Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Over reach

It is beginning to look like the theft of Emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia was an over-reach. A group of National Academy of Science members have been discussing how the War on Science has broadened out and now threatens science in general. In an obvious attempt to intimidate, Myron Ebell, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has made this other purloined correspondence public, eliciting much hand wringing from the usual suspects. Make no mistake, the barbarians are at the door.

Joe Romm has a Romm length post up about the penultimate Email from George Woodwell

We are dealing with an opposition that is not going to yield to facts or appeals from people who hold themselves in high regard and think their assertions and data are obvious truths. There are lessons to be learned from the legal profession for defending one's professions. Take any challenge, not as something to be addressed directly, but as an opportunity to add substance to the case. If the opposition opens an issue, make the issue theirs, and so hot that they have to let go.

Those who stole the e-mails were criminals, not those who wrote them, and the argument must be for jailing the criminals, not investigating the scientists, all of whom were doing their jobs properly, sorting perspectives, data, analyses of data and how to proceed logically and forthrightly. We must make the issue what it is, the most troubling environmental and political challenge the world has ever faced. Those who deny the biophysical facts of the world would deny the reality of the law of gravity. The product of such denials is systematic progress in destroying this civilization. If one wants a view of where that process leads, take a quick look at Haiti at the moment.

The University's response to the challenges of Mann were totally wrong, misguided confessions that they have doubt as to the University's wisdom in employing and supporting him. And we, the scientific community, in an equally misguided effort at showing reasonableness and objectivity, participated.
This is the heart of the matter. Eli knows a lot of people in the climate science community whose work does not impinge much on climate change (regional pollution, ozone issues, chemical kinetics, etc) Up till now they have operated on the assumption that they and theirs will be left alone if they keep their heads down, but this is becoming untenable as the war against science broadens. The NAS members are beginning to realize that the attack on Phil Jones and Mike Mann is but the opening salvo.

The NAS members need to take the lead in withdrawing respect and collegiality from the Pielkes, the Lindzens and the Christys. Minnows like Douglass will sink of their own weight and the Lomborgs and McKitricks will have no support.

Agitprop like Douglass, Christy and Singer, will have a much tougher time getting published, because they have abused the default assumption of working in good faith and editors are finally becoming aware of this. Fantasists like Soon, Gerlich and Chilingar will be laughed out of town.

Andy Dessler and others have organized a response defending climate science that appears in the Houston Chron. They need support, go over there and hit the thumbs up and thumbs down buttons. Their science is good, but they do not understand the need to defend Jones, Mann and the CRU against outrageous attacks.

It is instructive to look at the tobacco wars. For a long time a small group of former scientists and a few wanna bes provided cover for the public relations types who ran the disinformation campaign. Just to name two, Fred Singer and Fred Seitz provided ammunition that the tobacco companies used to make sure that millions of additional people died. That anyone takes Singer seriously is evidence of a moral failing.

It was only when the biomedical scientific community decided to cease extending any respect to those providing cover for Big Tobacco that any progress was made. It took a long time, but you stopped seeing "Prof. X disagrees because Prof. X was simply read out of respectable company if he tried to deny the obvious in the New York Times while attempting to publish in Nature.

UPDATE: James Annan who quite rightly is unhappy about the current climate writes
You haven't had much climate science here recently, mostly because all that's been in the news relating to climate science, well...isn't actually anything to do with climate science really.
and points to an article on the ABC blog by Prof. Stephan Lewandowsky on the Australian Broadcasting Network Drum, which, as James says, we need more of
Sceptics seek answers and scrutinise arguments before accepting the current state of scientific knowledge as fact. Denialists dismiss sound arguments, solid data, and experimental evidence in favour of propositions that have long been shown to be flawed.

The world's pre-eminent scientific journal, Nature, therefore refers to those who cling to long-debunked pseudo-scientific conspiracy theories while dismissing the findings of thousands of peer-reviewed studies by their true label — denialists.

The potentially devastating consequences of denialism are brought into sharp focus by the sad history of South Africa's AIDS policies. Despite having one of the world's highest rates of HIV infections, the government of President Thabo Mbeki went against consensus scientific opinion 10 years ago and declined anti-retroviral drugs, preferring instead to treat AIDS with garlic and beetroot. Politicians even accused a leading South African immunologist of defending Western science and its "racist ideas" for his insistence on scientific treatment methods. According to a recent peer-reviewed Harvard study, this denialism cost the lives of more than 330,000 South Africans.

For that, President Mbeki and his associates are now held in richly deserved contempt around the world.

Precisely the same fate awaits denialists of climate change.
UPDATE: Joe Romm is mystified by what a Romm length post is: Comprehensive.

Comments?

71 comments:

Angliss said...

One of the problems is that some of the figures who dragged the tobacco mess out for years are doing the same with climate disruption. And I'm not talking Singer, but rather people like Steve Milloy.

