Thursday, March 13, 2014

Early Footnoteology

Bunnies, even those with mild Alzheimers such as Eli, may recall Roger Jr's latest venture into footnotology, when the lad pointed to his minor footnote which, shall Eli be generous, ran against his entire summer testimony, testimony that Senator Sessions gladly took up as a cudgel to beat Presidential Science Adviser John Holdren about the ears.  Well, if you don't you can look it up here.

Today, Bart Verheggen twitters

Which, dear Sherman, brings us back to Bart's blog in the days of Hey Yamal.  Buried in there is this gem
What struck me was Roger Pielke Jr’s attack of RealClimate’s sarcastic reaction to this sorry story, and his defense of Steve McIntyre, quoting him as follows:
It is not my belief that Briffa crudely cherry picked.
Fair enough, one might think. Except that this quote is from comment number 254 in one of the Climate Audit threads. And it doesn’t particularly square with what he said elsewhere. It is most definitely not the message that his readers got (see for some collections here, here, here and here). One could reasonably argue over how much to blame the readers (as Pielke does) versus how much to blame the author (McIntyre in this case) for any ‘misunderstanding’. But judging from the vast majority of his readers who infer grave accusations from his writings, it’s fair to at least look into the latter as a possibility.


willard said...

Coincidentally, I manually pingbacked Bart V's post quite recently.

(Kids, never try to insert so many adverbs at home!)

I pingbacked this thread because I had an exchange with Carrick, MrPete, and None at Nick's:

None did not seem to appreciate when I observed some similarities with his comments and This'.


Two important footnotes:

First, notice how the Auditor fails to provide a source for the Nobel quote here:

> Mann’s claim that the Oxburgh panel “exonerated” Mann on counts ranging from scientific misconduct to statistical manipulation to proper conduct and fair presentation of results has no more validity than his claim to have been awarded a Nobel prize for his supposedly seminal work “document[ing] the steady rise in surface temperatures during the 20th Century and the steep increase in measured temperatures since the 1950s.”

Second, notice that the Auditor does not provide a link to Mike's memo either, nor does he quote the full paragraph of Mike's "claim".

Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

And let's not forget this:

Key quote relevant to McINtyre and his allegations:
"The information requested would show long-standing academic fraud by the CRU, explaining why UEA so vigorously opposed release of the information."

The tribunal shot that claim down.


rumleyfips said...

McIntyre " always right"? More like always wrong. Has anyone ever caught him telling the truth. If so what was the effect on his finances?

willard said...

That the Auditor does not says publicly everything that he thinks [1] does not imply he does not say it from time to time. In any case, we should bear in mind that:

> [Y]ou must read between the lines. If you can’t find the lines, this points to your lack of reading comprehension. No surprise.

The Auditor once was "of the same mind" as bender. But where, and about what?


willard said...

Vintage October 2009:

> I’ve consistently argued that all proxies of a given type be considered as a population, rather than cherrypicking in Team style.

Also notice MrPete's, Craig Loehle, and bender's comments not far from that comment. Now, is Briffa a member of the Kyoto Flames?

See for yourself:

The Auditor might have forgot to review that comment when he claimed never to have implied anything about Briffa.

willard said...

Not far from that last comment we have:

> The standard practice in the field is take the population. Jacoby, D’Arrigo, whatever other faults they may have, use the entire crossdated population from a site. (They cherry pick sites, but don’t cherry pick trees within a site.)

This comment was posted at 9:32 AM, so the Auditor won't be able to claim that it was late, this time.

willard said...

Vintage Sep 19, 2009 at 9:03 PM:

> [I]t’s disappointing to see an old-school cherry-pie with Briffa’s tired old proxies in new makeup.

Not that this attributes anything to what Briffa did.

PS: In the comment above, I presumed that the Auditor added his voice of God one day after the comment, since MrPete took the pain to answer the commenter to whom the Auditor responds. But chances are that the Auditor answered around the time he got back on the blog, which can be seen by his other comments in the thread or a related one.

It's tough to know when exactly the Voice of God appears. This might be "consistent with" (tm - Dodger Junior) a Voice of God, after all.

willard said...

Missing permalink:

Hank Roberts said...

Guys, you're being arch and snarky; those who know what you refer to can enjoy it, but pity the youngsers coming new to understanding this world and wondering how it got to be as it is. They'd never figure it out from reading the in-joke stuff, without better information.

No offense meant, I laugh along, but as Thich Nhat Hanh urges us -- "speak the truth, but not to punish"

willard said...

