Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lord Voldemort bleats

We have become used to the stuck pig act that Viscount Monckton of Brenchley uses to try and beat down opponents. As responses were sure to follow his confused jottings in the Forum on Physics and Society, Eli is not surprised at the latest display.

UPDATE: Arthur Smith's detailed review of Monckton's article can be found on alteenergyaction. More in the comments.

Arthur Smith, who undressed Gerlich and Tscheuschner without their noticing the cloth falling away, has essayed this act, only to be met by a blat from Brenchley. Actually two blats, the second (chronologically the first) being aimed at Gavin Schmidt. Art must have cut deep. Now Arthur is a nice guy, and writing in comments at Climate Progress, he notes that

For what it’s worth, I sent Marque and Saperstein a science-based response to their July issue; I’m sure they have a few others to select among. I cc’ed Monckton and received a quick and extraordinarily detailed “rebuttal”, complete with personal attacks of several sorts. There are a few issues he clearly doesn’t understand, a few issues where he seems to be relying on “experts” like Lindzen and McKitrick (and over-generously interpreting the ambiguous things they typically say) and others where he just wants to be contentious. Whatever. I was surprised at the speed and vigor of the response, at least. Not sure what to make of it - is it the only one he was cc’ed on?
but foolishly thinks that he can deal with Brenchley without confronting him
Well, he might have cobbled together answers he’s prepared on one or two of the issues I raised, but for the most part, it was really very specific to my comments (the personal attacks were certainly quite specific!) I don’t feel at liberty to quote the whole thing,
Ah, but Arthur, Brenchley was more than happy to provide the entire text of your letter addressed to another. Of course, if Eli were you, I would check that he had not altered anything, and for giggles you might send him a message about printing the work of others.

UPDATE: In the comments Arthur Smith kindly provides the complete text of the letter he DID write to Brenchley. Rabett Run, where you read it before it happens. . .

However, young bunnies, let us imagine Arthur wrote a Brenchley letter written to Brenchley :

TO: Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Carie Rannoch

FROM: Arthur Smith
Selden, NY

Recently, in keeping with the request of the editors at the Forum on Physics and Society to provide reasoned rebuttals to an article appearing under your name and another by David Hafemeister and Peter Schwartz, I provided a submission for consideration as to publication in the Forum. You have recently published my work on a public web site without my permission embedded into a detailed diatribe which casts numerous aspersions upon me, my scientific competence and ethics.

Primo, complete publication of another's work violates copyright. You should immediately remove, or see that my work is removed.

Secundo, publication of another's work that has been submitted for publication before editorial review is complete is a major ethical transgression as well as being a violation of copyright, may adversely affect the chances for publication and cause me professional damage. This is actionable. I expect a written and fulsome apology from you on this matter.

Teatro, doing so with a document that was sent to others and, I assume, passed to you for comment, is again questionable.

Further, your constant mischaracterization of my argument as being ad hominem is deeply offensive, and obviously wrong as any reader of my letter which you copied in full without permission can tell. Your bland assertion of my letter being ad hominem in light of the editors appeals for comments that are scientific in nature is an unacceptable attempt to prejudice whether my letter should be published. Such an attempt from someone, such as yourself, who is so quick to take offense speaks not well of your intent.

Please immediately remove the text of my letter from your documents published by you at the Science and Public Policy Institute website and elsewhere. If my letter was sent to you for confidential review or comment by the editors of the Forum on Physics, you should immediately remove every part of the document, nor quote from it, nor comment on it, until my letter is published or you receive permission from me but in no case should you publish the entire text, and you should endeavor to see that these documents are removed from other sites. Should you not be able to do so, as the one who put this confidential document into the public sphere, you will bear full responsibility for any adverse consequences accruing to me.

Please send me the name of all web sites and documents in which you have published my letter or commented on it together with all comments.

Please send me the name or names of those who have forwarded my letter to you and the conditions, if any, on your handling of the documents. Also provide me with the names of anyone to whom you showed or discussed my letter in full or in part before you published your reply, and their comments and communications to you. Please also provide their qualifications, funding, the names of their wives and children and pets.