Milloy has a great deal of power, power that he acquired initially by willing to lie on behalf of his tobacco-related employers. As an example, his Free Enterprise Action Fund was the driving force behind the recent SCOTUS decision that overturned a century of campaign finance limitations on direct corporate funding of candidates.

Other figures related to Milloy who have links to tobacco and the climate disruption denial industry include Cato's Michael Gough and Tom and Deneen Borelli of the NCPPR (both formerly of Philip Morris). And as of 2008, the main shareholders in Milloy's FEAFund were Thomas L. Phillips (of conservative publishers Eagle and Regnery Publishing), William Dunn of the CEI/Reason Foundation/PERC, and Arthur Dantchik and Robert Levy, both of Cato. Levy once gave congressional testimony that the tobacco settlement was "a shameful document, extorted by public officials who have perverted the rule of law to tap the deep pockets of a feckless and friendless industry."

Oh, and let us not forget Ken Green of Reason, the Fraser Institute, and the American Enterprise Institute - he's the guy who offered $10,000 bribes (excuse me - "honoraria") to professors willing to go on-the-record against the IPCC AR4.

Sources: http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2007/11/27/we-berate-you-deride-a-closer-look-at-the-background-of-steven-j-milloy-executive-director-of-demanddebatecom/

http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2007/11/28/we-berate-you-deride-a-look-at-steven-j-milloys-current-affiliates-and-backers/

V. infernalis said...

How long before someone in the denialosphere starts quoting these e-mails out of context? For example:

a) the last 10 years have been cooler; b) climate
scientists have no idea why, because this contradicts their model predictions; c) science is deeply divided about the importance of anthropological global warming; d) climate scientists are working together to silence opposition. e) the IPCC
report was sloppy science, standing behind such unproven hypotheses as disappearance of the Himalayan glaciers.


Of course, all you have to do is leave off the first part of that, which reads:

I suspect that there is a widespread belief among non-specialists that . . .

amoeba said...

Been there & done my duty. If anyone wanted proof of the Dunning-Kruger effect, then all one needed to do was read a few dozen comments.

Those bozos, with more than a few trolls from WTFUWT were truly fact challenged.

We surely have an uphill struggle.

TimChase said...

Eli, you are not alone in the view that the war on science is broadening...

"Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist who directs the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University and has spoken against efforts to water down the teaching of evolution to school boards in Texas and Ohio, described the move toward climate-change skepticism as a predictable offshoot of creationism.

"'Wherever there is a battle over evolution now,' he said, 'there is a secondary battle to diminish other hot-button issues like Big Bang and, increasingly, climate change. It is all about casting doubt on the veracity of science - to say it is just one view of the world, just another story, no better or more valid than fundamentalism.'"

Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets
By Leslie Kaufman, NY Times
Published: March 3, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/science/earth/04climate.html

TimChase said...

You mentioned scientists who had been involved in both the tobacco and AGW disinformation campaigns. I did a little digging a while back and it turns out that at least 32 major organizations were involved in both campaigns. Gives you some idea of the ethical standards that are involved, but then again the stolen emails in the UK and stolen computers in Canada are probably something of a clue as well.

In any case, in a comment at Real Climate here just below the fold is the list of the organizations that I found were involved in both disinformation campaigns -- with links on each:

Comment 855, 26 December 2009 8:35 PM, Unforced Variations
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unforced-variations/comment-page-18/#comment-151461

ChrisD said...

Eli, not to be annoying, but, but you mean "hand wringing", not "hand ringing".

Sou said...

It's good to see more scientists coming out and defending science. Too many were bending over backwards to be conciliarity and apologetic for no reason.

The main thing to do is:

1. Don't apologise because there is no reason to do so.

2. Don't call for 'more openness' - climate science is already the most open and transparent and peer reviewed and published there is. (Wouldn't it be nice if all the denialists were as open and transparent.)

3. Stick to the message and keep repeating it.

4. Don't give deniosaurs any credibility by 'debating' them or appearing at the same panel table with them. If invited, make sure you're first to speak and last to speak so you can drum home the message.

Anonymous said...

About time. This post so way overdue, finally the Rabett gets it.

Better you, than me mate. It is a war and this little head is staying down.

Little Mouse,
Devout cowardly little mouse

Anonymous said...

Eli, when you read what is written here about the Climategate emails,
Scientists seem to be just like Hitler... We are the rednecks, wankers, Poe's etc., we just don't count in your science books. You all are the "Uber's" and we are the "Unter's". What more do barbarians need to know? What a bunch of closed minded ziontists you all are... Spit at your funders and just quit your jobs, you all are better than this. If you read your Bible and believe; it reads to me that AGW may be the first big lie of the 7 thunders, in Revelation 10. Time will tell. If my reading of the Bible is correct soon after the seventh thunder(lie-Evolution?) it will be getting much hotter on Earth. Not much wind either...

Wadard said...

As we say in Australia, "bloody oath, mate."

OK... it means, "I agree with all your sentiments, old chap, and not in a mild way either".

