Bloggers' Hall of Amnesia
The publication of my paper on conspiracist ideation was met with several nearly-instant accusations. First out of the gate was the claim that I did not contact 5 “skeptic” or “skeptic-leaning” blogs to link to the survey.
I initially did not release those names because I was concerned about the privacy issues involved, as I explained here. Because a release of names cannot be undone—whereas a delayed release harms no one—I decided to seek guidance from various institutions, foremost among them my own university, before deciding whether or not to release those names.
Shortly thereafter, the first of the 5 bloggers, Mr McIntyre, found his misplaced email.
This leaves us with 4 bloggers whose identity had to remain confidential until now.
I am pleased to report that I received advice from executives of the University of Western Australia earlier today, that no legal or privacy issues or matters of research ethics prevent publication of the names of those bloggers.
So here they are:
- Dr Roger Pielke Jr (he replied to the initial contact)
- Mr Marc Morano (of Climatedepot; he replied to the initial contact)
- Dr Roy Spencer (no reply)
- Mr Robert Ferguson (of the Science and Public Policy Institute, no reply)
It will be noted that all 4 have publically stated during the last few days/weeks that they were not contacted.
At this juncture one might consider a few intriguing questions:
1. When will an apology be forthcoming for the accusations launched against me? And how many individuals should now be issuing a public apology?
To explore the magnitude of this question we must take stock of public statements that have been made about my research. For example, one blogger considered it “highly suspect” whether I had contacted any "skeptic" sites.
Mr McIntyre expended time to locate and then publicize the name of the person within my university to whom complaints about my research should be addressed; time that we now know would have been better spent searching his inbox.
Another individual surmised that "the allegations will be widened to include a clear and deliberate intention to commit academic fraud."
Finally, another individual opined that "the lack of evidence that he tried to contact skeptic blogs" warranted the inference that none had been contacted—we now know that the presumed lack of evidence was actually evidence for a measure of carelessness or shoddy record keeping among the individuals contacted.
In light of such massive, and massively false, allegations numerous apologies ought to be forthcoming.
However, the fact-free echo machines of the internet sit awkwardly with the notion of civility and conversation of which apologies are an integral part. I therefore doubt that any such apologies will be forthcoming.
Instead, I predict that attention will now focus on some of the other accusations and theories.
After all, what better way to avoid learning from one’s errors than by chasing down another rabbit hole.
2. Why would the people who were contacted publically fail to acknowledge this fact?
Several hypotheses could be entertained but I prefer to settle for the simplest explanation.
It's called “human error.” It simply means the 4 bloggers couldn’t find the email, didn’t know what to search for, or their inboxes were corrupted by a move into another building, to name but a few possibilities.
The only fly in the ointment in that hypothesis is that I provided search keys and exact dates and times of some correspondence.
3. Where do we go from here?
That’s easy. On to the next theory, of course.
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Comments 101 to 124 out of 124:
ManBearPig, look up "transient climate response."
You are also saying you need to put in a 300 year difference to achieve the doubling. However, the function should allow for intermediate input of, say, 40 years and let us know where we are at. Since we are well lower than the linear I say we are also extremely likely to be lower with the non-linear estimates.
There's methodologies, e.g., "two box models" , one for the atmosphere ("short latency term") and one for the ocean ("long latency term") that let you estimate these sorts of things. Nick Stokes produced a very nice R-code implementation of this that lets you input total forcing history and global mean temperature to estimate climate sensitivity.
Using his code and that forcing history (2005 GISS Model E I believe) you get about 2.5°C/doubling, if memory serves me. However we're kind of into GIGO here, because the assumed forcings drives the sensitivity (that is obvious, right?), but a major component of the forcings, anthropogenic sulfates and indirect effects like cloud feedback are highly uncertain.
As a result, based on what assumptions you make, you can pretty much dial any sensitivity in over a wide range, and still say semi-consistent with constraints on these uncertain quantities. That's part of why the tail of the distribution for CO2 sensitivity is so fat, and will remain so until the Earth is properly instrumented--which astonishingly it currently is not (this per the GISS people)---to fully track these other variables. [Apparently anthropogenic sulfate emissions are not sexy enough to fund NASA to properly study them. More funding for pet health care, that's the ticket. j/k]
Even if it's not, 300 years is pretty far, I would even say ridiculously far, into the future to know what sort of anthropogenic and technological, and cultural changes there will be. Even 15 years is. Instantaneous change is frankly impossible and impractical.
Yes I agree with you to an extent here. By the way, you might want to jump over to Lucia's blog, she's discussing some of the economic ramifications of uncertainty there. The key thing left out in her discussion so far is that the "high end" of the distribution involves temperature changes that can take an extremely long time to realize (maybe 1000 years for 9C/doubling). n). so the discounted costs will be greatly reduced from what would happen if that warming were to happen over the next 100 years.
The other thing is that the uncertainty in temperature between now and 2050 is mostly associated with anthropogenic aerosols (e.g., China's pollution. These could delay the onset of further warming, even though the equilibrium temperature may be the same. Again this has the effect, after discounting, of reducing actual costs of the increase in temperature.
