Wednesday, September 17, 2014

OAS - The No-Name Society Hides its Light

Sou | 6:09 PM Go to the first of 45 comments. Add a comment

This is a follow on to my previous article about Anthony Watts' big announcement of a new "sceptic" organisation for open atmospherics.

Here is some more detail, if you can call it that, about the OAS. No, it's not the Organization of American States - oas.org. Nor is it the short-lived Organisation de l'armée secrète. And don't confuse it with the OSS.

This is the Open Atmospheric Society or Free Air Society or whatever - theoas.org.

I've had a chance to look over the OAS website. Two words come to mind: Mickey and Mouse. It doesn't have a professional look and feel. It's a WordPress site "under construction" though not labelled as such. It's not finished by a long shot. Maybe they need funds from member subs before fixing it. (It's still got all the alpha and beta stuff in there. Not prime time.)

No names

The most curious thing about it is that not a single person is publicly formally associated with the society. The only names to be seen anywhere - at WUWT and at the OAS website, in any direct capacity, are Stephen and Dr. Mary Graves, which could be the Stephen and Mary Graves Family Foundation. They put up some money to get the show on the road.

John Coleman and Joseph D’Aleo are mentioned in the press release giving testimonials. John Coleman said he looked forward to being a member (would he qualify for full membership? I don't think he has a science degree, his degree is in journalism). Otherwise there is no suggestion that they are associated with the formation of the organisation (though you could take a guess). Anthony Watts has his name on a dummy article.  Of these three, it looks as if Joe D'Aleo is the only one who would qualify for full membership, which is open to:
An individual with a Bachelors or higher level degree in Atmospheric sciences, Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences, General Science, Technology, or Engineering – OR- an individual that has at least three (3) published peer reviewed papers an individual that has at least three (3) published peer reviewed papers in any accredited peer review publications that have an ISSN designation.

I could not find a single name associated with the organisation in any official capacity. There are no directors - they are still to come. There is supposedly an executive director already appointed (according to the charter), but not identified anywhere. It's a "no name" organisation.

Whoever is in on this is very shy. Not a single person willing to be associated with it directly, except for John Coleman who is looking forward to being a member, and the commenters at WUWT who've said they've joined up. And they mostly use pseudonyms or first names only.

So much for transparency and shining a light on truth!

Strange name and motto

I wonder if they used a professional to help pick the name? It's a strange one. The Open Atmospheric Society. Not atmospheric science. Not earth science. The initials are unfortunate. Anyone looking for oas.org will end up at the Organization of American States.

The motto is "Verum in Luce". Veritas would have been better than verum I'd have thought, unless they are talking about some intrinsic truth about photons. But I'm not fluent in Latin. Anthony Watts says it means Truth in the Light. AFAIK verum is a specific truth about something, whereas veritas is about truth in a general sense. Perhaps someone who's studied Latin can shine some light on this :)

[Update: GM has commented on the motto. I also think I've figured out where Anthony Watts got it from. Not from any knowledge of Latin. Not from the Classics. I reckon he used Google Translate! ha ha. Sou 19 Sept 14]

What's weird is this notion of shining a light or getting at the truth, while hiding behind an organisation. As I said earlier - I could not find the name of a single person listed on the website in any official capacity whatsoever. The only names are those of the people who gave the start up grant - and even that could be a foundation rather than individuals.

A shaky start

The society is off to a shaky start. So far, they've had donations of $330 (probably excluding the startup grant) and 25 people have signed up to get emails. Not as stunning a result as the Climate Council, which raised $1m in only a few days after Tony Abbott got rid of the Climate Commission. The USA has more than 10 times more people than Australia. And the society is supposed to be international - so it has potentially 7 billion donors. Maybe it's decided on a slow and steady approach. I have a feeling that most full members will be engineers who happen to be climate science deniers. There just aren't enough research scientists who would want to be associated with it. I'd be surprised if it could snag someone like Judith Curry.