Climate scientists need to harden-up, and get media-savvy, pronto. You need to understand that the terminology particular to your trade does not translate well with the public at best, and is too easily manipulated by Big Denial at worst. Take Phill Jones' BBC interview where he says warming is not statistically significant at 15 years. That became "and Phill Jones now confesses there has been no warming for 15 years" around the echo-chamber.

He should have said - "sorry BBC, but measuring climate change in 15 year tranches is meaningless; we need 25 to 30 years to pick up a trend."

Should have said, oh the all things I should have said... but anyway.

The best example I can give of the right media approach was that given by Monboit when he decimated Plimer on the Aussie tv show, Lateline, hosted by Tony Jones. He picked Plimer's obvious (volcanic) weakness and hammered and hammered and hammered and refused to to be diverted until he showed Plimer up to be shifty, then evasive and then completely duplicitous, and Plimer has not recovered here in Oz. Subsequently, he was dropped by Aus media like a hot potato, despite Murdoch's minions attempting to resuscitate him once or twice.

Monboit, a media veteran, has a natural advantage here, understanding that the media-grab works better than the caveats upon caveats that scientists use in cautiously advancing a possibility. But, scientist have to attune to the public when talking to the media, not their peers. We also recently saw Tim Lambert take Monckton down in debate by attacking his logic on sensitivity (vs Plimer's), not by directly defending science.

It's easy to do so without losing scientific credibility, by prefacing a statement with something like, "I wouldn't put it this way in a scientific paper exactly when communicating to my peers, but in order to simplify things for a non-scientific audience... yes climate change is <>".

And I know that most of you signed up for the quiet academic life where glory comes from successful intellectual pursuit. But, climate science now informs public policy, so like it or not, climate scientists now need to inform the public.

Just my 2c, but I have been meaning to say it somewhere for a while. Thanks for the opportunity.

Donald Oats said...

I've been hammering this message too, for the last few years. It is very unfortunate but we in Australia now have the ABC (public TV, supposed to be neutral - which of course makes it look Leftwing) TV chairman attacking staff because they haven't had Moncktons, Plimers, and goodness knows how many other denialists on as a balancing viewpoint. Except the ABC has had them on and all they do is obfuscate and equivocate. The ABC board was slowly infiltrated with climate change "sceptics" under the previous rightwing government (we call them Liberals in Australia).

So yes, science as a whole is under sustained attack by those least able to judge it. The first cracks appeared in schools picking up the Intelligent Design DVD, and it's really gone downhill from there. More importantly though, the more subtle attacks are from people willing to set up fake journals and the like, so that they may mimic the scientific method (in layman's terms).

PS: I've given up getting angry at the rising tide of pseudo-science and anti-science.

jg said...

This whole attack on science is beginning to look like one of the first lessons we learn in school: to improve your grade you can study, or you can tease the smart kids till they stop throwing off the grading curve.
jg

Hank Roberts said...

I asked this somewhere else (MT's?):

Do you think this:
"We are dealing with an opposition that is not going to yield to facts or appeals from people who hold themselves in high regard and think their assertions and data are obvious truths."

means this?

"We are dealing with an opposition that is not going to yield to facts or appeals, from people who hold themselves in high regard and think their assertions and data are obvious truths."

or maybe this?

"We are dealing with an opposition that is not going to yield to facts, or to appeals from people who hold themselves in high regard and think their assertions and data are obvious truths."

Or something else?

Yours for communication -- at the 7th grade national average reading comprehension level, preferably.

VeryTallGuy said...

I can't help feeling a little queasy on this.

Tamino and even skeptical science(although that post seems to have disappeared) have gone on the attack this week over Watts' disinformation. I have a nasty suspicion that the reaction to a layperson on reading this will see it as aggression to defend a bad position rather than the attack on lies that it is.

Still, I'm neither a climate scientist or a PR, so I could be hopelessly wrong.

On the comments on Jones above - I'm using that in a case study in a talk to some high school students on why science is important for everyone to understand. The hopeless level of science education is the fundamental problem with communication IMHO.

Anonymous said...

VTG, mentioned SkepticalScience.

That is odd, John Cook's site is not happy today. Hmm, a day or so after the called Steve Goddard on yet another error.

One has to wonder.....

Then again, maybe it is undergoing routine maintenance.

As to what we do? I have no bloody clue. Really, it is up to the media. Somehow Romm et al., maybe Eli too, have to befriend some credible journalists and point them in the right direction.

A challenge to all scientists and concerned citizens here. ID are credible and open-minded journalists who gets AGW, contact them, and offer to assist them with communicating the science and facts to the public.

In the meantime MSU data suggest that (barring a dramatic shift) March could be the warmest on the satellite record, as was November 2009 and January 2010, with February 2010 the second warmest Feb on the satellite record. This is not solely b/c of a moderate El Nino folks.

MapleLeaf

Anonymous said...

John Cook's site is showing the WFUWT story again.

