Friday, July 24, 2015

Denier Weirdness Plus: How stolen comments stoke a huge outbreak of paranoia at WUWT

Today the deniosphere has provided yet another example of the crazy and paranoid conspiracy thinking that underpins all of climate science denial. WUWT deniers have wrapped up their paranoia together with one of the other constants of denial - defaming people.  The criteria for conspiracist ideation includes assuming people have "questionable motives" at best if not "nefarious intent".  That is consistent with the incessant defamation you'll find on denier blogs. It doesn't take much for conspiracy theorising deniers to jump from assuming nefarious intent to assigning nefarious intent and screeching "fraud" and "fakery".

This little episode also comes with a less constant but occasional feature you'll see from deniers - that of wishing people dead.

Update: See below for a comment by John Cook on the Skeptical Science facebook page.

Fake experts

One of the five telltale signs of science denial is calling on fake experts. Anthony Watts at WUWT keeps very strange company and looks to some very odd people as his fake experts. For example:

Luboš Motl wants the death penalty for the cripple

Anthony has surpassed himself this time. His "expert" today is a very odd chap called Luboš Motl. To give you some idea of what goes on in Luboš' head, he once visited HotWhopper and this is what he wrote on May 15, 2014 at 4:40 PM - saying I (the cripple) and William Connelley should get the death penalty (for an article about McCarthyism claims):
Decent people all over the world should find all conceivable legal tools to physically liquidate ultra extreme fascists who authored the disgusting article on this blog and who have intimidated the Swedish scientist. Apologizing the reaction by the climate fascists is unforgivable and as far as I can say, William Connolley and the cripple on this blog should get a death penalty.

Twisted "Something Must be Wrong" and "Nefarious Intent"

Some of you might have seen an article at WUWT earlier today (archived here) in which Anthony Watts accuses John Cook, of Skeptical Science, of identity theft. Which is ironic, since Anthony himself relies on the theft of private conversations in material stolen from a hacked private forum to support his fanciful claim. This is what Anthony wrote, assuming "something must be wrong" and "nefarious intent" (two of seven criteria for conspiracy ideation) - my emphasis:
If it wasn’t enough that John Cook dresses himself up as a Nazi in his SkS uniform on his forum, now we have him caught in what looks to be identity theft of a well known scientist.

The real story behind all this denier paranoia

There was no identity theft, needless to say. All that happened was that John Cook was getting some help from his colleagues at SkepticalScience (in their private forum), while preparing for a research project with the University of Western Australia. According to the stolen material published at WUWT and at Luboš' blog (even though heavily quote-mined by them), the research project had something to do with typical "warmist" and typical "fake skeptic" comments or similar. AFAIK, the research has not been published (yet). This was all in the SkS private blog only - not elsewhere. Not in public, and not in the research project itself, John Cook wrote some of the comments/articles as if from Luboš Motl. That's all.

As was made clear, this didn't go any further than the SkS private forum. Luboš Motl's name wasn't used anywhere else. It most certainly was not identity theft. How could it be? Can you imagine anyone at SkS thinking for one nano-second that someone like Luboš Motl would be invited to join the SkS private discussion board? Sheesh!

And the mock photos that Anthony referred to (which John Cook had nothing to do with) were put up after deniers (including those at WUWT) kept making Nazi references to the people who run and contribute to Skeptical Science. Some of the people used dark humour - in private - to help each other deal with the horrible name-calling from deniers. (Laughter is the best medicine, as they used to say in the Readers Digest.) The mock photos and the so-called "identity theft" nonsense were derived from stolen material.

Yes, that's right. Anthony mis-uses stolen material to falsely accuse John Cook of theft!

How twisted is that?

From one conspiracy theorist to another then another

It gets worse. Anthony is relying on an article by Luboš Motl for his accusation. (Most of you probably have never heard of Luboš Motl. He is a very strange character, best avoided.)

And it gets even worse. Luboš is relying on something sent to him by Steve McIntyre, who is prone to conspiracy ideation himself. Steve is the The Auditor who has been forgotten by most people these days. Who has faded into obscure irrelevance, after his quote-mining heyday when he distorted and misrepresented snippets of stolen emails. Who's greatest contribution to climate science in the past couple of years is mistaking water mass movement for water temperature. Who purloined responses to a WUWT copy of the "moon landing" survey on conspiracy theories, never letting the data see the light of day.

BTW - h/t AndrewT - Some of you might recall Steve McIntyre being outed on Deltoid, for his sock-puppetry, when he was the only one talking up his attacks on Michael Mann's work using the pseudonym Nigel Persaud. Steve admitted it. (I think Tim Lambert got there first, but I could be wrong. Maybe Eli Rabett can fill us in.)
Added by Sou - 25 July 2015 3:05 pm

There was no "identity theft". All this was perfectly clear to Anthony Watts and Luboš Motl and Steve McIntyre, since they posted/saw the private stolen comments saying as much. Luboš himself admits this on his blog, writing:
The website was "closed" and only accessible to the community of Cook's friends, not publicly available at that moment, but its content became available to search engines later.
He's wrong with the last bit. The contents were never made available to search engines. Not from the forum itself. I expect the stolen material from the forum hack is available to search engines though.

