One thing is certain though, the hype of AGW is making Al Gore a very rich man. And that alone should make people very skeptical of his “cause”.

Few people have been as vocal about the urgency of global warming and the need to reinvent the way the world produces and consumes energy. And few have put as much money behind their advocacy as Mr. Gore and are as well positioned to profit from this green transformation, if and when it comes.

Critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming skeptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the world’s first “carbon billionaire,” profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in.

And, in fact, the NYT describes just such a venture that will now pay off for Gore and his partners. You remember those “smart grid” grants handed out a week or so ago?

The company, Silver Spring Networks, produces hardware and software to make the electricity grid more efficient. It came to Mr. Gore’s firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital providers, looking for $75 million to expand its partnerships with utilities seeking to install millions of so-called smart meters in homes and businesses.

Mr. Gore and his partners decided to back the company, and in gratitude Silver Spring retained him and John Doerr, another Kleiner Perkins partner, as unpaid corporate advisers.

The deal appeared to pay off in a big way last week, when the Energy Department announced $3.4 billion in smart grid grants. Of the total, more than $560 million went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts. Kleiner Perkins and its partners, including Mr. Gore, could recoup their investment many times over in coming years.

How very, uh, convenient. Anyone who doesn’t believe Gore’s connections inside government at very high levels isn’t paying off just isn’t paying attention. Gore has pushed AGW vigorously for years and until recently when the science he based his pitch on has been found seriously wanting, he’s pretty much had it his way. Governments around the globe swallowed it whole and the movement has grown into a veritable religion.

Gore’s reaction to the skepticism about his profiting off what many, myself included, consider a gigantic scam?

Mr. Gore says that he is simply putting his money where his mouth is.

“Do you think there is something wrong with being active in business in this country?” Mr. Gore said. “I am proud of it. I am proud of it.”

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being active in business in this country, Mr. Gore – unless of course it’s the coal business or the lumber business or the nuclear energy business, or the oil business. Or for that matter the pharmaceutical business, health insurance business or financial sector. Then there’s the car business …

Well you get the idea. What Mr. Gore is actually proud of is creating a business that’s a politically popular one and stands to suck in untold piles of money based on a scam that would make Bernie Madoff green with envy. Because Al Gore has created and is engaged in a “legal” ripoff the size of which the world has never seen. Of course he’s “proud of it”.

~McQ


More Disreputable “Science” From The AGW Alarmist Crowd

Last week I pointed to the fact that the “scientist” who provided much of the basis for the AGW crowd’s alarmist appeal (as incorporated in the UN’s 2007 IPCC report) refused to provide the original data on which that model was based to peers.  He later claimed that the original data had been lost because it was unable to be transferred to newer data storage (an unmitigated crock).  IOW, peers can’t review his data and check out his theory to ensure what he’s theorizing has a valid basis in fact.  That’s a cardinal sin in real science circles.

And now, in less than a week, a second cardinal sin is uncovered.  That of cherry-picking data.  In the cross-hairs is Keith Briffa.  Steve McIntyre explains the problem:

The Briffa temperature graphs have been widely cited as evidence by the IPCC, yet it appears they were based on a very carefully selected set of data, so select, that the shape of the graph would have been totally transformed if the rest of the data had been included.

In fact, as with Phil Jones who I reported about last week, Briffa refused repeated requests for his original data (from tree rings). And it was the Briffa graphs which were used to support the contention that the “hockey stick” was valid.

When others finally got a hold of all the data and graphed it out, their findings were quite different than Briffa’s:

rcs_chronologies1a

And, of course, when they were merged they told quite a different story than was Briffa and the IPCC:

all-tree-rings-included

My, what a difference using all the data makes, no?

Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts have all the gory details, but as one commenter on Watt’s site says:

Coming just after the “lost” data from the Hadley Centre by Phil Jones, this is beginning to look more than just carelessness.

I call it the “great unraveling”. The hoax is coming unglued. And this shameful conduct will set real science back 100 years.

The question is, will the politicians see it before it is too late? Will the administration which promised that science would again take the forefront actually keep its word and ensure that happens? Methinks we’re going to find out that a political agenda and ideology are much more powerful than science. Science, quite honestly, is only useful to politicians – any politician – as long as it advances their agenda. If it doesn’t then the politician will claim it to be false science – regardless of how overwhelming the evidence is to the contrary.

~McQ


Global Warming “Science” v. The Scientific Method (update)

Even the youngest student of science knows the foundation of scientific inquiry rests in the scientific method. It is by scrupulously following that method that the data and science behind it can be verified. In short:

Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

It also requires that the data collected be made available to peers so the theories in question can be tested for their validity.

