Re: [asa] Ottawa Citizen: The Skeptics Are Vindicated

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Thu Nov 26 2009 - 06:37:37 EST

Hello Iain,

No, I don't agree that the explanation you gave "means that in fact the
email was quite innocent". Not because I think your explanation is
incorrect, but because yours is not the only explanation available, and it
would take more effort and time on my part to reasonably evaluate the claim.
Case in point:

*"When smoothing these time series, the Team had a problem: actual
reconstructions "diverge" from the instrumental series in the last part of
20th century. For instance, in the original hockey stick (ending 1980) the
last 30-40 years of data points slightly downwards. In order to smooth those
time series one needs to "pad" the series beyond the end time, and no matter
what method one uses, this leads to a smoothed graph pointing downwards in
the end whereas the smoothed instrumental series is pointing upwards — a
divergence. So Mann's solution was to use the instrumental record for
padding, which changes the smoothed series to point upwards as clearly seen
in UC's figure (violet original, green without "Mike's Nature trick")."
*TGIF-magazine has already
about the e-mail, and he denied misleading anyone but did remember
“No, that’s completely wrong. In the sense that they’re talking about two
different things here. They’re talking about the instrumental data which is
unaltered – but they’re talking about proxy data going further back in time,
a thousand years, and it’s just about how you add on the last few years,
because when you get proxy data you sample things like tree rings and ice
cores, and they don’t always have the last few years. So one way is to add
on the instrumental data for the last few years.”
Jones told TGIF he had no idea what me meant by using the words “hide the
“That was an email from ten years ago. Can you remember the exact context of
what you wrote ten years ago?”
This illustrates part of my problem here. The fact that you can give an
explanation for the email that you think is perfectly innocent doesn't mean
it's the actual explanation, or even that it's the most compelling
explanation given what we know. Certainly their choice of words looks bad -
I doubt even you would deny that. You were upset that I didn't respond to
your explanation, but I didn't bring up the "hide the decline" part of the
released emails, I don't think it's the only or most important part of those
emails, and I'm not going to say "Well, you have a possible explanation, so
that means there's nothing of interest here". So really, what's there to
respond to?
As for the typo, I took that as a flippant response and replied in kind. No
As for the motivations of stealing the emails, who's to say? I don't think
all of these explanations become innocent when put in proper context -
indeed, I agree with Murray that it exposes the scientists involved as
(putting it nicely) "very human". And certainly when you have 69+ megs of
emails, you're going to sift through and pick out the most interesting and
relevant bits. When a prosecutor (even illegally) wiretaps a suspected
criminal for 3 hours, he's going to play back the 2 minutes or even 20
seconds where the suspect talks about burying stripper bodies in a nearby
swamp. Not the 30 minutes of him laughing and talking about how the episode
of "She's the Sheriff" he's watching is the best one of the series.
What's more, I'm sorry, but I will never accept reasoning of the sort you
just offered re: "Warmist conspiracy.", which amounts to "Sure, perhaps
we're wrong. But if we're right, it means utter disaster - and can we really
take that risk?" That's a recipe for me running around supporting just about
every political agenda, even ones that contradict each other. There's the
threat of looming disaster if I do *or* do not support missile defense,
universal health care, the defense of marriage act, war in Iraq, war in
Iran, Taiwan's independence, and yes, global warming policies. I'm not going
to let my actions be dictated by the worst-case scenarios people can
imagine. Nor am I going to pretend that every solution is desirable so long
as it in some way addresses a problem - sometimes the cure is as bad as or
worse than the illness.
Further, the "warmist conspiracy" does not reduce to the claim that there
are greedy scientists who want more funding (though what goes on in getting
funding, even in the broad sense, is another shame that we need more
reminders of.) First, because it's not even, necessarily the idea that there
is no warming, or even no AGW. Sure, some take the view that there's been no
significant warming trend. Others think there's been warming, but man's role
has been minor or non-existent compared to nature's. Others think man's
actions do play a role, but that the emphasis on the results is exaggerated
and the proposed solutions are ridiculous. Second, the claim is that
scientists are entangled with governments, and (willfully) allow themselves
to be used to promote certain policies for various reasons (whether it
simply be positioning among their peers, or even because of their own
political leanings.) Also that dissenting scientists can be punished in
various ways, ranging from funding concerns to loss of prestige to, yes,
action being taken against journals and editors not singing the proper tune.
Keep in mind, I personally have been willing to accept that AGW is real (I
will admit that the fallout from these emails - less the contents of these
emails than the reactions I'm seeing from people angry that they were
released - is daring to push me towards being a slight AGW skeptic). I am
independently enthusiastic of many trends to "protect the environment"
insofar as it relates to new technology (renewable energy, nuclear power,
etc) and efficiency (better distribution plans in the market, local market
suppliers for food, etc). I will admit to finding the "go green!" PR to be
utterly obnoxious, and many times hypocritical. And no, I'm not going to
support any policy crafted to "address AGW" - as I said, it's possible for a
suggested policy change to be inane, or as bad as/worse than the problem
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Received on Thu Nov 26 06:38:06 2009

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