Luboš even included this on his blog, from the material stolen SkS private forum:
John Cook: Note re Lubos Motl: I won't use the name Lubos Motl or any of our names in the final webpage used in the experiment (so the last two comments by Rob and Steve won't be used, I'm afraid).

It didn't stop Anthony or Luboš from claiming "identity theft" though. Although according to Luboš Motl, Steve McIntyre urged him not to overstate things:
It's perfectly fine with me, of course. In fact, thanks. I hope that Anthony doesn't overstate much - but Steve McIntyre will surely warn him against overstating, just like he warned me. ;-)

Anthony's conspiracy theory

Anthony uses this as an excuse to put forward another crazy denier conspiracy theory, writing:
Who else has John Cook impersonated? has he encouraged his team to do this? These are valid questions that need answers.
John hasn't "impersonated" anyone at all, let alone Luboš Motl.

From the blog of Luboš Motl

Here are some of the comments from the blog of Luboš Motl, showing some of the paranoid delusions that plague the denialati, and more:

Luboš Motl makes something of a habit of wanting people dead. He said he wants people who think that he, Luboš, would think that NASA faked the moon landing, to die. He wrote:
LOL, I wouldn't be surprised, but I think that the people who would be willing to believe that I believe such things are so hopelessly fucked up that I don't want them to think anything nice about me, anyway. Instead, I want them to die.

John Archer goes even further, and says he wouldn't lift a finger if Luboš were to "torture and murder" John Cook • here
Dear Luboš,
I hope and pray that you now crucify that little lying shit, Cook.
I don't know whether it is possible or practicable for you to sue him and take him for everything he's got. I gather you know some very influential people in Czechia and elsewhere. I'd love to think they might be able to help you in this regard.
Scumbag Michael Mann gets his litigation paid for (probably ultimately by the US taxpayer) and he is the GUILTY party. You're the INNOCENT party — you should get yours paid for too from similar public funds in Czechia (but best of all by the EU), along with a huge financial award just for bringing a legal action against the fucker.
Failing that, if I ever saw you torturing then murdering him, I wouldn't lift a finger to stop you, and if my eye-witness evidence were the only potential evidence against you then you'd never see the inside of a court.
Get the bastard. And get him good, Luboš.

Jeff Id  14 hours ago talks about capturing nonsense for posterity - which I've done :) I'm a bit surprised that Jeff Id (Jeff Condon) is a fan of Luboš. 
You might want to capture as much of that nonsense as you can for posterity..... or whatever legal action they invent. After all, you might make the libel section of Lewandowsky's next paper or SKS may decide to go after you in an even crazier fashion.
I am shocked that they stooped this low. I know Gleick did it to Heartland with no real consequences so I suppose they can do it too. I will read the CNN article later but I laughed at his bold title in the article of fake experts.
Wow! I don't know if there are a lot of public figure 'Lubos Motl's running around your neck of the woods, but as you know, it is a fairly unique moniker in the US.

Jeff Id  • 11 hours ago
I think that you are on to the exact path that Steve McIntyre is looking. It did refer to the UWA experiment which is the university of western Australia. He and Lew are disparaging and libeling skeptics for the receipt of government and other money. Professional mud slingers at this point.
I have no idea which law might or might not be broken regarding your personal name but regarding an experiment, unless he was trying to elicit a reaction from you and write about that reaction, it looks like an attempt to produce fraudulent data for another skeptic bashing article. He should be horrifically embarrassed -- and defunded. The weak reaction from his comrads is pretty telling as well.

In the midst of all this, someone apparently stole John Cook's identity, or perhaps shares his name. John_Cook wrote:
I agree with you Lubos. You should share the money. 

Bernd Felsche suggested that the comments that were stolen and made public by the hacker, be removed from public view. Is he wanting Luboš to sue the script-kiddie who hacked the private SkS forum? Or write to himself, or to Anthony Watts? He wrote - 14 hours ago:
You can't (shouldn't) call him a "criminal" unless he's been convicted. Especially if you want to leave the (essentially free) functions of law enforcement to do their thing after you lodge a complaint. Until convicted, he's an "alleged" whatever.
I don't know exactly how you'd do that from the Czech Republic. You must, at the very least, write a formal demand for tthe defamatory material to be removed from public view before it can lead to further, potential damage to your valuable reputation. You should CC any hosting provider(s) carrying such material.
Record when and how you sent your demand. You will need that when you lodge your complaint.
Australian publishers are rather on edge at the moment regarding material that might be defamatory. One newspaper got sued for a headline that could lead people to believe that the Treasurer could be 'bought".

