WUWT is one of the main disseminators of lies about scientists in the climate blogosphere. Anthony Watts has, at times, tried the defense that he doesn't read what goes up on his blog. As publisher, I doubt would hold up in court. In any case, he also is a source of some of the lies about science and scientists.
Today he provides another illustration of how climate disinformers try to cement a lie as "fact" in the minds of their readers. Anthony Watts published an article by Tim Ball (archived here). In it he tells so many lies and misrepresents so many people I reckon it could almost form the basis of a class action suit, if scientists decided to do so.
Tim Ball can't even get his lies right!
Let me add, that Tim Ball can't even keep his lies straight. His opening sentence is:
The most recent aberration of climate science is the apparent cherry picking of ocean temperature data by government scientists, Richard Feely and Christopher Sabine.Except the lie about Drs Feely and Sabine related to pH not temperature.
"Slur and Slurp" strategy
This article isn't about ocean acidification. It's about how climate disinformers spread lies. In particular, the use of the "slur and slurp" strategy, which is quite simple:
- The slur: Plant the seed of the lie in enough places
- Eventually someone will water the seed and it will grow and bear fruit
- Sit back smugly and slurp the fruits of your sins.
1. The slur: plant the seed of the lie
The way it works is an old strategy, well known to gossip-mongers and share market traders. First you "seed" a false story. The fake story in this case was that two scientists "hid" data. It's a blatant lie of course. It is a complete fabrication. The reverse is true. The scientists have been instrumental in collecting and collating data, not hiding it.
Intelligent share traders are well aware of this strategy. There are unscrupulous people who "hype and dump" or "pump and dump" or "slur and slurp" (see here for an explanation). They will plant a rumour on a share trading discussion board, for example. The rumour is spread around discussion boards and the unwary start buying (or selling) the stock. It takes a little while for the stock market people to query the company in question about the unusual change in price and get a response and publish it. In the meantime, the person who planted the initial seed has bought low and sold high (or shorted the stock and sold low) and made a packet. Sometimes they get caught and end up in prison.
Gossip-mongers rely on people believing the saying "no smoke without fire".
This is how climate disinformers work. They seed a lie and watch it spread all around the deniosphere. If they are "lucky", the lie will get picked up by the mainstream media, as happened with the stolen CRU emails. (The media having been bitten badly. is a bit more cautious with climate denier scams these days.)
How Mike Wallace planted the seedThe seed for the first targets of this new libel was planted by someone named Mike Wallace, a year or so back as I understand it. He planted a false allegation about two of the world's leading scientists in ocean acidification - Drs Christopher Sabine and Richard Feely.
It looks as if Mike Wallace tried to plant the seed of the story with Steve McIntyre. It died before sprouting. Steve didn't do anything with it as far as I'm aware.
Mike was successful in planting the seed with a writer called Marita Noon. Marita Noon said that it was Mike Wallace who came to her (with his false allegations). You can read about Marita Noon on SourceWatch and the Heartland Institute. Among other things she is Executive Director for what looks like a pro-fossil fuel organisation (of one person?), Energy Makes America Great Inc.
2. Watch the seed grow and bear fruit
Having planted the seed, all that Mike Wallace needed to do was sit back and watch it grow. His job was done. (Planting the seed successfully has not been sufficient for Mike Wallace. He has also spread the lie by petition. Yes - he really has.)
Ms Noon was a good choice for Mike Wallace. (That is, unless the one or other or both scientists decide to take advantage of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund and take him and CFACT and Marita Noon and WUWT and Tim Ball all the other scoundrels to court.) She elaborated on Mike Wallace's lie in an article for CFACT.
When Marita Noon first got hold of the story is unclear. When CFACT published the lie is clear. It was on 22 December 2014, just a few days ago. The story spread around the deniosphere to Marc Morano's disinformation clearing house, ClimateDepot and to WUWT and elsewhere.
3. Mike Wallace and CFACT slurp up the fruits of their sin
The big lie
In the CFACT article, Marita Noon falsely claimed that the two scientists deliberately withheld data. She wrote:
Feely’s work is based on computer models that don’t line up with real-world data—which Feely acknowledged in e-mail communications with Wallace (which I have read). And, as Wallace determined, there are real world data. Feely and his coauthor Dr. Christopher L. Sabine, PMEL Director, omitted 80 years of data, which incorporate more than 2 million records of ocean pH levels.
Feely’s chart, first mentioned, begins in 1988—which is surprising, as instrumental ocean pH data have been measured for more than 100 years — since the invention of the glass electrode pH (GEPH) meter.
Now that's a contradiction straight off. Marita claimed that Dr Feely's work is based on computer models (and I expect a lot of it is supported by scientific modeling studies), but then goes on to talk about a chart that is of actual observations - from Hawaii since 1998. There are pH readings going back a long way, but they are sparse and of limited value when considering global changes (as I've discussed previously).