In almost all scenarios, were you to responsibly spend to ameliorate climate change, the amount you will spend will always be greater than the optimal amount of money that post hoc you should have spent. However, in almost all models, "business as usual" approaches will be substantially more expensive that the amount your economic model tells you in advance that you should spend. If you think about it carefully, the only circumstance where this is not true is if there were no effect from CO2 on climate, which is highly improbable based on well-established physical grounds. You're bucking Max Planck on this one, good luck being right if you think there is no effect.
Put another way, "uncertainty costs money."
Regarding Eli, I think he should not make excuses for poor behavior, regardless of the cause. Poor behavior undermines your own credibility, and the person who is able to remain the most credible to the public, will be the most believable. (I'm pretty sure there are cog psych papers on this.)
Laurie, just give some thought to how easy it was to predict the entire crazy, and then figure out that Prof. L.'s business is figuring out crazy.
Carrick, well Eli won't make a big deal of your behavior. Frankly the Rabett does not have Lew's capacity to deal with tedious foolishness, but again, that is not his business.
Wonderful entertainment, a special thank you all the deniers here for your contributions but also to Stephan for the baited trap. Priceless.
Looking forward to the next episode immensely.
We might wonder if the paper was not simply there as a device to explore the decoy effect in on-line debates about climate change.
The decoy effect might very also explain why Sky dragons are so lukewarmely needed.
Moderator Response: Ad hominem and inflammatory removed
My reason to suspect, on the 1st September, that you had not contacted any skeptic blogs was based on the available evidence. Whilst literally correct - it was a research assistant not named in the paper who did - I accept the evidence that contact was made. However, the evidence wasn't exactly staring them in the face. Some search clues might have been nice without identifying who the contacted people were. Maybe the title of the email, text phrase, exact date etc.
Some compunction about leaping to conclusions "might have been nice."
Weaving twisty semantic paths and quibbling about what "you" means in the context of an organization doesn't do much to repair tattered reputations.
"I didn't pay your bill you sent me because I couldn't figure out what 'you' means." Try that tortured reasoning on your telephone company and see what happens.
ManicBeancounter "However, the evidence wasn't exactly staring them in the face. Some search clues might have been nice..."
Perhaps you should re-read Prof Lewandowsky's remarks under the second heading.
"The only fly in the ointment in that hypothesis is that I provided search keys and exact dates and times of some correspondence."
If 'exact dates and times' backed up with 'search keys' aren't good enough, what on earth would be?
I think some amount of arrogance is required to allow you to launch off into the unknown and say "h*ll yes I can do this". It's a form of presorting, so I think you are probably right about the gist of what you say, even if meant in jest.
Eli it's cool.
Moderator Response: Ad hominem repeat and off-topic removed
Much embarrassment could be spared by reading "Moby Dick" with an eye to spotting lessons embedded in metaphor. If "Moby Dick" is too boring to read again or just doesn't float your boat try instead Miéville's "Rail Sea."
Study questions: Who's Ahab? What is the leviathan? Is Ahab still hunting the whale or has it begun seeking him out?
I consider the use of the term "denier" as grossly insulting. Your comments policy forbids insults. That's hypocrisy in my book.
Your opinion is noted. The policy states:
"Comments using labels like 'alarmist' and 'denier' are usually skating on thin ice."
All comments are evaluated within context, on a case-by-case basis. For my part, I consider the usage of the DH in the American League a travesty.
Tom Fuller #55, Sou #102
Sou is surely right that every researcher is free to make his own decisions about the criteria for inclusion of responses, preferably before carrying out the fieldwork. The point is that in the paper Lewandowsky justifies the decision not to hunt out gamers by saying that they will only produce “noise”, whereas the two respondents accused of being fakes are quite clearly not “noise”, but constitute a major part of the signal for several key findings.
'The point is that in the paper Lewandowsky justifies the decision not to hunt out gamers by saying that they will only produce "noise", whereas the two respondents accused of being fakes are quite clearly not "noise", but constitute a major part of the signal for several key findings.'
Please read Dr. Lewandowsky's next post on this matter. He demonstrates that this assumption is baseless. This is the danger inherent in expounding upon areas in which you have no expertise. But the AGW contrarians would never do anything like that, would they? :-)
Most climate skeptic bloggers that you or your assistant contacted did not reply. Therefore you ended up with few serious skeptic responses. My conclusion: what ever you write in your article, it could not have much bearing on the views of real climate skeptics. Your article is an emperor without cloths.
You believe that I owe you an apology for failing to believe you. I have thought long and hard about this, and give a comprehensive explanation of lack of trust at my own blog.
Moderator Response: Link snipped due to accusations of dishonesty on the linked blog post.
Prof Lewandowsky states
For example, one blogger considered it “highly suspect” whether I had contacted any "skeptic" sites
That blogger was me.
As in the recent FOI release to Prof Lewandowsky received express permission to conceal that he was behind the survey when "skeptic" blogs were contacted, I would ask that an addendum be placed to clarify the situation. As Lewandowsky is fond of stating, once misinformation is out in the public arena, it is very difficult to counteract them with the true state of affairs.
P.S. If Professor Lewandowsky still maintains that this is the true state of affairs, I offer him the opportunity to argue that case on my blog. I believe that the best way to counteract misinformation is to enable people to compare and contrast the differing arguments.
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