ML

Steve Bloom said...

Bunnies got castanets, ChrisD.

Anonymous said...

stupid bunny

how can a theft be called an over reach

Eli "those thieves should have stolen less emails, they stole too many"


jajajajaajajajajajaj

gosh you are dumb

Anonymous said...

Hi Eli,

Your friend Roger Rabbit has been at it again:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8561004.stm

I have no idea what he (Roger Rabbit) is trying to say. The terms of reference do speak directly to AR4.

Anyhow, this is probably a god move by the IPCC. Although nothing the IPPC does will appease those in denial.

MapleLeaf

Jim Eager said...

"Dumb" is having no clue what the words "over reach" mean in the context of the rabbet's post.

carrot eater said...

Little Mouse,
Thank you for making me smile.

B. Kalafut said...

Add "accusations of 'fraud' or engaging in a 'hoax' are legally actionable" to the list.

Anonymous said...

Eli, I have a question totally unrelated to this topic, but perhaps anybody here can help.

A while a ago you posted a very simple greenhouse model. you consider surface temperature (T0) as the result of the solar radiation and the GHG effect, with T declining in the troposphere more or less as a function of the adiabatic lapse rate.
My question, to see if I got that right: if we (hypothetically) reduce all the GHGs, would T0 be somewhere around those 255 K given by T0 of a planet without an atmosphere, and a N2/O2 troposphere with a temperature gradient given by a lapse rate (whatever the latter would be exactly)?

I'm a botanist frequently afflicted with hard-core denialists. I have no problem to ward off those usual 2nd-law, CO2-absorption-is-saturated and CO2-is-a-fertilizer-for-plants arguments. My (bio)chemistry is good enough for that, but my physics and maths peacefully passed away during the last two decades...

Thx, thomas

Anonymous said...

Well folks, Watts is not tghe only one who need sot make an apology.

McIntyre and McKitrick also need to make some apologies.

See DeepClimate's latest expose.

MapleLeaf

Anonymous said...

Good grief, one of these days I'll learn to type!

Above should have read:

"Well folks, Watts is not the only one who needs to make an apology. "

Sorry.

MapleLeaf

mike roddy said...

Very well said, Eli, thanks.

When CRU was burglarized even the warrior Monbiot choked, so this pushback is much needed and overdue. The reference here to criminals is accurate.

My sense is that a counterattack clearly demonstrating the depth of the lies that have been arrayed against scientists will be effective.

Anonymous said...

For those who wonder, Skeptical Science was indeed hacked, not long after the posts on Goddard and Watts. John Cook is working on some defenses. This is a war, in which the denial side has demonstrated that, for them, anything goes.

Anonymous said...

....Despite having one of the world's highest rates of HIV infections, the government of President Thabo Mbeki went against consensus scientific opinion 10 years ago and declined anti-retroviral drugs, preferring instead to treat AIDS with garlic and beetroot..

That's just so fucking wrong it's not funny.

If they had gone in with anti-virals it would have had the same effect as the garlic and beetroot "cure".

Anti-virals and the other stuff given to AIDS sufferers could only work when the patient is having a great deal of rest and is in bed for a good part of the day/night.

That sort of thing simply can't happen in the poor world as most people simply can't afford to lie around or they'd starve.

In other words anti-virals etc is a rich world cure for the most part.

You guys really need to get your fucking head out of your arse and stop preaching anti-science shit to justify your advocacy.


Starting with you, Eli.


James' claim is a bullshit, anti-science one with regards to the poor world/anti-virals and again shows why climate science is heading for the freaking rocks.


You've ruined a decent slab of this area of science.

David B. Benson said...

Worse than the YECer wars...

dhogaza said...

"That's just so fucking wrong it's not funny."

I hate lying anti-science assholes who think they know more than researchers who work in fields like AIDS treatment and climate science. They are the scum of the earth.

EliRabett said...

What dhogaza said.

Anonymous said...

Eli:

Anti-virals can't work in the poor world for the reason stated.

You can hang on Dog's smart alec comment but that won't help.

James fucked up his example and you ought to man-up and apologize for getting taken in.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see that you're hiding behind the Dog's obvious avoidance of the time element.

At the time the garlic and beetroot comment was made scientists found anti-virals were failing badly in the 3rd world. Time goes by and they find another way around it.

Instead of playing the dishonesty card, why don't you just admit that and move on.

James fucked up his analogy. There's no more discussion.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @9:14 pm,

Wow, do you kiss loved ones with that potty mouth?

Anyhow, did you even bother to read dhogaza's link? Probably not. R e a d it.

Also, you forget that perinatal HIV transmission rates have been reduced in excess of 70 % through treatment of the mother and baby with highly active anti-retroviral treatment (HAART).

People are rightly mad at Mbeki. He failed many people, and indeed the entire nation, by denying the link between HIV and AIDS, even in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary, and worse still claiming that the retrovirals were part of some western conspiracy.

