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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fruit cake anyone? Or has Anthony Watts finally cracked completely?

Sou | 10:21 AM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

The Tol attack against science

I knew someone once who got angry when he was lying.  I remember thinking, that's a tell tale sign he wasn't telling the truth because he didn't get angry very often.  It was strange to me.

That's by way of introduction to Anthony Watts' latest rant against Cook et al.  How many protests now? Anthony Watts has already been caught out in a whopper of a lie about that study.  Now he's found an ally in another strange character, Dr Richard Tol of the University of Sussex and on the advisory board of the anti-science lobby group the GWPF.  Richard somehow managed to be appointed as a lead author of a chapter in one of the IPCC volumes.  Thankfully not all on his own or who knows what would end up in the report.  He's been on a mission of protest at Cook et al from the outset.  Apparently he tried to write a rebuttal but it was so bad that it didn't ever get accepted for publication.  So now he's trying another tack.  The blog attack.

I don't understand what either of them are on about and I've yet to come across anyone who understands it.  But this pair really don't like the fact that scientists know that global warming is real and caused by human activity.  And they really don't like it that, just like all previous similar studies to date, Cook et al have confirmed that 97% of scientific papers on global warming that attribute a cause, attribute it to human activity.

What is so contentious about that?  It's quite bewildering to you and I.  All you have to do is google "global warming" in Google scholar and you'd know that, if you didn't already know what's causing global warming.  The greenhouse effect has been understood for more than a century. But these people get so upset by this that they make stuff up.  And if 97% didn't agree then surely we'd have heard something from the thousands of scientists by now.

And Richard and Anthony's lies are so easy to check.  I mean they are talking about John Cook "not releasing data".  All you have to do is go to the journal and you'll find all the data anyone needs sitting right there - where it's been sitting since the paper was first published.

Weird, huh?  If they really believed what they are trying to get other people to believe they'd do their own study, or if they were lazy they'd check the papers reviewed by Cook et al.  But no - they are off on some strange tangent about "data" when all the data they need has been sitting right in front of them all along for all the world to see.

There sure are some nutty people in the world  Nutty as a fruit cake!

He even said the study must be wrong because the researchers must have got a bit tired!  (I kid you not!) It looks to me as if Richard is equating a large review of scientific abstracts with a market research poll.  He goes on about "rater fatigue" and "long surveys" and "few researchers".  There were 24 people of whom 12 looked at most of the papers according to the study.  That's a lot of people.  Other similar studies were done by only one, two or three people.  And the study would have taken place over a period of time.  It's not as if they sat in a room answering questions of an interviewer over a day or two.

For example, in the comments people go along with Richard and think that the study was a questionniare with 4,000 questions.  I mean deniers are weird at the best of times, but this takes the (fruit) cake. Duster says:
August 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm
Matt Bergin says: August 28, 2013 at 11:41 am I am surprised anyone would complete a survey consisting of 4000 questions. I suspect most people would be checking random boxes well before the 2000th question mark
That type of “survey” can be considered as 1) slave labor (e.g. students drafted for the duration), 2) beer and booze labor (colleagues lured to help with a promise of beer, whiskey, pizza, etc.), or 3) conviction labor (laborers passionately convinced of their cause). The latter reminds me of R.A.Wilson’s dictum – “convictions make convicts.” From the drop-out rate I suspect the labor pool was drawn from groups two and three. Since members of three are likely to hang in there simply through shear bloody mindedness, that could explain the “drift” as well.
Yeah, Matt and Duster, I'd be surprised too.  But nobody did.  So no need for surprise.

There are some seriously weird people out there in science denier land.


  1. And you could go to any climatological conference and you would notice the consensus.

    Interestingly, Anthony Watts was begging his readers for money to go to the AGU Fall Meeting. Let's hope he pays attention.

    He did not mention anything about a presentation. I know it is different in other fields, but climatologists typically only go to expensive conferences if they contribute something, a poster or a talk.

  2. I too find this all rather amazing. Maybe, technically, we can't prove that those who object to the Cook et al. results are biased in some way, but the evidence would suggest that they very likely are. The only "credible" person to be publicly critical about the results also happens to be an academic advisor to the GWPF and has associated himself with Anthony Watts. One of the main people to criticise the Oreskes (2004) paper was Benny Peiser who is a director of the GWPF. Maybe the GWPF is the only organisation that is able to see through all this terrible research. Then again, maybe not.

  3. Sou, as you know, nothing surprises me anymore from denierville. These people are moronic beyond belief. I am reminded of something my uncle told me once. He used to run a prison. He said, "99.9% of criminals are stupid. The notion of the genius serial killer like Hannibal the cannibal is a complete myth. The vast majority of them though thought they were smart enough to get away with their crimes. Obviously they were mistaken"

    I tend to think climate deniers are the same. They are all moronic beyond belief but think they somehow know.... stuff...despite not ever having undertaken any formal training in science past about year 10. Those that do have degrees and are....prominent...have been shown to have monetary incentive to take a denial position. To me, the fact that these few think that isn't obvious puts them in the moron class as well.

    1. Well, stupid or lazy!

      It doesn't take much effort to research the back-story. Yet not one of them ever does. Which isn't very *sceptical* of them at all.



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