To which Luboš, in apparent seriousness, replied (excerpt):
I've been contacted by a group that wants to file formal complaints and I said Yes. Let's see whether anything comes out of it. 

As Jeff Id wrote 16 hours ago
It isn't sane.

From the WUWT comments - paranoia plus

It's really hard to pick out the best or worst comments at WUWT. It's paranoia plus! Everyone there seems to be absolutely convinced that John Cook stole the identity of Luboš Motl to fake something or the other - though they don't know what, how or why. Therefore all warmists are making up stuff. Therefore no science is to be trusted - it's all fake!

WUWT has to be home to one of the biggest collections of paranoid conspiracy theorists on earth. Is it the heat that's addling their brains or is it the rise in CO2 that's depriving their brains of oxygen?

Anthony fuels the paranoia. He is not very bright. If you don't know that already, his erstwhile friend and denier colleague Willis Eschenbach says Anthony is pretty dumb. Anthony decided to jump to wrong conclusions, based on his misinterpretation of "evidence" from a known crank Luboš Motl, who got his misinterpretation of "evidence" from a known conspiracy theorist, who got the so-called "evidence" of "theft" from snippets of material ironically stolen from a private website. Anthony Watts wrote of his already boggled mind being boggled:
July 23, 2015 at 3:48 pm
The point that needs to be driven home is that rather than getting real comments, he had his buddies (and himself) write FAKED UP COMMENTS, and then analyzed those.
Essentially, he and his friends made up pre-biased data, by “assuming” they knew what a skeptic comment might look like.
Therefore the important question is: did he get the required ethics approval to make up his own data for that lab excercise?
The mendacity of creating commentary from your own group to use it to analyze and then label another group is truly mind boggling.

The mind boggles :) Remember Anthony's jumped to crazy conclusions before, when he couldn't wait to "sue the pants off that whole team of creepy playtime Nazi cross dressers". Only to pretend it was "predictable", when he found out it wasn't about him. He is quite paranoid about anyone associated with SkepticalScience (and tends to think everyone's world revolves around Anthony Watts).

M Courtney has gone even further, and seems to be suggesting that John Cook faked 11,944 scientific papers over the past twenty years, stealing the identity of 29,083 authors and fooling 1,980 journals, their editors and reviewers.
July 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm
But now whenever the 97% paper is mentioned it can be pointed out that the 97% were all the author faking the responses under false names.
And it might even be true. It fits his modus operandi.
He won’t claim otherwise. Also, he can’t point to his raw data as we know that was rubbish.
We’ve got him. Because he’s proven to be corrupt.

The mind boggles more :)

Then there was the usual "climate science is a hoax" comments, like this one from DirkH, who seems to be convinced he has some unidentified "truth" on his side:
July 23, 2015 at 1:12 pm
“When these *** can do stuff like this and their supporters not only don’t condemn, but support them, wherein lies hope?”
Well quite simple really. The lying will be their own downfall. While the truth is on our side, and will lead us to victory.
Or put another way: An organization so corrupt cannot afford anymore to hire one honest soul as they would risk exposure of their corruption. THey must lie MORE! There is no way back for them – until it reaches a point where they will look so ugly not even criminals will touch them with a ten foot pole.

And here is mpaul, spinning the spin even further. Deniers cannot fathom that climate science is based on real data. They rationalise it all away with their conspiracy theories, claiming that scientists are "falsifying data". They are all nuts!
July 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm
Forget about the legal aspects, this is yet another gut check for the climate science community. Here we have a researcher who produced a paper that was cited by the President of the United States and is used routinely to discredit skeptics. Now we have evidence that suggests that this researcher has been falsifying data.
Will the climate science community mount an investigation? Does climate science have any ethical standards? The reaction of the Journals and the Universities involved with Cook will say volumes about the credibility of climate science.
In the past when these things have happened, the climate science community has swept them under the rug. So why should we “trust the science” if the scientists and untrustworthy? Why should we “trust the science” if the climate science establishment has no ethical standards?

This comment is very mixed up. jaypan accepts that 97% of climate science/scientists know that global warming is real. That is, he accepts the findings of Cook13. However he thinks that people are evil for wanting Willie Soon to reveal his sources of funding when he writes one of his silly papers. He probably thinks that deniers should be allowed to be dishonest.
July 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm
This Cook is, together with Mann and Oreskes, an “advisor” for, the organisation behind, collecting signatures to force Smithsonian to fire Dr. Willie Soon.
What a bunch of evil people, and 97% of scientists are not standing up against them. Disgusting. 

Mark Bofill wants us all to reconsider something. Yes, Mark. Considered and reconsidered. Who would I rather be associated with? A group of scientists and others who devote their time to informing the public about climate science, or a bunch of nutty conspiracy theorists whose sole purpose in life is to defame scientists and think that 200 years of science is a hoax?  No contest!
July 23, 2015 at 1:29 pm
Good God.
I hope any SkS’ers with any shred of integrity (if there in fact are any with a shred of integrity, I’d like to believe there are) reading this reconsider the wisdom of associating with John Cook via SkS.


