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Monday, August 5, 2013

Wondering Willis as a concerned climate scientist (showing his sexism)

Sou | 1:57 PM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

Wondering Willis Eschenbach has written an open letter (archived here) to the incoming editor-in-chief of Science, and he says in part:
The problems have involved two main issues in the field I’m involved in, climate science.
Will Dr McNutt turn to Science to find his myriad publications?  Will she turn to Nature? Journal of Climate? PNAS?  Eventually she may turn to that august publication, Energy and Environment.  Then she might google and find most of Wondering Willis' "climate science" is at the world's most famous anti-science blog, WUWT.

Okay, I shouldn't mock.  At least Willis made an effort and found a publisher albeit not with a crash hot reputation.  But seriously? He's "involved" in the field of climate science?

Where's the evidence of no evidence? Science mag is only good for toilet paper!??

There's more.  Ironic too, because Willis calls for "data and code" but provides no evidence it's not provided!  And he accuses Science of not reviewing papers properly before publication, saying Science Mag is only good for toilet paper, or would be if Willis wasn't so fussy about not using shiny paper.
The problems have involved two main issues in the field I’m involved in, climate science. The first issue is that despite repeated requests, past Science Magazine editors have flouted your own guidelines for normal scientific transparency. You continue to publish articles about climate science without requiring that the authors archive their data and code as required by your own rules. It appears that the rules about archiving data and code are enforced for the little people like myself, but when the Editors of Science want to promote a point of view, the rules don’t apply … funny how that works.
The second issue is that in climate science, far too often Science magazine editors have substituted pal review for peer review. As a result, people laugh at the bumf that passes for climate science in your pages. They don’t disagree with your articles. They laugh at your articles. I’m told that in some scientific circles, it’s only the glossy unabsorbent nature of the magazine’s paper that keeps the climate science articles from being used, perhaps more appropriately, for hygienic purposes … seriously, you have published some really risible, really shabby, grade-school level studies in climate science. It’s embarrassing.

Not just unsubstantiated claims and insults, but sexism as well

Then Willis gets more than a tad sexist, writing:
The problem is that you are extremely well educated, strong, strikingly good looking, and a wicked smart woman by all accounts … and while those are all good things, that’s a scary combination. One downside of that particular melange is that as a result, it’s very possible that people, particularly men, haven’t told you the unvarnished truth in years. So some of what I have to say may be a surprise to you.... more schoolmarmish lectures

The Gish Gallop

Willis then embarks on a very long denier rant.  A veritable gish gallop.  Nothing new there.  Just the normal denier gumpf. For example - if you'll excuse the precis and what I take Willis to mean:

...and lots more in that vein.  Mostly of the "personal incredulity" type.

Typical concern troll obsequiousness

Finally, after attacking the new editor-in-chief and the journal Science and earth system scientists everywhere, Willis does what obsequious people do, he finishes with this pretence:
My very best regards to you, and my best wishes for your tenure as Editor-In-Chief, and for the magazine in your hands,

Yuck! I call BS to his "best regards" and "best wishes".

I wonder if the letter will get the waste paper bin treatment straight away or if she'll respond?  After all, Willis wasn't really writing for the benefit of editor-in-chief of Science, he was writing for WUWT deniers.

Willis explains his evangelical "motives"

Willis Eschenbach says she needs to be anti-science, not pro-science, just like the good and faithful science deniers at WUWT:
August 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm  Jeremy Das says:August 4, 2013 at 7:01 pm Willis, I don’t think you can have realised how your letter comes across. I see it as intrusively personal, emotional/emotive in tone rather than professional, patronising in a creepily sexist way – and therefore insincere-seeming where it is presumably intended to be genuinely complimentary, and far too long.
Jeremy, thanks for your opinion. You share what seems to be a common misconception, that my intention was to convince her of the error of her ways. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I was perfectly sincere in my compliments, just as I was perfectly sincere in everything else I said. But I didn’t write it to try to be her friend, or to be nice to her, or to get her to see it my way.
I wrote it because I want her to know that people out here are angry about the unending bullshit. I wrote it because she needs to know that people are watching her actions. I wrote it to show her that mindlessly parroting the party line is not seen as science out here in the real world. I wrote it as a deliberate affront to her beliefs.
I wrote it to remind her that science is about evidence, not endless repetition of warnings of future disasters. I wrote it to try to get her to pull up short.
But I’m under no illusions as to the odds of her doing that, so it’s not my real goal. As I said, your misunderstanding is the idea that I wrote it to convinceher. Nothing of the sort.
I wrote it to expose her.
I didn’t want to convince her of the error of her ways.
I wanted to expose her to the consequences of her ways, which is that the magazine will continue to sink, and people will point and laugh.

I'm sure scientists all around the world are quaking in the boots barely shrugging their shoulders at the thought of science deniers pointing and laughing at science.  What's new?

Some of us "not a climate scientists" point and laugh at denier weirdness all the time.

PS. Just remembered this - another indication that Willis hasn't got a clue when it comes to top-ranking weekly journals like Science.  (He says he subscribes but there's little evidence he reads.)  You may recall how Willis complained that Marcott et al  didn't put their spreadsheets in the main paper and he had to go to the supplementary material to get it!

You think I'm joking? This is what he wrote as part of WUWT's Protest No. 7 of 30 plus at Marcott et al (my emphasis):

Nowhere in the paper do they show you the raw data
although it’s available in their Supplement. I hate it when people don’t show me their starting point.


  1. This seems linked to the Tamsin Edwards article - deliberately or accidentally. Scientists should not be activists. Engineers turned masseurs can, obviously, but not prestigious science journals. I think we may be seeing another front opening up since the deniers have lost the consensus argument, Tol notwithstanding, and the science isn't going their way. So, the argument is now scientists can do science but not say anything about the wider implications of it. Let's leave that to politicians, hereditary peers, English graduates, failed weather presenters and their ilk.

    1. Yes, you're spot on Catmando. I didn't see it immediately because I was distracted by the gish gallop and sexism. But you're correct.

      Willis goes further. Not only doesn't want scientists to discuss the implications of their work, he doesn't want them to make projections. He doesn't want them to discuss what the evidence of the past and present indicates for the future. He'd rather that be left to the David "funny sunny" Archibalds and other deniers on WUWT, so they can keep shifting the impending ice age forward a year at a time.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Sue may I suggest to remove the above comment, which would be unacceptable if directed at climate scientists and those who accept science.
      On censorship, double standards and name-calling on WUWT

    2. Thanks Sou and sorry for the typo.

    3. Ian, sorry about that.

      Victor had a point. But I also know from reading twitter comments that you're not alone in finding what Willis wrote a great deal more than distasteful.

      (I'm also very conscious of the fact that the internet means this blog has a wide international readership and different cultures have different thresholds of offense, as do different generations. I expect I cross some thresholds myself quite often. I'm probably from a rougher generation and nation in some respects.)

  3. Ye gods, what a contemptible worm. As a USGS geophysicist, I like most others got to know Director McNutt rather well via her weekly "Monday message" to the survey, discussing everything from science to current events. Mr. Eschenbach is intellectually so far below her that a multi-decade log scale would be required to plot their relative rank. If he were a USGS employee and addressed any female colleague in such a manner, he'd find himself on the receiving end of a disciplinary action.


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