People close to me live in SA and have dealt first hand with the disasterous consequences of Mbeki's inaction.

Now those in denial about AGW are also touring conspiracy theories. They are also denying the link between elevated GHGs mostly from human activities and the radiative forcing resulting from those elevated GHG levels which have thrown our planet into an energy imbalance and resulted in global temperature increasing.

The analogy works, get over it and grow up, and stop being so irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Stop the bullshit, last anon.


James refers to AIDS treatment from a much earlier time. I presented the problems associated with treatment then. He's wrong.

Dogs then lifts out current treatment strategies and pretends that's what was being used at the time.

He's lying.
Eli sees a lifeline and holds on for dear life, not realizing the bungey rope is torn and ends up in trhe river.


This a perfect example of what's wrong with climate science and why we need a crop of younger honest people to take over.

Martin said...

It really isn't hard to find good information -- and I am not an expert in the field. Anon, stop lying and shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Is there a an IQ limit here, Eli, as Martie makes me think there is.

Martie:

Take a look at your link's date. It's 2008.

Annan is referring to an earlier period when these and earlier drugs were ineffective without new information and the new drugs we have now.

Now STFU and go grease someone car, you pathetic squib.

amoeba said...

Eli,
It's frightfully confusing with all these anonymice. Might it be possible to assign numbers to anonymous users according to their email address or IP address?

Adrian said...

Good grief,
are the anti-AGW folks getting this desperate that they now resort to attacking Eli over a quote about a demonstrated (and generally well accepted) fact that hundreds of thousands may have died in South Africa because of the refusal to administer an available medical treatment. Brave potty-mouth 'Anonymous' should check the links (carefully) with which he is being provided. The Harvard study does have a date of 2008, but it was a RETROSPECTIVE analysis of the five years of Mbeki's rule.
Of course, if Brave Anonymous has first hand knowledge that counters such claims (like his assertion that garlic and beetroot would work just as well - I'd like to see that clinical trial: was he a PI on that one?), perhaps he should stop hiding behind his pathetic anonymity, tell us who he is and give us the benefit of this better knowledge. Otherwise, he should just shut the hell up.
Dude, you are W-R-O-N-G!

Adrian said...

And for the record, I agree with Amoeba. It is hard to argue with (correct) potty-mouth Anonymous when several other 'Anonymouses' (Anonymi?) are commenting. I don't want to offend the wrong one!

Martin said...

You answer your own question by your posts: no, there doesn't seem to be an IQ limit. At least on the low end.

BTW if you want to be a good denialist you should be polite. Study Baron von Monckhausen and friends.

carrot eater said...

What on earth?

Anyway, it doesn't look like anybody took up Thomas's question.

For a first pass, it looks OK to me. But if you're taking ozone out of the atmosphere too, you won't even have a stratosphere I don't think, so the atmosphere will look quite different. What else might change, I don't know.

What sort of questions are people asking you, that you need the details of the atmosphere under greenhouse-less conditions? Just giving the ballpark surface temp should suffice.

By the way, everybody uses that temp (255 K), but that assumes the albedo of the earth didn't change as it cooled down from what it is now. But I'd think the albedo would go up, as you'd end up with a snowball earth, no? So it could get even colder.

Anonymous said...

"At least on the low end."

That's obvious otherwise you wouldn't be allowed to post here. If you left the IQ of the pace would double and 1/2s on your return.

Anonymous said...

Good grief,
are the anti-AGW folks getting this desperate that they now resort to attacking Eli over a quote about a demonstrated (and generally well accepted) fact that hundreds of thousands may have died in South Africa because of the refusal to administer an available medical treatment. Brave potty-mouth 'Anonymous' should check the links (carefully) with which he is being provided. The Harvard study does have a date of 2008, but it was a RETROSPECTIVE analysis of the five years of Mbeki's rule.



I’m not attacking Eli. My point is that he shouldn’t accept what James has said because it’s bullshit. It's damn wrong.


Of course, if Brave Anonymous has first hand knowledge that counters such claims (like his assertion that garlic and beetroot would work just as well - I'd like to see that clinical trial:


What claim? That the AIDS cocktail wasn’t working in Africa like it was in the rich world? It’s a fact, dopey. It’s not a claim. It’s a fact. The cocktail wasn’t working because a patient needs to be bedridden during the time they were administered. In other words one had just as much chance surviving under that idiot’s home therapy of garlic and urine (or whatever it was) than under the cocktail.


perhaps he should stop hiding behind his pathetic anonymity, tell us who he is and give us the benefit of this better knowledge. Otherwise, he should just shut the hell up.

You demand I reveal my identity while you post as Adrian. FFS is there a circus near where you live. Perhaps you could join as a clown.


Dude, you are W-R-O-N-G!

I’m not wrong at all. You are.




Oh and I'm not a sceptic, you goose.I'm just not a member of the "team"

Anonymous said...