Having regard to the circumstances, surely you owe me an apology?
Well, anyhow, that's what Brenchley would have done. A bunny can dream

UPDATE: Act two, in which Brenchley replies, Arthur replies, Brenchley replies, Arthur replies and more


Anonymous said...

I particularly liked this paragraph:

Next, Dr. Smith says I was wrong to say that McKitrick (2007) implied that global temperature change simpliciter had been overstated by a factor of two since 1980. He points out, rightly, that McKitrick’s paper refers only to land temperatures. However, I had consulted the Professor before writing about his conclusions, and – if I understood him correctly – he said that the ratio would apply almost equally to global land and sea temperatures, since the datasets were very heavily biased towards land-based
measurements. emphasis added

...mainly because it is apparent that so many climatologists agree with 'The Professor', that they just can't start citing him



Hank Roberts said...


Arthur said...

Uh, wow Eli, thanks. You got a few details wrong, but the gist was about what I sent a couple of hours back... I wish I'd read your ideas before I wrote my own version - see below :-)


Subject: Your violation of copyright
Dear Monckton,

I see you have publicly posted your "rebuttal" to my draft comments:


This includes in full the article I sent to Physics and Society, but I did not grant you permission to post this. My article was a draft and is still under revision - I sent it to you as a courtesy. You have also distorted the article - in particular by altering the article to state that it was written by "Dr. Arthur Smith, American Physical Society". You also have a claim on the page linked above that I am a "a paid official of the Society, a Dr. Smith" - I am in no way an official, spokesperson, or representative of the APS. APS is a large organization; my position is in the information technology department, and I do not report directly to anybody who was in any way associated with your publication.

I made no claim of association with the APS in the article other than my email address, which will not appear in the final copy. I subsequently made clear to you that in writing I was in no way representing the society, and my work was in no way authorized, suggested, sponsored, or even approved by any other employee or official of the society beyond myself. Your addition of this title is a blatant distortion and violation of the common courtesy I extended in sending you an initial copy.

Since your posting it is in violation of my copyright, I demand you either:

(A) immediately take it down, or
(B) post a modified copy removing any mention of "The American Physical Society"


(C) Publicly issue a correction on the above web page including the statement I made above, that "I was in no way representing the society, and my work was in no way authorized, suggested, sponsored, or even approved by any other employee or official of the society beyond myself. "

My dear Monckton, your behavior here to me personally is appalling. It does not speak well for your "science".

This letter also was written entirely on my own initiative, time, and interest and in no way claims to represent the views of the American Physical Society, for which I am most emphatically not authorized to speak. Please submit all future discussion of this issue to the address I am sending this from and listed below.

Arthur Smith

John Mashey said...


1) Are you surprised?

Presumably not any more...
After all, unreferreed appearance in the FPS newsletter was transmogrified into the APS changing its position.

Welcome to the club of "the usual suspects".

2) It will be interesting to see what happens, but I wouldn't hold my breath. After all, this month, the Viscount was still posting fantasies, like claiming UCSD had invited Naomi Oreskes to apologize for here (mythical) "severe misconduct".

Actually, UCSD gave her a different invitation, i.e., to be promoted to Provost, *before* Monckton's post. See

Anonymous said...

I don't see, amidst this Playground Babble, any attempt to address the substance of the matter.

Arthur said...

Ah, dear Anonymous, sorry about that. I have posted a much more detailed (start of a) critique of Monckton's article here:


Since he has posted my commentary at his SPPI website, you might do well to read there what I wrote about his article as well, since it addresses the central questions in his paper.

Arthur said...

And the SPPI page with my article and Monckton's rebuttal has now been taken down... Hey, sometimes this stuff works!

Anonymous said...

Arthur. I read your link. You just saying Monckton is wrong doesn't make it so. As far as I can tell he is correct in all the respects you highlight, although I did get bored with reading your unsupported assertions about halfway.

Please try harder, and do better.

Arthur said...

Unsupported assertions? I quoted directly from the IPCC reports, which is what Monckton claimed to rely on, and I have cited a rather large number of other sources and peer reviewed articles there.