Role and purpose

They have a charter and goals. The charter is simple. The goals are primitive and full of conspiracy ideation (by implication). For example:

  • To provide an organization that offers an alternative to the highly politicized organizations that exist now.
  • To offer a safe place where ideas may be exchanged and examined without fear of retribution.
  • To provide a scientific journal where publications can be made where no politically motivated peer review interference occurs. Papers must be replicable and pass on merit, not on a viewpoint.

It's not that the goals aren't worthy, it's the implication that there is a big bad world of science out there, full of bogey men out to snare poor little fake sceptics or stop them from publishing their fake science.

There you have it. Or what of it there is to know. Oh, except for some additional tidbits in the comments to my previous article on the subject, h/t Marco. Apparently Anthony Watts announced it at the Heartland Conference in Las Vegas this year.

Is Anthony the executive director? Someone else? Anthony was looking for a job earlier this year. I doubt he'd qualify as a full member so I don't think he could be on the board of directors, except as ED.

Let's be positive - if possible

I don't want to come across too negatively. There is a slim chance that this organisation will publish some good science. I say slim, because I'm finding it hard to imagine any real scientists wanting to be associated with it. That means that the review pool will probably be very thin and not of any quality. But you never know. I wish them well, but won't be holding my breath.

If they are able to deliver good science or make a decent contribution to public debate and policy, they'll fail the fake sceptics' aspirations.

So it's a double bind.

From the WUWT comments

Can't be bothered with the comments from WUWT. I've updated the archive here if you are interested. Oh, alright then. Just a few.

September 16, 2014 at 9:03 am
The Open Atmospheric Society is going to be cloud based. I’m sure there’s a joke in the somewhere.
BTW, congratulations to everyone involved in setting this up.

Travis Casey
September 16, 2014 at 9:16 am
Best of luck with this endeavor. I fear that the establishment science community will treat this like they do open debate. There will be an aversion to publishing in the journal so as not to legitimize it. Then they can compare it to Fox News and laugh. The model-based “science” will still have their pet publications for alarm. At least it is a step in the right direction. 

September 16, 2014 at 9:33 am
I’m signed up as an associate. I don’t drink.
They may laugh at this in public, but behind closed doors… they will be sweating. This is an important initiative.Get something published from Judith Curry right away.

September 16, 2014 at 9:38 am
Congrats! Lifetime Founding Associate Member application and payment submitted. 

September 16, 2014 at 9:55 am
it must be replicable, with all data, software, formulas, and methods submitted with the paper. …..
I hope that works out…….it’s going to be difficult with most of the facts being conjecture, and most of the history fabricated 

cjames prefers extremist right wing bias to scientific bias:
September 16, 2014 at 10:05 am
I am a Fellow of the AMS but dropped my membership several years ago due to its political bias. This organizations sounds like a great idea. I will join and I wish it great success. 

Terry Oldberg
September 16, 2014 at 10:47 am
Climatology has been plagued by applications of the equivocation fallacy resulting from ambiguity of reference by terms in the language of climatology This has resulted in widespread misperception of a pseudo-science as a science .Thus, it would be well if the authors of articles submitted for publication to the new journal were to be required to write them in a disambiguated language developed for this purpose by the OAS. 

September 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm
Thinking along the same line.
As state sponsored “scientific concensus” on global warming is proven wrong by actual scientists.
And not just your run of the mill skeptic like myself.
The grants will start to dry up as the politicians that sign off on them.
Come to the shocking reality that they are going to be far more accountable to the owners of those monies they are handing over.
This little provision is going to be the cause for extreme angst among the Manns and co. of the fraud that is global warming.
“Open journal— The Journal of the OAS will be free to read by the public. Open science— a transparent online peer review process”.
Behold, the emperor has new clothes! 