"My point is that he shouldn't accept what James has said because it's bullshit"

You're too stupid to even know who said the quote you're railing against.

EliRabett said...

Eli actually knows pharmaceutical chemists and physicians that are manufacturing and distributing anti-virals in the third world and coordinating manufacture in the second world for the third world. He also knows that the same people have made huge strides in providing antivirals in countries such as Brazil, South Africa and China. He knows how access has prolonged many lives because of this.

If you want to learn about some of this work read this article about how Brazil broke the monopoly on antivirals to provide them to all of its citizens.

Please do not display your ignorance about this matter while it may make you feel better for not trying to help, your spreading this nonsense is harmful.

Adrian said...

Oh Mr. potty-mouth, or, as dhogaza called you, "scum of the earth", I'll give you my full name if I have any amazing revelations that would require me to support them.

Here's a quick question for you, to challenge your capacity to comprehend not so complex examples of the written word (try reading the lines and not between them): Where does it say anywhere in the quote you have found so objectionable that the drugs work any better or any less anywhere?

The study to which Professor Lewandowsky referred (and was subsequently mentioned by James Annan) simply postulated that several hundred thousand untimely deaths had likely been caused by bad medical practices, REGARDLESS of their 'comparative efficacy'.

Probably the most important aspect of that study (that you seem to have missed with your claim about required bed-rest) is that mothers passed on the virus to their babies and this could have been avoided by administration of 'rich world' antivirals (no bed rest required).

Your 'fact' is hogwash and is shot dead at the starting post by people (from Harvard) whom I would always trust above you and your outright rudeness.

You ARE attacking Eli (unless the suggestion that he has his "head up his arse" and is "preaching anti-science shit" passes as polite chit-chat where you come from).

Further, you have been found lacking in logic and reason, but you don't face up to it. Where is your apology (or back-down) for having attacked Martin or Dhogaza over their attempt to educate you? ("Dogs then lifts out current treatment strategies and pretends that's what was being used at the time. He's lying."
and
"Take a look at your link's date. It's 2008."
Both attempted to show you data FROM THE RELEVANT PERIOD)

And the only reason I object to your anonymity is that you are making ludicrously confident (and equally ludicrously ill-informed) statements about science that your true identity just might place into some sort of context.
If you are a 'jobbing' scientist working on the African HIV issue, I might take you seriously. But otherwise, I will side with the scientists who know what the hell they're talking about (see Eli's latest link provided for your benefit) and I'll just assume you are a smart ass with a bad attitude and a pretty poor understanding of either science or 'facts'.

Peace out!

Hank Roberts said...

How about

"Some of the regulars here are having trouble telling the ignorant anonymice apart. After your third completely undistinguished posting we'll add a hash of your IP number so you'll still be anonymous but will be recognizable as known unreliable ..."

Aside: when did 'make a hash of things' go from a cooking recipe, to a description of the result of incompetence, to a method for computer password security?

Russell said...

As a young bunny I was taught that as surely as gentlemen don't read each others mail, when you're wrong , you should publish a retraction.

So before Eli hops further out on the thin grey literature ice that cost the IPCC a dunking in the case of the Himalayan glaciers, he should review his own sources credibility .

If his elision of the two Freds, living and dead is based on a certain article in Vanity Fair, he might want to compare it with another account of just what the dead Fred did with Big Tobacco's money :

The 1993 Nobel Prize in Medicine acceptance speech.

it credits the success of the winners decade-long biomed research campaign to the dead Fred's post-retirement perseverance in parting millions from Phillip Morris, and shrewdly administering same.

What was that Steve Schneider was saying about the implosion of scientific civility?

dhogaza said...

"Aside: when did 'make a hash of things' go from a cooking recipe, to a description of the result of incompetence, to a method for computer password security?"

Early hash algorithms used for fast lookups tended to do simple stuff like take the individual characters of a string, add them up, and divide by a suitable prime number. Not so different than chopping up ingredients and mixing them up for hash.

Anonymous said...

Carrot Eater,

thanks, a basic OK is enough.

The background: I am Autrian. Our glaciers are melting faster than our national debt is rising, but the newspapers are rather filled with reports on climate change fraud and scientific misconduct. In wake of this debate, a growing number of denialists (mostly retired physics teachers or engineers) now spam the newspaper online forums and blogs with their views how the atmosphere "really" works. Usually they need nothing more than the ideal gas law, and usually they end with impressive examples ("Venus is just hot because the pressure is high. 90 bars!" or "Dig a hole some 50 km deep – it's hot down there!").
And what happens? Nothing. Most of these postings remain unanswered (except for some plain "Idiot!" statements), inevitably leaving the public with the impression that even the basic physics of climate sciences would be a matter of debate.
To rebut them (which can be fun), one needs simple models, preferably ones that can be boiled down to fit a 750-character posting. No need to include ozone (just another lie of the eco-warriors) or albedo feedbacks (what the hell is this?)
All in all, my question was somehow misplaced here, but the story behind it was not.