This has just been posted by John Cook on the Skeptical Science Facebook page:
A number of peer-reviewed studies have observed a link between climate science denial and conspiratorial thinking. The most prominent examples are the conspiracy theories extrapolated from quote-mined excerpts of stolen private correspondance of climate scientists, in the episode known as climategate. A similar conspiratorial episode spun from quote-mined stolen private correspondance was published by Lubos Motl this week, and has been uncritically propagated by other online commenters.

The stolen private correspondance from 2011 involved Skeptical Science team members developing comment threads (both supporting and rejecting climate science) for use in a psychology experiment. In the private forum (only), I posted a few comments under the pseudonym Lubos_Motl (to signify that the comments were taking a contrarian stance). The username was changed to an anonymous name for the experiment. In other words, it was not used in the experiment and was never used outside of the private Skeptical Science forum.

Consequently, Motl's accusations of identity theft are demonstrably false. Further, I find it extraordinary that Motl publicly posts comments about me being hanged, and allows public comments on his blog that approve of torturing and murdering me. I find it equally extraordinary that such misleading and venomous posts are uncritically endorsed by third parties such as Richard Tol, Anthony Watts and Roger Pielke Jr.

Collin Maessen at Real Sceptic has an article about this too.

Added by Sou 9:41 pm 25 July 2015 

Further reading

About the hack of the SkepticalScience private discussion board (updated link to all the "hack" series)

The 5 telltale techniques of climate change denial - Article by John Cook at CNN. BTW if you read the comments to this CNN article, you'll see lots of deniers using one or more of the five telltale techniques of climate change denial.

From the HotWhopper archives


  1. I notice that Shollenberger has been trying to point out on WUWT that this only happened on a private site that only became public because of a hacking, and that names would be changed before being used in the experiment. Not having much success convincing people of this, though. Not a huge surprise.

  2. Thanks ATTP. I missed that from the script-kiddie (trying to make amends for TCP?).

    Lubos Motl had that on his blog too - clear as anything and straight from the hacked forum material (see the article above). Yet it didn't stop him wailing about identity theft.

    1. My irony meter is broken. As I wrote on one of my favourite blogs

      I was hesitant about reproducing Motl's hate speech, but as you've broken the ice

      'I think that trash like yourself cannot be debated. It must be destroyed. What is written on the “climate denial” page is just crime, the people who are responsible for it are criminals, and as soon as I get the opportunity to collaborate with someone on their liquidation, I will do it.'

      The 'trash' being William Connolley.

    2. Thanks Phil. I wasn't going to bother when it was only at Motl's blog. No sane normal person goes there for climate stuff. I don't think he has much of a following among deniers either.

      Last night I watched out for something at WUWT but it didn't appear. It hadn't even made Anthony's tips and notes page last night before my bedtime. I didn't see his article till I went there earlier today.

      Now that it's been picked up and looks like becoming a new denier meme I figured I'd do something about it. Weird how deniers are so gullible. And not just the wackiest of deniers (and economists) either. Even people like Roger Pielke Jr fell for it. I think he's feeling beseiged. (He promised to give up climate stuff after his fiasco on Nate Silver's 538 blog, but can't stay away. Now he's reduced to spreading denier nonsense.)

    3. Cook has a piece on CNN's website today. The denialists are out in force screaming "but ... but ... Motl!".

    4. I should start producing irony meters. They seem to have a short life span and constantly need replacing.

    5. I get mine in bulk from Taiwan, which may or may not explain the failure rate.

  3. The deniers are consulting their imaginary lawyers and launching their imaginary lawsuits. And, meanwhile, the crime really being committed is defamation of John Cook.

    1. And death threats, no less.
      Was to be expected. Expected some even worse climate revisionist talk or even actions as climate change seriously begins destroying societies (it is already doing so).

  4. Motl and Watts should pool their talents and write an expose on how the Mafia got rid of Einstein because he knew too much.

  5. Anthony Watts has a low opinion of his own readers, that is evident.

    1. With good reason. But he's got the audience he wants and deserves.

    2. WUWT censored one of my comments, only a matter of time I guess. My, he is touchy for a professional mudslinger.

      He threatened to "out" me. An obvious attempt to distract his readers from what I was saying. I did point out to him if he "outs" me, that does have ramification for his duty of care with regards to the privacy of his commenters.

      My comment may come back, I am more curious to see if any of his readers think a forum owner threatening the privacy of one of his commenters is a good idea.

  6. It's no surprise that Richard Tol would promote defamatory articles. He's been smearing John Cook for a long time, with his Gish galloping; and he needs to distract attention away from his own shoddy work. I am a bit surprised at Roger Pielke Jr. I guess that the more a person gets called out for misleading articles etc, the more they are inclined to drift further into denial and conspiratorial thinking.