Kevin Hearle
September 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm
Congratulations Anthony and all the team that was involved with you in creating this important new organisation to further open access science. The public across the world will thank you all. The formation of this organisation will shake the foundations of the established societies and not before time. 

Bloke down the pub - asking about Kenji 
September 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm
Anthony, will Kenji be taking out membership? 

Will Robertson  (is this a Poe?)
September 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm
Dear Gentlemen all,
I heartily endorse your efforts at creating a counterculture professional organization butting heads with the current madness concerning AGW. My best wishes to all of you who are arguing on the right side of the scientific and philosophical fence. However, even though I am but a simple meteorological technician, a work-a-day forecaster, out here in the hinterlands of the Desert Southwest, I can see that many of you for whom I have great respect have missed a (if not THE) basic tenant of the whole AWG regulatory push. At least I don’t see it written about much. Please consider that this whole kerfuffle is NOT about controlling climate chemistries for the benefit of mankind, it IS about controlling the actions of whole populations on a global scale for the benefit of those would be our dictatorial overlords. One government controlling all of humanity is their goal – with them in control. AWG is just one of the current vehicles designed to carry these individuals forward toward their goals of 1) setting enforcable global law precedent, 2) enriching those who are foisting, controlling and providing future management of these regulations, and 3) maintaining these individuals in positions of power because, of course, they are the solitary holders of the wisdom to know what is best for all the rest of us. IMHO, for them, scientific truth is irrelevant and in actuality an obstacle toward their intended ends. Dare I suggest that we are in a political power war, not a scientific opinion debate? However, scientific truth is gradually providing ammunition against these Napoleon Complex power brokers, so please keep up the good work. 

Tom is the only person I noticed who showed any curiosity about who might be involved in the organisation. And that was limited to Anthony Watts himself.
September 16, 2014 at 4:02 pm
Anthony, this seems like a welcome initiative, with open peer review. Who could sla y that idea? Could you just make it clear to the community if you have any financial interest, whatsoever, in The Open Atmospheric Society, OAS.org, or any derivative thereof?

Steven Mosher
September 16, 2014 at 5:25 pm
just because people submit code and data doesnt mean its replicateable.
just a nit.. otherwise, nice idea. wish you well!


  1. That comment thread is full of conspiracy ideation. It is extremely funny how these political extremists act as if they are interested in science.

    They may laugh at this in public, but behind closed doors… they will be sweating.

    Oh yes, I am sweating, you bet. Trembling with fear. Just made an emergency doctors appointment. My weak heart may stop beating any minute.

    1. They simply don't understand how scientists select journals to report findings. No climate scientist is going to consider what is essentially a non-existent journal a suitable place to publish a shopping list let alone anything significant.

  2. "The Phlogiston Society" almost suggests itself.

  3. Hot tip for first paper "UHI in South Pole"

  4. the last Mosher's comment is strange. What does he want ? That, along with code and data, someone shall bring a virtual machine emulating the hardware and software on which the code was run ? Or do I overinterpret ?

    1. Maybe he's referring to the idea that if you run the exact same code with the exact same data (a la Wegman) you will get the exact same answer but all you have shown is that two maths floating point coprocessors give the same result.

    2. which would mean that he at last aknowledged that replicability is not tied to code. Or I mix him with McIntyre for that matter, the latter claiming in my memories that you should have the same exact code to replicate results ; in my mind, Mosher was along that line too.

      Guess I will have to do some backtracking, the more I write the less sure I am. Thanks for having brought at least some doubt in my muddied mind :]

    3. "...McIntyre for that matter, the latter claiming in my memories that you should have the same exact code to replicate results..."