Among other facets shared by the various fields of inquiry is the conviction that the process be objective to reduce biased interpretations of the results. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, thereby allowing other researchers the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established.

The bold is my emphasis because I want to highlight a remarkable article at NRO by Patrick J. Michaels entitled “The Dog Ate Global Warming”. Obviously a little twist on “the dog ate my homework”, Michaels says that the “data needed to verify the gloom-and-doom warming forecasts have disappeared.”

Or, said another way, the findings are now unfalsifiable because those who did the original research say they no longer have the original data.

First some background about what’s being discussed:

In the early 1980s, with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, scientists at the United Kingdom’s University of East Anglia established the Climate Research Unit (CRU) to produce the world’s first comprehensive history of surface temperature. It’s known in the trade as the “Jones and Wigley” record for its authors, Phil Jones and Tom Wigley, and it served as the primary reference standard for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) until 2007. It was this record that prompted the IPCC to claim a “discernible human influence on global climate.”

Putting together such a record isn’t at all easy. Weather stations weren’t really designed to monitor global climate. Long-standing ones were usually established at points of commerce, which tend to grow into cities that induce spurious warming trends in their records. Trees grow up around thermometers and lower the afternoon temperature. Further, as documented by the University of Colorado’s Roger Pielke Sr., many of the stations themselves are placed in locations, such as in parking lots or near heat vents, where artificially high temperatures are bound to be recorded.

So the weather data that go into the historical climate records that are required to verify models of global warming aren’t the original records at all. Jones and Wigley, however, weren’t specific about what was done to which station in order to produce their record, which, according to the IPCC, showed a warming of 0.6° +/– 0.2°C in the 20th century.

So we’re talking about the findings which were used to make the IPCC’s dire warnings in its report. They are the basis for the entire global warming movement’s desire to do what is necessary globally to lower the amount of CO2 emissions.

But, others scientists ask, given their doubts about the accuracy of the data, should it be? Scientists interested in peer reviewing the theory, as the scientific method demands, found it impossible to do so. And therein lies the story:

Now begins the fun. Warwick Hughes, an Australian scientist, wondered where that “+/–” came from, so he politely wrote Phil Jones in early 2005, asking for the original data. Jones’s response to a fellow scientist attempting to replicate his work was, “We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

Reread that statement, for it is breathtaking in its anti-scientific thrust. In fact, the entire purpose of replication is to “try and find something wrong.” The ultimate objective of science is to do things so well that, indeed, nothing is wrong.

Michaels is stunned by he reaction. Anyone who reads that response should be stunned by it. As Michaels says, it is “breathtaking in its anti-scientific thrust”. Not unscientific. Anti-scientific. Jones is refusing a peer the data used to reach his conclusions in direct contravention of the scientific method. When you see a refusal like that, especially phrased the way it was phrased, all sorts of alarm bells should go off in the head of anyone who claims to be a scientist. And, of course, they have.

Over the years, requests have been made for the data and almost uniformly turned down for various reasons. Finally a request for the data made by Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado solicited this response from Jones:

Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e., quality controlled and homogenized) data.

Michaels calls BS on this one:

The statement about “data storage” is balderdash. They got the records from somewhere. The files went onto a computer. All of the original data could easily fit on the 9-inch tape drives common in the mid-1980s. I had all of the world’s surface barometric pressure data on one such tape in 1979.

Anyone familiar with data storage throughout the short history of the computer age knows this is nonsense. Transfer of data from various systems to newer systems has been accomplished without real difficulty all thorough its development. What Jones is trying very hard to do is one of two things a) hide data that he’s pretty sure won’t support his conclusion or b) admitting to a damningly unscientific procedure which should, without his ability to produce and share the original data, call into serious question any findings he’s presented.

Why is this important – because based on this finding, the world is moving toward economy crippling treaties and legislation, like the pending cap-and-trade bill here in the US, based on totally unverified “science”. As Michaels says this story isn’t just “an academic spat” – it questions the very foundation of the premise which these economic crippling moves are based in.

Scientific consensus? Not even proven science, for heave sake – yet we’re moving on it like it was. Dangerous, foolish and costly. This is what rushing into things without making all of the inquiries necessary (and taking the time to do them) usually ends up with bad legislation.

And cap-and-trade promises to be no exception to that rule.