  7. Death threats... it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

    The simplest explanation for the rage induced by Cook and Lewandowsky's studies is that many pseudo-skeptics are extremely sensitive to being pegged as paranoid conspiracy theorists and nutters -- yes, I simplify here -- because deep down they themselves suspect this is true.

    1. "...many pseudo-skeptics are extremely sensitive to being pegged as paranoid conspiracy theorists and nutters...because deep down they themselves s̶u̶s̶p̶e̶c̶t̶ know this is true."

      There, I've corrected that for you.

  8. I really know knowing about this, but the comments were made by the equivalent of this J_CH. That looks like me, but it obviously might not be me.The there was jc@sks. This is one of my many problems with skeptics. They exhibit almost no skepticism. Then there was "Tim Curtis". That appeared to be Tom Curtis. The comment read like something Tom Curtis would say. That meant somebody hand typed something that could have easily been copied and pasted. Why? Again, no skepticism at all. It appears to be a simple typo. Tempest in a teapot.

  9. So what were the SkS team up to with that private research forum? From the evidence presented it appears they were crafting responses for something and using stand-in names for the pro and anti science comments though I have no idea what they were creating these for. If they were never put in public and claimed to be real comments (impersonation or sock-puppeting) then I dont see any issue here. Foolish perhaps to use real people's names but nothing nefarious unless done in public forums.

    1. How little you know of the depths to which alarmists will descend in the secrecy of their inner sanctums and faculty coffee lounges.

      What evil lurks in the heart of them? The Tony knows.

    2. I'm guessing the SkS people just talking about anonymising comments? Deniers have complained about their names appearing attached to the crap they themselves have written on public spaces. Google on "I won't use their names" (keep the quotes) and see what context that kind of language is usually associated with. So the SkS people were talking about avoiding that complaint by not using the name of the poster when quoting the post.

      The thing is, deniers are caught time and again using sockpuppets. So their expectation of what "using a name" indicates is very different from normal people's.

      "We discovered that the disruptive faction that bombarded climate change posts was actually substantially smaller than it had seemed. Just a small handful of people ran all of the most offensive accounts."

      One of the problems bad people have is they think other people do the same bad things.

    3. "So what were the SkS team up to with that private research forum? "

      Cook was one of the people working on this:

      Quoting from that:

      "All content is anonymized and all quotations have been extensively paraphrased to prevent identification of authors."

      It all sounds suspiciously like the fake furore about the supposedly secret "Mikes Nature trick" that was actually fully written up in the literature.

    4. Ah! That makes some sense then. They were using real names on the private forum to make sure they attributed the right argument to the right person before annonymising the comments. These were not actual quotes though because that might allow for identification of the person which they wanted to avoid.

    5. I'm something of a compulsive jokester, so had I been running the experiment I would have used names like Schlubos Schmottel and Anthony Ergs (who's precisely 10^-7 as smart as James Watt was). In hindsight, that would have saved a lot of trouble.

    6. Some of the details are still up on the SkS website. It is much ado about nothing.

      My analysis is they were doing a social experiment. They asked for volunteers to participate (the "lab rats"). They gave them a link to an SkS post including "comments" on the post. They then got the lab rats to complete a survey to determine how well they understood the SkS post.

      The experiment was to vary the "comments" - the comments were anti-AGW, pro-AGW etc. So the "comments" were fabricated; presumably the fabricators made up fake handles when posting the "comments". It sounds like John Cook (who has a sense of humour), used a fake handle of Lubos Motl as a joke (Lubos Motl was a well-known climate change deniers, and I believe he had written some unflattering things about SkS in the past (I will check)).

      I think the social science people call this an experiment in "priming".

  10. Is this material from the same hack of 4 years ago? Unbelievable.

    Some people appear to not have lives to go to.

    1. "Climategate" was nearly six years ago...

      These people desperately need some kind of evidence of the Great Conspiracy, and this is the best they can do.

    2. Lars, Jammy is talking about when the SkS private forum was hacked, which was actually about 3 1/2 years ago:

    3. The contrarians are still raging against MBH 98 and MBH 99. There's no statute of limitations on peddling misinformation.

    4. Yes, I know. That was another example of an ancient talking point.

  11. Luboš Motl, Lubos Motl - different identities...

    What's the problem?

  12. John Cook has an article at CNN here

    It is all about the signs of climate change denial. The comments then come in thick and fast giving living examples in real time.

    Quite a few of the comments accuse John Cook of using someone else's name to post on line. Check out the comments to see who.
    Denialists the gift that keeps on giving. Their bleatings are beginning to look like a total parody. The danger is that the casual observer will not see this. Bert

  13. Not one comment in here on the obvious great value of the highly sophisticated, highly scientific research Cook was undertaking in this case?

    Surely it will enhance the understanding of climate science and cognitive psychology for decades to come.

    1. marke - have you read the paper - or just revealing an overwhelming bias?

    2. Marke. It may well enhance the understanding of psychology, communication and comprehension. Not climate science, but maybe that strange phenomenon of climate science denial.