      Well yes, to get the same result as McIntyre, Wegman had to replicate the same cherrypick. http://deepclimate.org/2010/11/16/replication-and-due-diligence-wegman-style/

      "Indeed, the real reasons Wegman et al never released “their” code nor associated information are now perfectly clear. Doing so would have amounted to an admission that the supposed “reproduction” of the M&M results was nothing more than a mechanical rerun of the original script"

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

    1. If Watts's UHI paper is anything to go by this site will remain Under Construction indefinitely. Which, from the AGW deniers perspective, is a good thing, since such a journal would undercut the denier fantasy that there's a wealth of 'anti-AGW science' out there which just can't get published algore benghazi fnord.

    2. Chico, Alabama? Methinks not. Get rid of the phone number too. He may be an idiot but that shouldn't be publicised.

      R The anon

    3. What Dave cleverly found was that it was Anthony Watts who's listed as the contact, admin and technical person for the OAS website. (The little denier OAS organisation that is, not the main OAS.)

      R the anon is correct. Unlike WUWT, no personal details of other people should be posted here. (Just like, unlike WUWT, I respect a person's right to use a pseudonym. HotWhopper is a civilised blog.)

    4. Hmmm. How does this differ from the Arxiv project?

      I wonder what the revelation that it is apparently an Anthony Watts project will do for prospective members and contributors, given his record of mendacity and anti-science?

      Nearly 24 hours after he announced it at WUWT, the worlds 'most widely-read' climate change website, donations to the new body remain remain stubbornly fixed at $330 and the organisation has gained 1 more follower, a total of 26.

      Maybe now that there is an outlet for the purpose, we will see a flood of all the devastating and high-quality evidence against the reality of AGW that we all know is out there and which the mainstream journals have been rejecting or suppressing.

      Or maybe it will be an embarrassing failure, quietly dropped. Popcorn, please.

    5. It's claimed AOS will have a review process before approval for publication. Since it's unlikely there'll be many people available for review, I don't think it will be too different to the moderation at arXiv. And it will be a fairly small clique that publishes - if it gets any papers at all. And probably the same people doing the reviewing and writing, though not reviewing their own work I expect. Bit like Pattern Recognition, though more SPPI denier types I expect. Probably worse than E&E.

    6. OAS / AOS - I've forgotten the acronym already :(

    7. The registrar on various sites I run lists its own mailbox and phone number, not mine.

      Maybe Watts is just taking a principled stand against anonymity? (Or more likely he doesn't care.)

    8. The organization owning OAS is listed as ItWorks, a company owned by Anthony Watts. The phone number listed for contact information appears to run to the same location as ItWorks, and may well be a phone owned by the company - i.e., not Watts direct number, but one for a business he owns.

      So yes, this appears to be an effort almost if not entirely by Watts. It will be interesting, to say the least, to see if he gets anyone else to buy into it, to associate their names with this shell.

  6. I thought you'd made a copying error in your quote about full membership...
    Nope. That's exactly as written on the site. Some real quality proofreading right there.

    1. ha ha. I missed that one.

      WUWT-ers picked up quite a few things that the proof reader missed, too. Like I said, the site isn't ready for prime time yet.

    2. The mistake in that part doesn't bother me too much. It's the "any accredited peer review publications that have an ISSN designation" that makes me laugh.

      ISSN is just an identifier that allows one to distinguish between periodic publications. That's it. Nothing more. You can get it by starting a periodical. All you need is providing this information:

      publisher’s name,
      medium, etc.

      supporting documents (copies):
      title page,
      cover page,
      editorial page,
      pdf or jpg of the jacket (if the publication is on CD-Rom),
      URL (if the resource is online)

      Since all the predatory open access journals that I know have an ISSN, just about any idiot can get himself 3 publications in such a journal (yes, it will cost a little bit), and then apply for full membership!

    3. A certain dog astrology journal comes to mind. I suppose we have to remember who Anthony's peers actually are.

  7. Silly Sou, the motto refers to the angels in the photons which ensure that the greenhouse effect doesn't happen with increased CO2, as per what the denialists have been telling you for years.

  8. In light of all the recent calamities, the attempts to undermine the science to create doubt shows me that we live in dangerous times. And not just from mother nature.