If you find one of the "respects [I] highlight" to be invalid, be specific and tell me what you think is wrong. Sure it's a long list - and I'm only about 1/3 done with it. Monckton really filled his article with a pile of errors from start to finish, it's not surprising most knowledgeable people who've looked at it were disgusted.

D.D said...


You saying Authur is wrong does not make it so. It is obvious that Monckton's article was full of errors. The man, for instance, even gets confused between forcings and responses. I, for one though, appreciate those that take the time to tackle pseudo-science pieces such as Monckton's work in a point-by-point detailed manner.


John Mashey said...

When the first page of a paper complains that Earth climate simulators don't predict warming on Mars and Jupiter, one does not expect to read much useful thereafter....

In any case, this seems anothe time for:
IUOUI: Ignore Unsupported Opinions of Unidentifiable Individuals

as they are, at best worthless, and usually, just a waste of time.

guthrie said...

The only thing to do to people like Monckton is smack them, when they complain, smack them again, and repeat as necessary. It should also be done as publicly as possible, so that people can see what sort of useless person is being dealt with so publicly.

Anonymous said...

Fulsome doesn't really mean what you think it does.

Arthur said...

Hmm, any suggestions for doing this more publicly? :-) By the way, despite the fact that they did indeed take down the "rebuttal" page (the PDF file still seems to be accessible though), I received yet another letter from M. this afternoon. Here's a summary of our correspondence thus far:

1. Wednesday July 23, 6:06 pm EDT - My "response" manuscript sent to Physics and Society, with a cc to Hafemeister and Monckton and to the Forum's current president (Zwicker). This was after a week's worth of collecting notes and a couple of days of discussion with a colleague in preparing my response.

2. Wednesday, July 23, 8:55 PM: Hafemeister responds, strongly objecting to being lumped in with Monckton in my comments (I didn't lump much, but really, Hafemeister and Schwartz could have done a better job).

3. Thursday, July 24, 10:49 AM: Monckton responds with the "rebuttal" article, as he posted to his website and Eli linked to above, with my article included in full, and a prefatory statement that it was from "Dr. Arthur Smith, American Physical Society", which was not in the original.

4. Thursday, July 24, 1:07 PM: I respond to Monckton and all the original recipients of my article, suggesting he read my comments a bit more carefully and addressing the following points and stating clearly at the end that I was *not* writing as a representative of the American Physical Society... :
* the definition of equilibrium climate sensitivity used
by the IPCC is the "equilibrium global mean surface
temperature change following a doubling of atmospheric
CO2 concentration" (8.6.1), or "equilibrium globally
averaged surface air temperature change for a doubling of
CO2 for the atmosphere coupled to a non-dynamic slab
ocean," (10.3) - this says nothing about whether the
emissions are anthropogenic or natural, and also nothing
about changes in any other atmospheric constituents; only
CO2 is doubled (and then held fixed, allowing for no CO2
feedback) in these definitions. If you want to reproduce
the IPCC analysis, you need to follow their definitions.

* the probability distribution function of estimates for
this sensitivity is not normal (see IPCC AR4 WG1 Box
10.2), and the "central tendency" or midpoint of the IPCC
range is different from the IPCC's "best estimate".
Because of the inverse nature of the feedback
relationship, using central estimates for the feedback
parameters will mathematically give a lower "best
estimate" than the "central tendency" of the full range.
But this is a minor point anyway.

* I was not advocating for a larger value of the
no-feedback response; I was merely wondering why you
hadn't included an obvious instance of yet another
(larger) value in your table 2, obtainable by much
simpler analysis than you apply to the others. Bony's
0.31 is fine with me.

* If "we may divide any one of the three factors by 3"
and obtain the same result, then do a little more work to
find out precisely where the IPCC was wrong by a factor
of 3. Your original article attributed this to the
forcing, but evidently you now have second thoughts. Be
precise. Is it the no-feedback response? Feedbacks? Where
is this mysterious factor of 3?

* If you want to quote private communications with
Lindzen, McKitrick and Michaels, I suggest you invite
them as co-authors of your "rebuttal", so that we know
they explicitly sanction your representations of their
views. Otherwise the claims are essentially meaningless.