Thomas (IP adress may perhaps be provided on request)

dhogaza said...

"If his elision of the two Freds, living and dead is based on a certain article in Vanity Fair, he might want to compare it with another account of just what the dead Fred did with Big Tobacco's money :

The 1993 Nobel Prize in Medicine acceptance speech.

it credits the success of the winners decade-long biomed research campaign to the dead Fred's post-retirement perseverance in parting millions from Phillip Morris, and shrewdly administering same.

What was that Steve Schneider was saying about the implosion of scientific civility?"

It appears the right date is 1987, not 1993, and that our anonymous friend is referring to the discovery of prions.

So ...

1. Fred Seitz gave RJ Reynolds scientific cover for their claims that tobacco smoke's more or less harmless.

2. Fred Seitz also managed a research fund that, among other things, funded the dude who discovered prions.

#2 means that #1 was an OK thing to do.

I hate to stoop to a Godwin's law level of argument but, it's *true* that Hitler loved his dog Blondi.

One could think for a moment of the number of lives saved by the discovery of the prion vs. the number of lives lost due to the sale of RJ Reynolds cigarettes. And one might ask if the fact that cigarette companies fund worthwhile stuff with a portion of their proceeds, does that make their sale of products that kill OK?

Marco said...

@Russell:
You'll have to be a bit more precise than "1993 nobelprize in medicine". Seitz is not mentioned in any of the speeches.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Since some here appear to be somewhat nit-picky, I should correct my typo:
I am from Austria, not Autria (no kangaroos).
Thomas

carrot eater said...

Thomas:

I see. It's a little disheartening when people who should know better start pontificating in such ways.

If somebody is just using the ideal gas law to explain why the earth has the temperature it has: I suggest that you ask them what would happen in their model if the sun ceased to exist. Would the temperature not change?

I think this is interesting, and while maybe off the topic, not hugely so. Eli has written extensively on the paper by Gerlich and Tscheuchner that also I think invokes some similar weird reasonings. So it maybe fits with topics discussed here. I cannot presume to speak for Eli, but if you want to post a draft of your reply here, maybe the crowd could give some advice, once this weird person arguing about HIV goes away?

MfG,
Carrot.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Ideal Gas Law (and deniers' misapplications thereof), here's a hilarious example (linky: http://www.tech-know.eu/NISubmission/pdf/Politics_and_the_Greenhouse_Effect.pdf)


The ideal gas law can be written PV = RT where P is the pressure (Pascal), V is the volume (m3), R is the gas constant (Joule/K) and T is the average temperature (over some days). Let us now calculate the temperature in a 1 m3 volume at any height. Hence T = P/R, T is proportional to P and P is known from observation to decrease with increasing altitude. It follows that the average T has to decrease with altitude. This decrease from the surface to the average infrared emission altitude around 4000 m is 33 oC. It will be about the same even if we increase greenhouse gases by 100%. This is a consequence of the ideal gas law, a natural law which politicians cannot change, but unscrupulous scientists can twist.


So the author takes the Ideal Gas Law, sets n and V to 1, and from that he computes a lapse rate! Constant values for n and V will of course give us a constant density regardless of pressure. This is a revolutionary new concept in thermodynamics -- an incompressible ideal gas!

What will deniers think of next?

carrot eater said...

Anon:

That's remarkable.

I wonder if this author thinks any climate change is possible at all - ice ages, and so on.

I do hope that authors of sun-less models don't then turn around and say that the sun drives global warming.

Anonymous said...

Snow Bunny says:

Thomas: I'm lacking the time and patience to read denier nonsense, how they are misusing the ideal gas law. But the earth's atmosphere is a complex set of layers with 4 layers (troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and themosphere). The behavior of temperature vs. height varies with each layer.
http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~jpstimac/1400/atmos_struct.html

I suggest your response letter have a quick sentence or two or their nonsense and then play to your strength. You're a botanist; discuss the changes in species behavior already due to GW.
I think it important to call the public's attention to the variety of disciplines that are seeing AGW. Including farmers, hunters, natural observers.

Anonymous said...

From: Thomas
Carrot, Anonymous, Snow Bunny,

thanks, I posted my reply already. I thought it was pretty clever and concise.
One of the answers was (translated from German):
"Paradoxically, GHGs emit most of the energy into space, thereby saving the earth from overheating. An earth without GHGs (but with an atmosphere) would not be 33°C colder than the real earth. It would be considerably warmer."
(http://www.ke-research.de/downloads/klimaretter-1-3.pdf, also in German).

Sauron could breed armies of Orcs! Fly, You Fools! UAAAAAAARGHHHHHH...

carrot eater said...

Thomas,
That was amusing, thank you.

I must say, it's not everyday that the sceptics include radiation spectra in their documents.

Russell said...

Russell

Thanks to Dhogaza for demonstrating that without Blondi, we wouldn't have Dogwin's Law.





.

Neal said...