      We'll find out when/if it gets published.

    3. Marke.

      Is your sarcasm intended?

    4. marke

      Please keep posting. Your total lack of self-awareness is just a hoot.

  14. It always amazes me that the Tols and Pielke Jrs simply either have no shame or no brain. But they obviously aren't simpletons, so the answer becomes a complete lack of morality.

    I hope they're paid an awful lot of money and that they don't someday regret they sold their souls.

  15. John Cook showed poor judgment in using" Lubos Motl" as a username - he should have used "Nigel Persaud".

    1. Oh yes, indeed. I'll have to add that sorry episode to the article.

    2. There might be... ooh, I'd say about 200 of us on the whole interwebs who would get that reference. Or, am I over-estimating?

    3. Well, yeah, but about 100% (perhaps 97%?) of those on an SkS private forum...

  16. Sou October 19, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    Speaking of “feeble intellects”, maybe Nigel S can’t tell the difference between 21st century climate science and the UK Fabian Society of the early 20th century :(‘

  17. You folk need to be careful. An eminent climate scientist in the UK has revealed to The Times that denier death squads are running amok murdering his fellows. Luckily he himself narrowly escaped. A threat of this gravity clearly needs to be addressed with Sou's legendary dispassionate analytic skills.

    1. Foxgoose.

      It was Peter Wadhams? I can't read it as it is behind a paywall.

    2. Yes, Peter Wadhams. He's paranoid after three scientists died (in separate accidents) and he also had a near escape on a motorway. It clearly rattled him. One doesn't have to be a science denier to harbour conspiracy theories. Peter's on the outer with his Arctic predictions. This near death experience might have tipped him over an edge.

      I don't know him personally, though.

    3. Sou

      I thought that sceptics were the conspiracy theorists but obviously scientists are also quite capable of believing some very strange things.

      If I had seen this earlier I would have gone and bought a print copy of the Times. As it is, the gwpf seem to have the story with links and names that can be checked. Seems one fell down stairs another was struck by lightning and the third killed whilst cycling.

      I am sure this will make WUWT. It will be interesting to see what they make of it


    4. You have to look long and hard to find a genuine climate-scientist who is a paranoid nut-case. But to find one amongst the deniers? That's much easier; just pick one at random.

    5. Agree with caerbannog. Climate science deniers who think climate science is a hoax and/or that scientists everywhere are fudging data are by definition conspiracy theorists. Outside of the "climate hoax" and "climate fudge" conspiracy theories, they might or might not be any more conspiracist than anyone else. My observation suggests you'll be more likely to find generalist conspiracy nutters on denier blogs than on normal blogs though. Crank magnetism.

    6. Peter Wadhams should start a blog called WadsUpWithThat, explain why there is a conspiracy to keep the world from knowing that the civilisation will collapse within 5 years due to AGW, and then we can all comment and go: Yeah, the UN bandwagon! It's a fraud, a hoax. The Mann should be put in the Penn (State)! Look, airports cool the temperature graphs! Look, Reykjavik, Vladivostok, Lagos! How about that Stratosphere Cool Spot? Wait till the Sun goes inferno on us!

      Hold on, practically none of the commenters on this blog and many other 'alarmist' blogs would do that. Conversely, however...

    7. It's never pleasant to watch respected senior scientists (or anyone else, for that matter) in decline, and that seems to be the case with Wadhams (note: I don't know Professor Wadhams personally or professionally).

      On the other side of the fence, the sheer number of poorly-informed or shoddily-reasoning contrarian scientists who are in their seventies or eighties strikes me as being more than coincidental.

    8. Unfortunately the SMH has just picked this up. It's sad, and will provide a pleasant little malicious distraction for hypocritical denier trolls.

    9. Wadhams has apparently now filed a complaint. Although that complaint does not make him look fully sane, it does put a rather important twist to the story that will make several newspapers look really, really silly:

    10. Yeah I did not even bother following up on the Wadham story, it did not pass the smell test.

      I hope his complaint is upheld.

    11. Marco, Wadhams certainly comes across as naive. Not every journalist is as ethical as one would like. But for the other side of the coin, a friend of mine was once being interviewed by a major newspaper and happened to mention that she was a school friend of a young woman who had been recently murdered and whose story was all over the papers at the time. The journalist put his finger to his mouth and said "Shh", ending that part of the conversation.

    12. And a little information about the journalist who wrote the article about Prof Wadhams:

      I think Wadhams is more sane than Webster is ethical. That series of coincidences would have unnerved many people.

    13. Wadhams' counterclaim is shocking. If Webster fabricated those quotes I strongly suspect Wadhams would have very solid grounds to pursue a defamation action against Webster and the Times.

  18. I've added an update - John Cook has just posted a comment on the Skeptical Science facebook page.

    1. Cook's comment brings to my attention the 'clever' use of language: the use of the supposedly derogatory phrase "quote mining" for example.