She then ludicrously writes:
Wallace was then able to extract the instrumental records he sought and turned the GEPH data into a meaningful time series chart, which reveals that the oceans are not acidifying.
I've already discussed (here and here) how "meaningful" Mike Wallace's ridiculous effort was. He hasn't the first clue about ocean pH.
Oh, and would you believe, Marita slips in the stock standard denying politician's get out clause: "I am not a scientist, but ..."
Why I wrote this article
This article was mainly to show how lies get propagated in the deniosphere. I'll point out that Tim Ball didn't quote Hitler this time around. But don't heave a sigh of relief just yet. Instead he quoted Osama bin Laden! (Tim Ball has strange heroes.)
After repeating the faked up rumours about Drs Feely and Sabine, Tim went on and talked about a number of other prominent scientists, trying to make out they were dishonest. He has a real problem, which I hope will get partly addressed in the defamation cases against him - or future ones. He asks for it.
From the WUWT comments
daveandrews723 may be correct or not, if he is, it will be for different reasons to what he surmises:
January 2, 2015 at 9:52 am
All excellent points. This will go down as one of the “dark ages” of science.
Doug Proctor is a grade one climate conspiracy theorist:
January 2, 2015 at 9:55 am (extract only)
Bad science in geology is just bad science. You read it and dismiss it – the conclusions, that is, because generally the observations are solid. The difference with climate science is that ANY science, good or bad, is governmentally and ideologically supported if the conclusions are pro-CAGW, and not supported if it is anti-CAGW....
cnxtim is a member of the scientific illiterati who shudders with contempt - of science:
January 2, 2015 at 10:14 am
The final absurdity of the warmists creed is that any change upwards in the earth’s observable climate is all bad for everyone and everything. Surely even the most fervent disciple can see the idiocy of that position? But no, they do not – I shudder with contempt.
Louis has fallen for the "big lie" hook, line and sinker. He even elaborates on it, in the style of recursive fury.
January 2, 2015 at 11:36 am
If showing the historical pH data “wouldn’t have changed one part of what they have shown,” then why did Sabine stubbornly refuse to provide the data when requested? Why not provide the data with an explanation of why they thought it was unreliable and let people decide for themselves? Isn’t that the proper way to do science? When you hide data, it makes you look like you’re trying to hide something. That’s because you are.
LearDog thinks Tim Ball ought to look for other heroes:
January 2, 2015 at 10:53 am
Really? Really? Osama bin Laden as arbiter of morality in the West? Wouldn’t the Pope have sufficed?
The extreme rhetoric distracts from the main points I think.
Ed Brown probably believes in Lizard Men and one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eaters, too:
January 2, 2015 at 11:32 am
Thanks, Dr. Ball. Your essays are an enormous reservoir of well reasoned arguments. I’m archiving them. I do it for the children. Their elders may be beyond hope. Climastrology seems an apt term.
Mike M. isn't buying it and vows to ignore articles by Tim Ball:
January 2, 2015 at 12:36 pm
This is ridiculous.
“the apparent cherry picking of ocean temperature data by government scientists, Richard Feely and Christopher Sabine” by “temperature” do you mean pH.
The data were not in any way cherry picked. The graph was labelled “Hawaii”; no claim that it was global. What was shown was the high quality time series data specifically obtained with the rigorous controls needed to identify long term trends. For the entire time series. That consisted of CO2 data for Mauna Loa (the entire time series) and pH and p_CO2 data for Station Aloha (the entire time series). No cherry picking. They did not show the CO2 data for Antarctica or elsewhere because the graph was for Hawaii. They did not show pH data for elsewhere either. They also did not add a bunch of crappy CO2 data to the graph just because it exists (I am sure one could find some crappy CO2 data somewhere). Nor did they add crappy pH data just because it exists.
For years I went along with the IPCC position because the criticism was almost entirely nonsense. Eventually I realized that within that ocean of nonsense there were some islands of reasonable criticism. This whole pHraud business just adds to the flood of nonsense and makes it harder for the real criticism to break through.
I hereby make myself a promise: When I see an article by Tim Ball, I will ignore it. Which, based on prior experience, I should have done when I saw that this was by Tim Ball.
That's as good a comment as any to finish on. Most of the commenters bought the lies as intended. They are a stupid lot at WUWT, and most of them are not the least interested in questioning what they read on their favourite anti-science blog. They find there are people who are willing to feed them what they want to believe - and that's enough to satisfy them. If they had a terminal disease they'd probably shop around for a quack to tell them they will live forever - and be satisfied with that, until their time inevitably comes.