Monday, July 4, 2016

Denier weirdness: Anthony Watts wants good economics but bad climate science

Sou | 1:26 AM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment
This is weird. Anthony Watts (a "climate hoax" conspiracy blogger) has written about a paper in one of the top economic journals, which a lot of people think shouldn't have been published (archived here). That's okay, sometimes bad papers get published and sometimes there are shonky things happening with peer review. Thing is, as shown in his article, Anthony wants bad research in climate science.

There was a kerfuffle a few years ago when a science denier Chris de Freitas became an editor of Climate Research. It went on for several years - between 1997 and 2003. He organised the publication of a bunch of shonky papers over that period. At the end he was turfed, and when another editor tried and met opposition to fixing the problem, he and a number of other editors resigned. John Mashey did some excellent work showing how much shoddy work got through. His analysis was published at DeSmog Blog.

Now Anthony Watts should make up his mind. He complained about a shonky paper in American Economic Review, but then he turned around and complained that climate scientists complained about work they considered not up to par. He quoted a snippet from a stolen email showing Dr Phil Jones wanted to keep two shoddy papers out of the IPCC reports. He didn't. They both made it through, so I don't know what Anthony Watts is complaining about. (They made it through, but were given the weight they deserved.)

Anthony Watts wants to have it both ways. He supports only shonkiness and bad research in climate science but doesn't support it in other academic fields. On his blog he promotes appalling and wrong articles (usually blog pseudo-science, but occasionally poor published science), and dismisses good science.

From the WUWT comments

There aren't a lot yet and what's there isn't worth the paper it's written on (which is non-existent).


  1. Just where is Richard Tol when you need him? He should have been all over that American Economic Review paper.

  2. Ah, geez... I forgot the sarc tags again :-)

  3. Ah, I see your point Sou. Anthony complains about the failure of peer-review (well actually the mechanics of the peer-review process here) in economics and the success of the peer-review process in climate science. Just his normal level of consistency, I would say.

  4. ot, fwiw:
    Interesting how language evolves. I see the old meaning has disappeared, particularly in this adjectival form ending in y, but some of us elderly types may have encountered the word in its original pejorative context:

    1. I have to say, I've been using the term all my life and I've never even encountered the idea of the term being targeted at Jews before! Etymology, eh?

      I think it's safe to say that 99% plus of 'Strayans don't see it in that light, either. A reference is made to a supposedly comparable use of 'Pakis' in that discussion, but I don't think the pairing is valid as everyone here would know they were referring to someone's ethnicity using that term, whereas I'm confident the reverse is true for 'shonk'.

      To my mind it's a synonym of 'dodgy', with marginally more nefarious, potentially costly, implications, and the archetype would be, of course, the used-car salesman. Or dodgy builder.

    2. I'm mortified to think I might have inadvertently offended someone or unwittingly slurred anyone on the basis of their religion or ethnicity. Where I live the word has never had any such under (or over) tones. It's as Bill said.

    3. @sou

      here in the UK we use lots of Hebrew words, off the top of my head


      none are seen in anyway antisemetic - we use them because they are such great words that convey feelings and concepts that anglo saxon English has no word for

      so I doubt you have offended anyone - I did not pick up on "shonky" - but will add it to my list of superior Hebrew words

    4. I think those Hebrew/Yiddish words are pretty-well universal in English now - certainly no-one here in Oz would be confused by them. 'Kvetch' has even caught on, as has the excellent, eye-rolling 'oy vey', and 'nosh' has been around forever. Even 'mensch' has crept in.

      (Such discussions of English appropriations always put me in mind of the George W classic: 'The trouble with the french is they have no word for "entrepreneur"'!)

    5. Yes, I couldn't figure out any way to emphasize that it was clear to me nobody in Australia knew the old fashioned association. It appears to be very common in Oz. Please don't be mortified. I read some old fashioned British stuff (Michael Gilbert, I think it was) and had seen it there. I agree nobody would be offended.

      We have a much worse problem here in the US with a lot of old expressions for negro that we've had to learn not to use).

      Sou, I love your material, and use it a lot. It's so useful!!

    6. @ Bill

      yes, I forgot schlep too (a fav of mine), some great words actually, it is no wonder they travel so well

      re the Bush quote - I would love to believe he said that, but I believe it is bunk


    7. This is just too funny. I grew up 45 mins away from New York city in the 60's, and these are all familiar words from the Yiddish lexicon:

      schmuck, shtick (I would spell it 'schtick'), spiel, chutzpah, schmatlz, schmooze, and also the aforementioned:

      mensch, kvetch, et. al.

      I occasionally use the odd one of these with my Irish colleagues, and get the 'flouride stare' as a result. But I've never heard the expression 'shonk' before, so I wouldn't worry about it too much, Sou.

    8. Tadaa - yeah, Snopes often takes the fun out of things! I ruefully admit I was 'printing the legend'.

    9. Is there a language English has burrowed a word from?

    10. Other Yiddish words I hear regularly, even in pretty monolingual company: klutz, glitch, maven, putz, schmo, shemozzle, and kibbitz (the last isn't too common, but its useful; that annoying commentary over the shoulder of chess or cards players, or these days, computer users)

      My favourite appropriation from Yiddish is "schlemiel". While it is similar to schmuck in its meaning of "stupid loser", it has a little refinement which I like: "The waiter who spills the soup - he's a schmuck. The guy he spills the soup all over? He's the schlemiel".

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