Speaking to the original posting:

There are two roots to this breakdown in the communication of science:

- The WWW has made it easy for any fool to publicize his/her opinion on any topic

- The WWW has eviscerated the business model of the news world, so real journalism, especially scientific journalism, has been following the trail of the dodo.

The result: There is no "Walter Cronkite", who would be accepted as telling things the way they are.

Maybe we need a champion, who could publicly take on the denialists: Someone who would be accepted by the mass media as a first-class scientist, and who also has good PR skills, and can argue on his feet.

My candidate: Steve Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy; Nobel Prize in Physics, 1997.

Lotharsson said...

PR training and demonstrated skill levels should be mandatory for anyone who talks to the press. I'm not a scientist but my employer put me through a basic course - and that's not good enough to let me talk to the press.

I can't stress that enough.

And science really needs people out proactively talking to the press and relating to the public right now.

"I have a nasty suspicion that the reaction to a layperson on reading this will see it as aggression to defend a bad position rather than the attack on lies that it is."

It doesn't work that way with most Republican voters, and like it or not I reckon there's a fair degree of correlation between them and denialists. There's certainly a fair degree of correlation between Republican interests and machinery and denialist machinery...

Philip Machanick said...

AIDS in South Africa: I was there at the time, and that country has some of the worlds best medical research talent -- who were ignored on the theory that AIDS was some sort of racist imperialist plot. One of the big issues was indeed preventing mother to child transmission, possible with almost 100% success with relatively benign drugs (AZT and nevirapine), not the massive cocktail of drugs used in the early years of AIDS. The government's denial also held back prevention, totally unrelated to the use of drugs of any description. A google search on MW Makgoba AIDS (e.g. his editorial in Science) tells you all you need to know.

My involvement with this struggle as well as with fighting tobacco has convinced me that anti-science is a big unprincipled industry, preying on the gullibility and lack of basic science education of the average journalist whose critical faculties fall to pieces when faced with an equation (or even a number). Scientists and lobbyists who earn their keep through unfounded attacks on the mainstream that impinge on policy formation should be held accountable for the damage they cause. Tobacco companies eventually were hit with big lawsuits, but that didn't save millions from dying an unnecessary hideous death. No one has been held to account for the AIDS fiasco, and no one yet has been held to account for the climate change fiasco. Lets hope the latter does not lead to the sort of disaster that would trigger massive lawsuits.

Of course there is no problem with legitimate questioning of science; my problem is with malicious sabotage of deriving policy from science.

If you would like to support the right of scientists to work without harassment, sign my petition.

Anonymous said...

Lubos Motl boasts on YouTube that 'the BBC has become a part of our climate denial machine'. And he boasts that 'it's a pleasure to be in control of the BBC'.

http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments&v=cp-iB6jwjUc

Note: 'lumajs' IS Lubos Motl (Greenman's video features Lubos Twaddle at 4:15)

#
lumajs Haha, my blog is featured here at 4:15, and it's great to learn that the BBC has become a part of our climate denial machine.

Of course that the trends calculated over (much) more than 15 years are significant, according to the simplest formulae of significance of the statistical trend.

That doesn't say anything about the origin of the change. And it doesn't refute the fact that whatever the trend and its reason is, it's so negligible that after 15 years, it's still? undetectable. 2 days ago

#
lumajs OK, at any rate, it's a pleasure to be in control of the BBC.

Funny for you to talk about cherry-picking of statements. In your very video, you have cherry-picked Jones as well as my blog.

There's no detectable warming in 15 years which is pretty important to know because? it shows that all the reports that the warming has continued since the 2nd IPCC report and people got more certain about it and urgent action is needed every year are inevitably lies. 2 days ago

See here:
http://tinypic.com/r/34sfiiu/5

annoymouse

Neal said...

Given Motl's demonstrated skills in public relations, this doesn't make me feel bad.

Tenuc said...

Good science has nothing to fear, unless it allows government and big finance money persuade it to forget it's principles.

The scientific principles of repeatability, falsifiability and honesty are simple to understand. Any group of scientists who fail to follow these rules needs to be ejected by the rest of the scientific community, else the implied collusion will bring the whole edifice down.

There are many lessons to be learned from what has happened in climate science that the rest of us need to understand.

Neal said...

Tenuc,

I think the main lesson is for people never to assume that "private" emails will remain private: Assume that any electronic communication could end up in some Congressional panel investigation, and choose your wording accordingly.

Michael Ashley said...

Hi Eli,

Just thought that you would like to know that this thread inspired me to write my recent opinion piece here.

Regards,
B'rer Ashley

amoeba said...

Well said Michael Ashley. I couldn't agree with you more.

Let that bastard prove you wrong.

Mind you the D-K zombies were out in force in the comments, but what can we expect?

Neal said...

One article alone will never "settle" the issue, but it's necessary to prevent the dominant view from settling onto a reality-denying narrative.

Or, to borrow a phrase from Tennyson:
to be "strong in will
to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."