Friday, April 27, 2007

The Pielke fan club will come to order

Michael Tobis' asks, what not to do about Prometheus, and IEHO gets it pretty much right as to the substance behind the issue

In my opinion Roger Pielke is a post hoc arguer, choosing a position based on a political calculation and then defending it
(go read Michael's blog for details). However, Tobis feels badly about Real Climate (read Michael Mann) mistreating Roger Popcorn. Although not many know, Eli was a classical Rabett before taking up carrot science. Among other things he knows something important about Prometheus, specifically how he was able to steal fire
Prometheus was a son of Iapetus by Clymene(one of the Ocenaids). He was a brother of Atlas, Menoetius and Epimetheus. He surpassed all in cunning and deceit
Which is why Eli disagrees with Michael and agrees with Michael when Michael says (Since everyone here can keep the Anonymice straight that should be easy to decode)
Simply censoring him would be cause for concern, but yelling at him, openly censoring him, and not giving him room to respond is another matter. This behavior by RC editors is worse than no RC at all. It isn't Pielke that looks bad in this exchange.
Eli thinks that Michael is making a major mistake, the kind of mistake that has allowed the Lindzens and Singers of the world to prosper (FWIW, RP's of all ages are not Singer or Lindzen). You do not invite skunks to a picnic. When someone argues post hoc, you call them on it. Fast.


Anonymous said...

I can't see what difference it makes what RC's policy is with regard to RP, Jr.

People don't go to RC for rhetorical games.

They go there for science.

If they want rhetorical games, they can go to Prometheus.

Anonymous said...

Just a minor correction:

I believe the most accurate description is "post hoc nauseam"

Anonymous said...

But didn't little pielke ban the rabett from his blog? By the way, the banning date was the same day that little pielke made his national debut on Fox News "Global Warming: the debate continues."

little pielke probably expected a flood of new fans and didn't want the rabett bringing up those pesky facts.

Mus musculus anonymouse

Michael Tobis said...

People don't go to realclimate articles for rhetorical games, but people do go to the comment threads for that. Yes, I've learned some science from the comment threads, but it's interesting to read them to see what people are thinking. (I read slashdot climate stories for the same reason.)

The point is that a lot of people go to RC, and they have varying amounts of context. To write a response as a participant is one thing. To write it as an editor is another.

I agree in principle. Some people are just not useful to have around. We can clearly demonstrate this with the collapse of sci.environment.

If in RC's editorial judgment RP should be banned, so be it. I am not sure I agree in the particular instance, but such judgments are necessary.

The polemics of printing the beginnings of someone's posting, followed by an official "Roger, shut up", though, are disastrous.

It is always necessary to consider the reader who has little or no context. To that reader, Pielke comes out looking good and RC comes out looking bad.

In summary here are the choices I can identify:

1) don't publish Pielke in general or an some particular: I tend to diasgree but not disastrous

2) publish Pielke and let other commenters take him down: my preference

3) publish Pielke and respond in detail, with chapter and verse, pointing out places he is inexcusably incorrect: expensive in time and impractical, but ideal

4) publish a tiny bit of Pielke followed by an official "Roger shut up": I don't have polite words for how bad a choice this is.

Anonymous said...

"To that reader, Pielke comes out looking good and RC comes out looking bad."

The problem is that you really can't win in this case.

If you ban him, he'll cry foul (or just cry).
If you let him speak and then cut him off, he'll cry.
If you let him speak ad nauseam (as he is wan to do), the conversation will invariably be diverted to where he wants it to go.

Allowing RP to continue to talk just makes things worse. Let's face it, RP is certainly not dumb and has finely honed debating skills!

Anyone who has ever tried to argue with him on Prometheus knows that and has undoubtedly fallen prey from time to time.

The only way you can effectively deal with it is to be like Dano and quickly point out the FUD whenever it occurs and, if RP does not like it, tell him to go cry to someone who cares (on Prometheus).

If there was a problem with Dano's tactic, it was that he was telling RP this on Prometheus! (which did not go over well with the host, as you can well imagine).

It was humorous, nonetheless.

I remember the first time I read something by Dano. I asked myself, "Where in the world did this guy come from? Venus?" Dano may be from Venus, but, as the author of "Men are from mars, Women are from Venus" knows, the Venusian tactics seem to work well against the Martians.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has their own "Rules of Order"

Robert has one set, Roger another and Rabett yet another.

Perhaps RC has just adopted "Rabett's Rules of Order". Nothing wrong with that, is there?

Works quite well here at the Pielke Fan Club.

Speaking of which, on behalf of the Anonymice Association (all 3 of us), I hereby make a motion that John Fleck be formally invited to our next meeting. He can act as honorary secretary to keep the meeting minutes, seconds and micro-seconds.

Nils Simon said...