  9. 'It is killing us boss in the market place of ideas that we do not have ANY peer reviewed papers. Complaining that it is a closed shop just does not cut it.'
    Anthony (Soprano) Watts ejaculates 'we have to go legit and start up a Journal to publish our results'.
    'You mean we are going straight boss?'
    'No it will just look like it. Should be enough to fool the usual stupes we have as customers.'

  10. Phoning the number listed in Dave's comment, prior to its removal, was an interesting experience.
    The operator, Billy Roy, had to put me on hold while he and his buddies took off the wheels and removed the chocks on the OAS office, replacing them with jack supports. He seemed a little down about the office's front deck "collapsin' an killin' seven huntin' dawgs" which effectively eliminated Team OAS from the Annual Raccoon Run starting in mid-October.
    Billy Roy was very upbeat about the complimentary voucher that comes with an OAS membership and gets the member a freebie of the OAS logo at Tattoo City. But, although he was enthusiastic about the impact that OAS would have on climate science research, I suspect that Billy Roy thinks the last line of The Star-Spangled Banner is "Drivers, start your engines!"

  11. Strange Motto: "The motto is "Verum in Luce". … Anthony Watts says it means Truth in the Light. AFAIK verum is a specific truth about something, whereas veritas is about truth in a general sense. Perhaps someone who's studied Latin can shine some light on this :)"

    My four (distinguished) years of high school Latin tell me that "Veritas in Luce" specifically means "Truth in the Light" while "Verum in Luce" means "(A) True (Thing) in the Light" or "(A) Real (Thing) in the Light" which could translate as "A Truth in Light" i.e. veritas is a noun (veritates is the plural) and verum is an adjective (vera is the plural). So, "verum amor" means "true love" and "ave verum corpus" is "behold the true body" (a hymn written by Mozart), "ex luce veritas" means "from light, truth" and "in vino veritas" is "in wine (there is) truth".

    In summary, "verum" is an "odd" choice for the word 'truth' given that amongst University Mottos, "veritas" and its other forms are used about 93% of the time for truth instead of "verum" and its other forms. American universities seem to exclusively use "veritas". But in Anthony's defence, the Romans used the word "ferrum" to mean both iron and a short sword ("gladius") because the Roman short sword was made from iron. It's just a suggestion, but the OAS motto could be changed to "Veritas Mea Lux Non Est" or "Truth is Not my Light" (or is that "Veritas Meum Lucem Non Est"?)

    1. I had an idea about how Anthony Watts might have got his motto. It seemed very unlikely that he ever studied Latin or Classics or knew anyone who had.

      So I tested it out.

      (Hint: Google translate recently added Latin to it's list of languages. ha ha ha)

      Would you believe he Google Translated it! No checking needed. That's in keeping with the overall tackiness, the unprofessional, unacademic look and feel, and the anti-intellectual conspiracy theme permeating the OAS (wordpress) website.

    2. Hilarious! And if you reverse it, do you get 'Truth in the Light'? No, you get "But in the light of".... see here. Nice motto, somehow rather apt!

    3. I had another thought. This time why Anthony oddly called it the Open Atmospheric Society instead of, say, the Open Atmospheric Science Society, still less the Atmospheric Science Society :)

    4. Just to add to the mirth, I think it has religious (rather than scientific) overtones:


      "Su lema episcopal era Verum in luce. Bonum in cruce. Virgo in omni patria et in corde."

      Perhaps Anthony has found his road to Damascus

    5. Well done, Sou. Your efforts in tracking down the source of the OAS motto is like watching a Quincy ME episode. Next step is an endorsement of the motto from that classical windbag, Monckers. On another topic, there are apparently 67 variations on the acronym OAS such as Oral Allergy Syndrome, Office of Addiction Services and On Another Subject (... if not another planet).