* Urban heat island effects are adjusted for in the GISS
and CRU temperature records; this has been studied and
documented in peer reviewed papers such as: Parker, David
E. (2004), “Large-scale warming is not urban”, Nature 432
(7015): 290 and David E. Parker (2006). "A demonstration
that large-scale warming is not urban". Journal of
Climate 19: 2882–2895. Furthermore, satellite
measurements which should have no UHI effect show
temperature trends that track very closely with the
land-ocean measurements, since the start of the satellite
record in the late 1970s. As to McKitrick not getting a
response - I am in fact not sure what McKitrick paper you
are talking about - the citation in your article matches
the title of a paper by McKitrick and Michaels, not just
by McKitrick, but your article states it is "in press".
If it is the McKitrick/Michaels paper (J. Geophys. Res.,
112, D24S09) it appears to indeed have been ignored so
far. Stating that all temperature records are off by a
factor of 2 is an extraordinary claim that in the normal
course of science would require substantial additional
evidence beyond their statistical correlation argument,
before being accepted.

Also, please note that I write completely in my personal
capacity as a long-time member of the Forum and I am not
authorized nor do I speak in any way as a representative
of the American Physical Society, where I happen to work
(this email was prepared over lunch).

5. Thursday, July 24, 6:21 PM, Monckton responds with a letter claiming that all my points are minor (while acknowledging them one way or another), and ending with the slightly pathetic:
"On the whole, since I am not well and can only expend limited energy on these things, I am inclined to let my original draft stand."

6. Friday, July 25, roughly 4:00 PM. The inevitable happened - somebody notified one of the executive officers of the society that I had written a critique of Monckton. I was visited, and informed that I needed to be very clear that I was not authorized to represent APS in my comments. I explained that I had attempted not to make that claim, but had, as was my custom, used my aps.org email address to send the article. I was told to switch to an non-APS address for future correspondence on the matter, so that it was clear this was completely unrelated to my employment or association with APS. This I have done.

7. Wednesday, July 30 at 6:11 PM I received a note from a colleague that Monckton had posted his rebuttal on his SPPI website. I visited the site, and sure enough found highlighted an article titled "Chuck it Smith" with the above link to the text of Monckton's rebuttal, including the complete text of my comments, and with Monckton's prefatory claim of my relationship with APS added. He had additionally, in the post, falsely claimed I was a "paid official" of the society, and implied some sort of conspiracy against him.

8. Wednesday, July 30, 9:15 PM I sent the above letter concerning the copyright violation, copying again the Physics and Society editors and Forum president.

9. Thursday, July 31, 12:57 AM I received a letter from Monckton demanding that I persuade the APS to remove the "offensive disclaimer" from above his paper. He also attacked me as a "political campaigner and paid official" and claimed I had widely circulated my draft (I had not, sending a copy only to the people listed above). On the other hand, he appears to have widely circulated his response, his false claims about my status with the society, and my original text, to an even wider degree than I was aware last night, having done some google searching on it today. Needless to say, he refused to remove his posting.

(10) Thursday, July 31, 7:01 AM - I responded to Monckton and again copied all the others, but this time included Bob Ferguson of Monckton's SPPI in the email, and I specifically threatened legal action for his violation of copyright and his repeated knowing false statements about my relationship with the American Physical Society.

(11) Thursday July 31, 8:03 AM. Ferguson wrote asking me to call. I did, and we agreed that if his web person completely removed the offending article from the SPPI website I would find that acceptable. I'm not sure they've completely followed through (the PDF is still there), but at least the html page "Chuck it, Smith" is gone.

(12) Thursday, July 31, 1:12 PM. Monckton writes again with a 12-point list of claims, mostly gripes against the APS that have no bearing on my article, and then accuses me of "entrapment". He apparently plans the following:

"My patience with the American Physical Society and its myrmidons is at an end. I am proposing to arrange, therefore, that your letter of purported rebuttal and my letter "compellingly" refuting your rebuttal will be read into the record of proceedings of the US Senate, which - for the avoidance of doubt - are covered by absolute privilige. I shall then be free to arrange for websites all round the world to report the relevant extract from the proceedings of the US Senate in full. In this manner, as it seems to me, what appears to have been an attempt at deliberate entrapment of me on the part of the American Physical Society will have been thwarted."