Thank you for the warning, Hank & Hanh.

Were I in it to punish, I would be cleared than I am right now.

Another hit for "cherry" in the same comment thread as above, this time Sep 19, 2009 at 10:41 PM:

> This paper is 90% about proxies and I don’t see any reason why this portion is “less fragile” than any other cherry-pie CPS reconstruction.

What's a CPS reconstruction, and what does it have to do with Briffa, young bunnies may ask?

Eli may wish to advise them to scratch their own itch.

There are 18 "cherry"'s in that page alone, btw.

willard said...

> cleared

I mean, clearer.

Only when people ask for clarity do they get. Something Taylor Mali taught me:

willard said...

It's easy to reproduce what I'm doing right now.

1. Pick a CA thread.
2. Search for "cherry".
3. Look who says it.
4. Follow the conversation to see where it leads.

We could also see in which op-ed the word "cherry" does not appear, but we only have one life.

Here's a thread where there's 8 "cherry"'s, with my emphasis on the favorite:

> IMO it’s the cherry picking of series that is the more material issue, as opposed to any potential regional bias.

That's circa Sep 18, 2009 at 10:23 AM, and only circa because we don't know when the Auditor inserted his Voice of God.

We could observe that this thread is 25% cherried by the Auditor.

willard said...

Vintage Sep 14, 2009 at 2:09 AM, on another thread with eight "cherry"'s:

> If it’s done wrong, it’s called “cherry picking”, but if you do it right it’s called “model selection”. Difficult, but not impossible.

Young bunnies should pay attention to what pete says, although his best comments may have been is in a thread that has disappeared from the Internetz.


More quantitative bunnies may be interested to count how many "cherry"'s per day there was on CA around that Briffa episode.

And as Eli says, Remember Yamal.

willard said...

This comment I made at AT's might be a good fit here:

Let's rewrite it a bit:

> It is not my belief that Briffa crudely cherry picked.

Following what the Auditor does is enough to doubt the relevance of that belief. This belief, even if true, only matters because it serves to contradict a claim in RC’s op-ed. It is of little relevance of we go to the source, which is Briffa’s claim:


The substantive implication of McIntyre’s comment (made explicitly in subsequent postings by others) is that the recent data that make up this chronology (i.e. the ring-width measurements from living trees) were purposely selected by me from among a larger available data set, specifically because they exhibited recent growth increases.

[End blockquote]

My emphasis on implication.

We can see that by focusing on RC's formulation instead of Briffa's, the Auditor misdirects the argument. Cf. Briffa's other brief.

All this can be done by exploiting truthiness.


The "implication" in the Auditor’s work is independent from the Auditor’s belief. After all, it is common knowledge that the Auditor does not always say everything that he thinks.[1]

Such an implication is in fact not that difficult to find. Looking for “cherry” as we just did shows in what ways the Auditor might convey a bit more than his self-avowed beliefs. We can look for more, this time time forward. See for instance the op-ed that followed at CA, vintage Sep 30, 2009 at 6:48 PM:

Notice the discrepancy between the URL and the op-ed's title, **YAD06 – the Most Influential Tree in the World**.

This time, we have 17 occurences of "cherry".

Yes, but the Auditor's beliefs.


willard said...

Notice the timeline:

Sep 27, 2009 at 10:08 AM
Yamal: A “Divergence” Problem

Sep 29, 2009 at 7:53 AM
The Impact of Yamal on the Spaghetti Graph

Sep 29, 2009 at 2:45 PM
Verifying RCS Methodology

Sep 30, 2009 at 6:48 PM
YAD06 – the Most Influential Tree in the World

Sep 30, 2009 at 6:53 PM
The Register picks up the Yamal story

Oct 1, 2009 at 10:47 AM
Keith Briffa Responds

Oct 2, 2009 at 9:41 AM
Atte Korhola: political and social playground

Oct 4, 2009 at 11:22 PM
Gavin's Guru and RCS Standardization

Oct 5, 2009 at 10:46 PM
Yamal and IPCC AR4 Review Comments

Oct 7, 2009 at 8:18 AM
Yamal and the Divergence Problem

Oct 9, 2009 at 10:45 PM
Core Counts and Reverse Engineering

That's notwithstanding all the comments. It goes on like this until the Miracle Worker appears.


I know this timeline quite well since that's about when I started to follow CA.

Here was my first impression:

My intuition seems warranted.

Martin Vermeer said...

willard cricket is not the game for me