    6. Nicely done Sou re the motto. As to the name, perhaps it refers to an atmosphere of openness, in contrast to the totalitarian hell-hole which is the mainstream scientific world.

      As for 'Bonum in cruce', maybe there is a god after all, at least for comedians in the land of Tony 'I could have been a cardinal, you know' Abbott.

  12. And the first publication of the Open Atmospheric Society has hit the streets, EXTRA! EXTRA!


    1. I guess Anthony thinks his blog isn't quite proper enough and he reposts at his OAS website.

      Preferred links to archived versions:
      WUWT https://archive.today/v3lFZ
      OAS https://archive.today/31YaT

      How does an organisation with no board, no Executive Director, no editorial staff, no staff of any kind as far as we know, and only 100 ragtag members signed up (probably most as associate members) - how does it get to issue a press release.

      Puzzling . It couldn't just be a dummy blog for WUWT now could it? Perhaps a way of getting people to "subscribe" to WUWT by another name.

    2. On Twitter, Anthony Watts acknowledged that you are right and that the OAS does not have an editor at the moment.

    3. "It is the opinion of The OAS that this sort of methodology to remove a portion of a dataset to cite a result is unsupportable and without justification."

      It is a pity the OAS does not give a reason for their opinion. I guess they do not mean to suggest that removing part of the data is wrong. In last iteration of Watts et al. (2012) almost all data is removed and only a small part is analyzed.

    4. That was funny Victor. Good one.

      Anthony thinks he can get away with "taunting" by posting an anomymous blog article on his OAS blog, accusing scientists of writing a peer reviewed paper in one of the top journals, claiming that it is "not supported by data".

      It's "what he does".

      OAS is looking more ridiculous by the minute. Just what is he hoping to achieve? It can't be respectability - or respect.

    5. It's quite unique to have a supposed professional organization issue a press release in which it criticizes a paper published in a journal of another professional organization. I can't remember the last time I ever saw a professional organization do so.

      Then again, we all knew the OAS was just a veneer to give some credibility to crank ideas. Just imagine, rather than pointing to a blog, journalists can refer to a "professional organization"...

    6. What must be even more unusual is to post something of that nature without putting any name or names to the article. It reads like a copy and paste from his blog to AOS, not the other way around as he intended.

      It's not at all well written. eg
      "In the paper Tornado Trends Over The Past Thirty Years³ they state:"
      a poorly constructed sentence with no notion of who "they" are. We can get away with sloppiness like that in a blog, but it wouldn't pass muster in any professional work.


    7. The really funny thing is that if he had bothered to read the paper, he wouldn't have bothered to write the PR. But I don't think Anthony was bright enough to read the paper -- which explains why the entire premise of his ejaculation is wrong -- and make an honest effort at critiquing it.

  13. I was wondering about the strange pyramid that Watts chose as his OAS logo. Does anyone have an idea why one would use a pyramid for anything to do with the atmosphere?

    A reverse image search came up with this document, with the same pyramid logo at the bottom of the first page. Only the sun is missing.

  14. HotWhopper:

    You seem to dislike my claim that "Climatology has been plagued by applications of the equivocation fallacy." Would you care to debate the underlying issue?

    1. I don't normally debate science deniers for obvious reasons. You are welcome to explain what you mean by that and give examples, preferably disambiguated, and preferably shorter than your usual tedious, dense, long, pointless, rambling articles.


      Either I or someone else might or might not respond. Don't count on it. In fact, don't count on anyone bothering to read it.

      The fact that you don't understand scientific terms doesn't mean that they don't have meaning. The fact that you reject science doesn't mean that others should reject it.

      As far as most people are concerned, science denial is weird and it is pointless to debate "weird".

    2. A little google search on "Terry Oldberg" is quite, uhm, "revealing".

    3. Oo-er. Debate the underlying issue!?

      That sounds far deeper than just discussing the issue. And far more complicated. Using long words? He must know what he is talking about.


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