Hmm, perhaps I have been guilty of entrapment - that sounds like an excellent way to proceed :-)

EliRabett said...

Interesting legal theory there, that because something is read on the US Senate floor the owner loses his or her copyright. I suspect that our dear Viscount is a good at law as he is at climate science.

In any case, as we can take a good guess at who will read this into the record, it would be amusing to send a letter to dear marc pointing out that violation of copyright is a no no.

OTOH, as far as Eli can see (and being of a certain age, he is very far sighted) there is no civil tort in Monckton posting his reply anywhere he pleases, it is just fairly unethical. More on that later.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Claque, no-one has laid a glove on the substance of Moncktons paper yet. The storm of ad homs and self approved criticisms are clear indications of that. Arthur reminds me of the child in the playgound who makes up his own rules in his own game, and then says "nya nya, I won". Still defending the models, and maintaining there has been warming for the last 8 years? Pathetic. Relying on the IPCC? Still support the Hockey Stick do you? Please, get a brain. As for being described as a nice guy? Anyone who ad homs regularly, and disses McIntyre, and McKitrick, and Lindzen etc, and then relies on the idiot Tim Lambert needs their head and character examining.

Former Skeptic said...


Yes, no one has laid a glove on M's paper - that's because it has been demolished by a mere pinprick.

Have you even READ the paper? As in READ, and not superficially skim thru it? Using data from <10 years, claiming that such analysis marks a significant trend when you need at least 30 years to decouple the signal from the noise? An arbitrary reduction of CO2 radiative forcing by a factor of three (why not ten? hundred? ten thousand? a gazillion?) without scientific justification whatsoever? Willy-nilly addition of positive feedbacks as an obvious fudge factor to his equations? Incorrect, lazy referencing?

And how are these criticisms "self-approved" when (a) they have scientific basis and (b) Monckton refuses to objectively answer these? Neither putting your hands over your ears and going "lalalalalalala", nor calling other folks names are the way to answer your skeptics. It may work in journalism or in drunken pub talk in Oxbridge, but not in the post-pubescent world, let alone in scientific discourse.

Get with the plan, dude. The majority of America know that AGW is real, and both Obama and McCain realize the past mistakes made. A change is a-coming indeed. Supposed "skeptics" like you are a dying breed...hope you enjoy going the way of the dodo.

PS: Your child-in-a-playground reference is better suited to Monckton than to Smith. I enjoyed the irony in that. :-)

John Mashey said...

to former skeptic:

I'm interested in processes by which people form opinions in this turf.

Given your moniker, might you shed some more light on:

1) When you say former skeptic, that could be ambiguous, given the term skeptic gets used in several different ways. Does that mean:

a) That you strongly disbelieved AGW? and then changed your mind?
b) The classic definition of skeptic, i.e., approaching the turf scientifically, weighing evidence, and deciding after a while that the evidence had piled up on one side?

I.e., was your starting point "AGW is really unlikely" or "I'm not yet convinced either way"? or maybe "There seems to be a consensus, but there are worrisome issues."

2) How long ago did you start looking at this seriously, and what information sources did you look at to reach your current opinion?
a) Credible, short-term, but then not credible later?
b) Long-term credible?

Any particular sources that made you say "Ahh! Now I understand that."

3) Did you maintain a list of "worrisome issues" that you modified as new results appeared or you learned more?

Steve Bloom said...

"Teatro," Eli? Are we talking 1) a clever double dig at the pretentious drama queen Monckton or 2) an especially fortuitous typo?

EliRabett said...


Anonymous said...

Perhaps if one is discussing Mars, the lack of a magnetic field and winter for each hemisphere only happening every two years is more important than an atmosphere made of mostly carbon dioxide? Or might it be a matter of a basic lack of water in liquid form? Mayhaps a surface pressure less than 1% of Earth's? −46 °C mean temperature? Ah. Interesting questions with no clear-cut answers.

Joe P.

Anonymous said...

...and Arthur's new email address still contains the string "aps"... long live conspiracy theories :-)