      Really, what is the alternative in discussing pages of correspondence? Particularly when the whole topic under debate is whether certain individuals are as certain of their data and predictions in private discussion as they are in public? (The answer to that was a rather resounding "No").

      I look forward to reading this latest publication when and if it becomes available.

    2. marke, I hate to burst your conspiratorial bubble.

      Quote mining is used to select passages that support some point you want to make in order to misrepresent what you are quoting from. It's what Anthony Watts did in this situation. He wanted to make out that there was identity theft and that this was some surreptitious, nefarious plot to deceive poor little deniers.

      The facts are much more mundane, as you can see from the article above.

      The alternative to quote mining is to select passages and use them in context. To surround any quotes with text that fairly represents what you are writing about. That's not something you'll find at WUWT. Anthony isn't capable of understanding most of what he reads, and he doesn't bother to read the rest of what he copies and pastes. What he does understand is how to feed his conspiracy theorist readers stuff that they'll swallow whole without question.

      (Today someone there wondered if I was being paid by Maurice Strong - who Tim Ball built up as a bogey man who is intent on creating a tyrannical world guvmint. That's the calibre of Anthony Watts' audience and he wants to keep it that way. The only way he figures he can do that is by demonising people and feeding them to his fans at frequent intervals.)

      The whole topic under debate - well I don't know what you think the topic was, I don't understand what you wrote there. The topic of this article is a conspiracy woven by Anthony Watts based on a crazy allegation by Lubos Motl, based on stolen material sent to him by Steve McIntyre (who maintained a sock puppet/fake identity for some years to promote Steve's "work" - he used to carry on conversations with him, in the same way that Bob Tisdale did not long ago).

    3. Marke.

      Are you just mucking about or what?

      "supposedly derogatory phrase.."

      The term quote mining IS derogatory. Taking quotes out of context to give the quotes a misleading meaning is dishonest.

    4. Hi Sou....
      Re 'topic under debate'.
      I was referring to Cook's comment. (That which you added to your article).

      Specifically, this part:

       The most prominent examples are the conspiracy theories extrapolated from quote-mined excerpts of stolen private correspondance of climate scientists, in the episode known as climategate.

    5. One could've, for instance, published *all* the e-mails so people could decide for themselves. Those doing the quote-mining had access to all the e-mails, why shouldn't the rest of us, if they're going to release them at all?

      Meanwhile, keep posting. I'm warming up to the idea of quote-mining you as a demonstration ...

    6. dhogaza - marke would do better to read scientific papers and do a stats course than believe the conspiracy theories he's spun on denier blogs. (Or try to deduce the meaning behind snippets of stolen emails - which is not the "topic under debate" by the way).

      He doesn't seem to know that scientific papers quantify probabilities and other statistical parameters, and describe caveats (sometimes entire papers are devoted to this).

      Since marke doesn't know that there is no "debate" being presented in this article - and doesn't know the topic of discussion here (it's not stolen emails), I doubt he'd be able to follow a scientific paper.

  19. This whole confected outrage has probably been timed to distract from the record June temperature, and the Californian drought.

    The responses of Motl and his cheer squad are either calculated to inflict invalid damage, or the signs of sick minds. Given the recent appearance of a photo on his thread depicting John Cook's face photoshopped into an image of Himmler, the two alternatives may not be mutually exclusive.

    1. Yes the material is years old. One has to wonder about the timing.

      Not to mention John Cook has been getting stuff published in the mainstream media (CNN etc). This sets them off.

    2. Its all part of the build up to the Paris talks. If I was a pollutocrat spending millions funding deniers I'd be very disappointed with what I'm getting for my money. "I have trillions of dollars of fossil fuel assets that may get put beyond use, and all you guys can come up with is John Cook ate my hamster!!!!"

      I'd have thought only the paid shills under orders would run with this one though. Anybody who can understand plain English can see how fake it is so it loses them anybody with a functioning brain, moving their readership further into realms of looney land. That's not good for them in the long term.

    3. IIRC Millicent, it was a squirrel, not a hamster. Deniers' favourite animal, they are always pointing to them. (You can understand how upset it made them.)

  20. One thing's for sure: John Cook is doing a good job. Otherwise these cowards wouldn't stoop so low. They're targeting him more and more.

    1. He and Stephan Lewandowsky should take that as a sincere albeit inadvertent compliment from that crowd when one considers other such targets have included James Hansen, Stephen Schneider, Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann.

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

    1. Yes, it's alright. There's no evidence that Cook used Motl's name in any public way. The libel (and death threats) are all Motl's. Watts and the rest of you are simply being gullible. Not for the first time.

    2. What does using stolen information fall under?

    3. "John Cook is accused of identity theft"

      Yeah, sure! And I suppose middle school students impersonating their Math teacher are also guilty of identity theft. Unless, ... oh, never mind!