Unfortunately, I share the view of Eli and Michael and think the chosen way to deal with Roger was indeed a very bad one.

@the anonymous two posts above mine: this venus and mars thing remings me of a postcard I discovered a few weeks ago in a nice little shop:

Men are from Earth.
Women are from Earth.
Deal with it!

Anonymous said...

Nils said "I share the view of Eli and Michael and think the chosen way to deal with Roger was indeed a very bad one."

Are you sure? Check your assumptions.

You can agree with both Eli and Michael, but I don't believe you can do that while simultaneously thinking that "the chosen way to deal with Roger was indeed a very bad one."

Check what Eli said again:

"Eli disagrees with Michael [Tobis] and agrees with Michael [Mann] when Michael [Tobis] says..."

Eli thinks that Michael [Tobis] is making a major mistake, the kind of mistake that has allowed the Lindzens and Singers of the world to prosper

Nils Simon said...

anonymos: sad, but true. So, corrected and forced to chose a side I then go unsurprisingly with Michael [Tobis]. There are surely better ways to deal with the sort of comment under discussion, and Michael has showed four of them. The chosen path by RC (undoubtedly still my favourite blog) is the worst of these choices. Unless they wanted to distract Pielke et al. and persuade them to spend some time complaining about the censoring, which may prevent them from posting other stuff for one or two days. But I have my doubts regarding this explanation (not the least because it's likely ineffective)...

Anonymous said...

Well, this was something that an anonymouse posted over at Mr. Tobias's blog, but it didn't get past the editor. Maybe Mr. Tobias has some feelings for Mr. Pielke?

==post that was deleted==

Roger Pielke Jr. wrote: If you'd like to comment on substantive issues, so much the better (oddly absent from this discussion!).


Mus musculus anonymouse

Anonymous said...

Yeh, RP writes those kinds of "If you'd like to comment on substantive issues.." replies all the time on his own blog to people who call him on the FUD, but we don't see anyone but Dano and Eli -- and now RC -- calling him on it.

The double standard is indeed very interesting.

Pielke can dish it out, but he (and others) can not take it, the poor dears.

Anonymous said...

It's humorous that Pielke's book is being sold as a package deal with another book on Amazon:

"Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future"

I wonder, would that refer to "Useless IPCC Arithmetic", by any chance?

According to the blurb for Useless Arithmetic:
"The book offers fascinating case studies depicting how the seductiveness of quantitative models has led to ...unjustifiable faith in predicted sea level rise rates... The authors demonstrate how many modelers have been reckless, employing fudge factors to assure "correct" answers and caring little if their models actually worked.'

Anonymous said...

Perhaps RP will write another book in the same vein and call it "Useless Science Policy Blogs".

ankh said...

I guess I wonder how long MT has been reading RP.

Anonymous said...

Probably not very long.

I suspect Mann's response to Pielke had actually built up over time from a number of things.

Pielke basically pushes people to the limit (taunt them almost -- witness his pieces on James Hansen) and thinks he can get away with it.

He's the spoiled little kid who always got his way.

When someone finally tells him no, he has a hissy fit.

It's really rather pathetic. Juvenile, actually.

Marion Delgado said...

I was wondering where people who troll and bait and basically play games on serious forums got their amazing sense of entitlement. I believe that Tobin is, in general, making an even bigger mistake here than RC's Mann may be.

Michael Tobis said...

In a public forum, when somebody exasperates you to the point where you become emotional, you should STFU and leave the floor to someone else, lest you harm your cause.

I don't deny that Mann was at the end of his rope, and I am certainly willing to entertain the hypothesis that Pielke deliberately pushed him there. Nevertheless, Mann is in a position of considerable responsibility.

Responsible behavior when you have successfully been annoyed is to shut up.

Whether or not you or I have enough context to know whom the injured party is, some of your readers do not.

Private conversations, and scientific debates, have context. Public communications (geeks will see an analogy to HTTP requests) are stateless. You must re-establish sufficient context with every single thing you say.

Failing to do that can do considerable damage.

I see at least two of the editors of RC showing their impatience without providing enough context to justify it. They look arrogant and dogmatic. The opponent wins.

You can't let them get your goat. Victory happens when you still have your goat at the end of the day.

Not to rub salt in all of our wounds, but a big contributor to many of the world's problems was A Gore's audible sighs during his first presidential debate. Alas for all of us, he thought his microphone was off.

We know our microphone is on, and we should act accordingly.

EliRabett said...

Well, first, and it is a minor point and a mistake that Eli made very early on, it's Michael Tobis, not Tobias.

That out of the way, Eli would council all to avoid the circular firing squad, a fallacy that Michael appears to be falling into. Now there are ways of saying what Michael wants to say without doing this, for example, Gore taunted beyond exasperation by Bush's lies and the way that the press refused to talk about them sighed. The Bush loving press played that up, costing perhaps a few votes. One must be very careful when the supposed referees are on the other guys side.