UPDATE: The Thinker provides a reminder of what I expect to see concerning Michael’s charges from the “Chicken Little” crowd:

As I described in my my model of belief, a faith-based belief is a belief in something for which there is no good evidence either for or against (e.g., the existence of God), whereas a delusional belief is a belief that is maintained in spite of evidence to the contrary (e.g., the efficacy of astrology). It is usually a delusional belief that requires an “appeal to other ways of knowing,” since a faith-based belief (strictly as I’ve defined it) can’t be challenged on scientific grounds.

The “appeal to other ways of knowing” is one of the strategies that a delusional person will use to cope with the cognitive dissonance that occurs when their beliefs bump up against reality. When questioned on this “other way of knowing” the person will then be forced to resort to other coping strategies (i.e., fallacies and biases).

Just a little helpful guide for those trying to evaluate the comments of those trying to defend the indefensible. Always handy to know if you’re dealing with someone grounded in a faith-based belief or a delusional belief, wouldn’t you say? If you’d like a local example of delusional belief, I’d steer you to the comment thread on Honduras where it is available in full flower.

~McQ


DNA Evidence Can Be Faked

Apparently, according to some scientists, you can engineer a crime scene in such a way as to leave DNA evidence to convict whomever you want:

The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.

“You can just engineer a crime scene,” said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.”

Obviously few if any crime scenes will be engineered, at least in the near future, but I could see a criminal business popping up where such fabricated DNA might be useful.

But fear not – there’s a reason this has been announced now:

Dr. Frumkin is a founder of Nucleix, a company based in Tel Aviv that has developed a test to distinguish real DNA samples from fake ones that it hopes to sell to forensics laboratories.

I’ll be he does.

Heh … the market works – see a need, fill it and the world will beat a pathway to your door. Well maybe not the world, but at least a few odd forensic labs.

~McQ


The Revolt Of The Scientists

Apparently it is getting a little hot in the scientific community when it comes to AGW and skepticism. And it is the skeptics who are firing the broadsides. Melanie Phillips brings us the latest:

More and more scientists have just about had it up to here with the rubbish being put out as the ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming. Marc Morano reports how members of the American Chemical Society (ACS) have risen in revolt against the group’s editor-in-chief — with demands for his removal — after an editorial appeared claiming ‘the science of anthropogenic climate change is becoming increasingly well established.’

The editorial claimed the ‘consensus’ view was growing ‘increasingly difficult to challenge, despite the efforts of diehard climate-change deniers.’ The editor now admits he is ‘startled’ by the negative reaction from the group’s scientific members.

His readers had responded as you see in these two representative replies:

ACS member scientist Dr. Howard Hayden, a Physics Professor Emeritus from the University of Connecticut: ‘Baum’s remarks are particularly disquieting because of his hostility toward skepticism, which is part of every scientist’s soul. Let’s cut to the chase with some questions for Baum: Which of the 20-odd major climate models has settled the science, such that all of the rest are now discarded? [...] Do you refer to ‘climate change’ instead of ‘global warming’ because the claim of anthropogenic global warming has become increasingly contrary to fact?’

William E. Keller wrote: ‘However bitter you (Baum) personally may feel about CCDs (climate change deniers), it is not your place as editor to accuse them—falsely—of nonscientific behavior by using insultingly inappropriate language. [...] The growing body of scientists, whom you abuse as sowing doubt, making up statistics, and claiming to be ignored by the media, are, in the main, highly competent professionals, experts in their fields, completely honorable, and highly versed in the scientific method—characteristics that apparently do not apply to you.’

Some pretty heavy shots across the bow.  I’d love to see if Baum answers the two questions Dr. Hayden posed (especially the first).

ACS isn’t the only “revolt” that is taking place among scientists:

On May 1 2009, the American Physical Society (APS) Council decided to review its current climate statement via a high-level subcommittee of respected senior scientists. The decision was prompted after a group of 54 prominent physicists petitioned the APS revise its global warming position. The 54 physicists wrote to APS governing board: ‘Measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th – 21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent, and the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today.’

The petition signed by the prominent physicists, led by Princeton University’s Dr. Will Happer, who has conducted 200 peer-reviewed scientific studies. The peer-reviewed journal Nature published a July 22, 2009 letter by the physicists persuading the APS to review its statement. In 2008, an American Physical Society editor conceded that a ‘considerable presence’ of scientific skeptics exists.

In addition, in April 2009, the Polish National Academy of Science reportedly ‘published a document that expresses skepticism over the concept of man-made global warming.’ An abundance of new peer-reviewed scientific studies continue to be published challenging the UN IPCC climate views.

I bring these sorts of examples up over and over again because it has become obvious that there is absolutely no scientific “consensus” concerning AGW – none. And those who continue to contend there is are, in fact, the real deniers.

~McQ