    4. Richard, you retweeted:

      "Roger Pielke Jr. ‏@RogerPielkeJr Jul 23
      Well-known climate warrior caught out posting blog comments under an opponents name. … "

      Why? Surely you knew this was inaccurate to the point of deception. Or else you simply didn't care and wanted to help in character assassination. This why I say you have zero integrity. None. Nada. Zippo. Zilch.

    5. Tol doesn't understand the definition of "identity theft". Though, long ago, I reached the conclusion that Tol doesn't understand much, at all.

    6. Richard Tol will, I hope, one day sooner rather than later be held accountable for the professional misconduct he is demonstrating (again) here - making false allegations and spreading rumours he knows to be untrue.

      This is a personal and one-sided vendetta by Richard directed toward John Cook for reasons known only to Richard (and maybe not to him either). Though goodness knows why Richard would be wanting to be under the spotlight at this time:

    7. Richard you are a liar. I am writing to your Dean at Sussex laying out the facts and your misleading and deceptive conduct in this matter.

    8. When I first decided to have a closer look at Climate Change (about 4 years ago) I assumed that academics publishing on the economics of it were serious and making serious points.

      It is a bit of a shock to find they are as barmy as the deniers at WUWT and as small-minded and petty.

  22. 'Identity theft'?! Give me a freaking break! The denialiati become ever more ludicrously strident and hysterical by the day! Well, reality sure ain't their friend at the moment...

  23. A couple questions.

    Why in the world would someone who is doing *actual* science post using another persons name when they hold that person in disdain? What is the purpose?

    Lets pull back from climate for a moment. Lets say someone was doing psychological research into, say, suicidal ideation. And that person used the name of someone they didn't like to publish quotes that the person didn't actually say?

    Would that be ethical? Of course not.

    Yet people are quick to rush to Cooks defense for some odd reason.

    If you are doing real science you don't play these types of games. It is stupid (if you don't believe me, read this thread. It only exists because Cook did something stupid) .

    Plus nothing on the internet is secure. Especially when you don't secure it, like SKS was at that time.

    Well, on the bright side, at least Cook didn't post as Motl while wearing a Nazi uniform.


    1. Slee - on Christmas Eve you go into the city and you see men dressed in red pretending to be Santa Claus. Is that ethical? Would you rush to their defense trying to claim that everyone knows they are just men dressed up in red suits and not really St Nicholas? Or would you post endless articles saying how all these men are unethical, how it's a conspiracy, and how you just know they fake every other aspect of their lives and are not to be trusted one iota?

      Read the article, Slee. It was not a game. It was an exercise to develop comment threads (both supporting and rejecting climate science) for use in a psychology experiment. The name of a denier was attached to some comments - in private only. Four years ago. Only available because of a nasty hack of a private webspace. And only written about now because deniers have precious little else to sustain them and it's a short while since they took aim at John Cook. (The Serengeti Strategy - look it up.)

      Are you a perv or a conspiracy theorist? If some perv secretly took photos of you in your bedroom and posted them on the web, claiming you were a porn actor, how would you react? Would you try to deny it?

      How would you react if bloggers all over started calling you a Nazi or referring to you as "SS" - like deniers typically do re the people at SkepticalScience? Would you fall in a heap or would you try to minimise the hurt by making light of it - in private? (BTW John Cook had nothing to do with that.)

      Frankly I'm disgusted by people like yourself. The reaction from most of you deniers is bordering on the insane. When Jo Nova and BS are the voices of reason among the dozens of deluded ravings (eg at WUWT), it's a sign that the only people left hanging about on denier blogs these days are pretty well the utter nutter conspiracy theorists. It's not normal.

    2. If people like Slee had a sliver of decency, rather than moaning about trivialities of a discussion that took place four years ago in private, he or she would be saying how horrified they are to read comments like those from Lubos Motl and John Archer above. Or at the very least, how they are dismayed by (or rolling on the floor laughing at) the extreme lunacy displayed by M Courtney.

    3. "Yet people are quick to rush to Cooks defense for some odd reason. "

      Yet people are quick to attack Cook for some odd reason.

      I think that is the rather more significant point that these people have been attacking Cook, and others, for years and with no reasonable justification. If the denial attack industry did not exist John Cook would not be running SkS.

    4. Slee.

      You can do a better job at trolling than that, can't you? You have managed to pack a lot of logical fallacies into a couple of sentences.

      "Lets pull back from climate for a moment. Lets say someone was doing psychological research into, say, suicidal ideation. And that person used the name of someone they didn't like to publish quotes that the person didn't actually say?"

      False analogy.

      "If you are doing real science you don't play these types of games".

      Ummm so you are in a position to judge? A non-sequitur.

      "Plus nothing on the internet is secure. Especially when you don't secure it, like SKS was at that time."

      Blaming the victim.

      "Well, on the bright side, at least Cook didn't post as Motl while wearing a Nazi uniform."

      A Godwin. Also I have never seen any evidence of Cook wearing an SS uniform.


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