Or, there were better ways for Michael Mann to handle Roger Pielke's taunting, but one can understand his exasperation. In cases like that it is important that the rest of us provide support by demonstrating how out of bounds Roger was.

PS: Why complain about mice, when there are a surfeit of Michaels and Rogers to play with?

Michael Tobis said...

Gore taunted beyond exasperation by Bush's lies and the way that the press refused to talk about them sighed. The Bush loving press played that up, costing perhaps a few votes.


there were better ways for Michael Mann to handle Roger Pielke's taunting, but one can understand his exasperation.

And done. Are we agreed then?

Perhaps not. People are suggesting Mann made just a little mistake. In isolation this may be true. However, many of the people we are trying to reach perceive a pattern of arrogance which I see as a pattern of impatience.

RC provides an enormous service but it could easily do better with the simple expedient of not falling into polemical traps.

You don't need a circular firing squad to shoot yourself in the foot.

While as a single incident this isn't worth dwelling upon, as an egregious instance of a repeating pattern it is important.

EliRabett said...

Think like Mom Rabett, encourage good behavior, or at least try to, and be sure to whack the ungodly while you tell the bunnies to behave. We are not communicating on a back channel.

Anonymous said...

Mann's exasperation is the result of years of constant baiting by Roger Pielke Jr. Roger has behaved this way toward Mann as well as other eminent scientists such as James Hansen and Don Kennedy.

There is no need for Mann to show patience and suffer fools like Pielke. And if anyone is unaware of Pielke's behavior, then it is up to them to do that Google thing and educate themselves.

Mus musculus anonymouse

Dano said...

Well, I am a Tobis fan and I also understand human nature.

When I deal with the public, I act like Michael says you should act. Diplomatically. But that's all about not upsetting the public and therefore acting diplomatically to

If one thinks society needs directioning to ameliorate/adapt/mitigate AGW, then society needs a change in direction. We must discuss where everyone wants to go. We don't know how to do that. We also know that redirectioning takes forevvvvvver in a society where there's no strong leadership to follow. Do we have forever? IMHO, diplomacy takes a long time. Do we have a long time?

Maybe some of this non-diplomatic behavior by the Head Rabett is aimed toward galvanizing in the absence of leadership. Finding a way to let people know, quickly, what is FUD.



Anonymous said...

"You do not invite skunks to a picnic."

You also don't pretend it did not happen when a skunk sprays.

Anonymous said...

"non-diplomatic behavior by the Head Rabett.."

I think "The Reverend Rabett" has a nice ring to it.

"The Reverend Rabett"
-- by Algeranon

The Reverend Rabett leads a prayer,
A call to arms, for truth laid bare.

His floppy ears are like radar dishes,
That continually scan for threatening hisses.

His teeth, while sharp, are normally reserved
For chomping roots in his nature preserve.

But when he's riled, he lays them bare,
More like lion than like hare.

With no desire to be rich and famous,
He suffers not the ignoramus.

He calls him on his silly games,
While mice come out and call him names.

Marion Delgado said...

Eli: You say spelling it "Tobias" and not "Tobis" is a "mistake" - but since I misspelled it even worse as "Tobin" isn't your estimate simply a compromise among competing claims? And if that's not peer review enough for you and Tobi[a]s, I asked lord monckton, who is in fact a peer, to review the spelling and he agreed with you.I'm highly suspicious of these "mistakes" when people like you and mr. Tobi[a]s collude in such an obvious fashion.

Marion Delgado said...

Actually, on reflection, Michael Tobis' advice is pretty good. When I have more time and can read the comments at, I learn almost as much from them as the postings, and part of the value is the inline replies, which should indeed be to the point and scientific whenever possible.

I just have a gut reaction that Dr. Tobis is giving too much credit and favorable publicity to a whole shifty and dishonest politicized movement masquerading as honest scientific dispute, I think. A movement that has, for one thing, treated the suggestion that more money for more data and better models would be a SINISTER thing vs. the very thing needed to resolve what remaining controversy exists, as his blog indicates. First of all, honestly believe? I doubt it. Second, he ignores the deliberate fraud. Indeed, that's the PURPOSE of the projecting claim that scientists who have drifted into the consensus position, such as it is, on climate change are in it for the money and fame. It's to make you shy away from pointing out that these post hoc arguers are often that way for precisely that reason - they're paid to be that way. Alternately, they really are doing only politicized science.

RC is hit with a barrage of essentially either astroturf or second-hand astroturf. It's a very real problem. It's the same problem scientists have in those debates they're always challenged to have. You aren't dealing with people willing to look honestly at things. Until that's admitted, you have garbage in and your conclusions out will also be garbage.