Thursday, July 31, 2008

The biter bit

Arthur Smith has had quite the correspondence with the Discount Viscount. His detailed review of Monckton's article can be found on alteenergyaction. Here is Arthur Smith's chronology. More in the comments.

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 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 :-)
To which we can add Round 2
One addition - Bob Ferguson of SPPI just called me at my house (where I had called him this morning). He accused me of lying to him. I had said almost nothing in our verbal conversation this morning, and he admitted that, but then said I had made false statements in the email I had cc'ed him on. I told him if he thought so, he should email me back pointing out what he thought was false. He said "you have really disappointed me". I replied, "you too".

Beyond copyright violation, they're building a case against themselves for defamation - this has gone beyond amusement to a degree of mental agitation...
Eli would only point out that as long as the Adobe Acrobat file remains on the SPPI web site the copyright violation remains. Although not a lawyer, the bunny seems to recall that at least for trademarks you have notify people when you know of a violation lest you lose your rights. Methinks also that Monckton had let loose on Mssr. Ferguson.


Arthur said...

Eli, thanks (and to be clear, Eli asked, and I granted, permission to post all this).

My latest response to Monckton, sent at 9:46 PM tonight (July 31), is as follows:

My Dear Monckton,

I did not appreciate the phone call I received earlier this evening at my residence from your associate, Bob Ferguson, with whom I had had a much more pleasant, if one-sided, conversation this morning. You are quickly threatening to add to your clear violation of copyright law further issues of defamation and harassment. Let me state clearly my points:

(1) In all this I am not in any way representing the American Physical Society. This seems to have repeatedly confused you. I am most emphatically not an "official" of the society, which you have repeatedly and falsely stated, and on which I have repeatedly corrected you. It was you who added "Dr. Arthur Smith, The American Physical Society" to my article; I had listed my affiliation simply as my town of residence, with my customary email address (which happened to be my work address, and will certainly be changed in the final publication, if any) for contact.

(2) The APS's actions with regard to your article are not my concern, and I have no more power than you do to "persuade" the APS to take any action other than what they have done. I suggest you take up your issues directly with them. If you signed no copyright transfer agreement yourself, you probably have some rights in that regard. Your complaints with APS in no way justify your violation of intellectual property or other laws with regard to my person.

(3) The manuscript I sent to you and Physics and Society was a draft which had been seen by nobody else beforehand, and was sent only to those individuals included on the email message that you received. I had sent an earlier version of that draft to one colleague, who I acknowledged. I have subsequently sent the submitted draft to one other colleague. I did not "publish", or otherwise widely distribute that particular document in any fashion. I have ample proof of this should it become an issue.

(4) I did not sign any transfer of copyright agreement with the Forum newsletter, nor did I receive notice of their acceptance which would give me opportunity to withdraw or revise the manuscript, if I so chose. By publishing my draft yourself you have violated my rights in a clear fashion.

(5) This was in no way "entrapment" - I did not encourage you nor give you permission to publish my work with your comments, and you did not ask for permission. I emphasized in my personal email to you that I was not representing the APS, so whatever your conspiracy theories may be on the matter, your treating it as other than my personal property is a clear violation of the law.

(6) I have certainly made other public comments about your manuscript in many places, which you are free to quote without any violation, although again I suggest you correctly represent them as my own opinion and in no way associated with the American Physical Society. The issue here is an unpublished document, which you took it upon yourself to publish in full, with your alterations, on the SPPI website this past Tuesday.

(7) I have since discovered that you or your associates have posted multiple copies of the document elsewhere, in addition to the SPPI site - a quick Google search shows at least 2 other sites appear to hold copies of the document. I suggest that you provide a full list of the copies you have made publicly available.

(8) I am certainly willing to be patient, forgiving of innocent mistakes. I simplify my request to the following:

(A) either remove completely the copies of the document that you have made publicly available, or

(B) modify them to remove your addition that claimed my article was represented to be from "Dr. Arthur Smith, American Physical Society", remove all the false claims you have made referring to me as an "official" of the APS, and if you have redistributed the document elsewhere, forward your corrected version to all parties who received the original.

If you make these changes in (B) and do not add further to the misrepresentation, I will freely grant you license to publish my work, even in the US Senate if that is your wish. It was and is my own personal work, and my sole complaint is that you are misrepresenting my authorship as somehow being sponsored or associated with my employment at APS. There is absolutely no relationship between my employment and my interest or authorship here.

(9) You may freely quote and publish in full my comments to you in these emails; some of my comments I have made public elsewhere. Please let me know if I may post your full emails as well. I would not wish to harm your rights in the way that you have mine. You should be aware that I have forwarded some of your messages on to other individual acquaintances for their assessment, and I have posted online two or three short excerpts, but I have not granted permission for further dissemination.

I am afraid you are in no position to make demands of me. I make only one simple request of you (see (8)), which performed in a responsible fashion will absolve you, SPPI, and your other associates of all legal jeopardy in this matter. Thanks for your consideration in all this. Yours respectfully, and in no way representing the APS,

Arthur Smith

John Mashey said...

Arthur: maybe this was in the earlier version, but:

Monckton & Ferguson maintain that FPS is a peer-reviewed journal of the APS; right now, that is still claimed at the SPPI website.

Of course, peer-reviewed journals generally do not like already-published material, hence if FPS Newsletter were what they say, their publishing your material would likely have assured no FPS publication of it...

John Mashey said...

Oops, one more:

Given the way information spreads, if someone removes a file, URLs that point there just get a 404. Hence, if someone follows it, they don't know what happened.

Should this arise again, it might be better to demand that files be left in place, but with flaming red letters at the top retracting the wrong information. hence, if anyone follows a link, they'll see that.

Anonymous said...

Not to be presumptuous, but I assume that everyone is aware of just what (Monck) Chris Walter means when he suggests the US Senate, yes?

It doesn't seem that anything productive can come of that.

PS - I am wondering if any of the Rabett ears have picked up on the latest concern troll out of Boulder...

John Mashey said...

jon: Eli already gave it away on the earlier thread. Keep it quiet and hope...

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Silence the Viscount. Do not publish his rebuttal. /sarcasm

bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said...

Shorter Anon: GALILEO!!!

Dano said...

I don't think you'll silence the little man, but certainly clobbering his inferiority complex has merit.

Go git 'em, Arthur.



Anonymous said...

Children, all of you, on both "sides". If this what stands for debate, I don't want it. A less pride, a little more humility on both sides would be nice.

EliRabett said...

Fred, Please point out to Eli where Arthur Smith has behaved poorly?

Anonymous said...


It is all in the tone of the responses, both of Monkton and Smith...petulant, petty and patronizing. Again, a measure of civility would be nice.

John Mashey said...

fred n.:

Monckton & Ferguson insist that FPS is a peer-reviewed journal (it isn't), most of which don't publish already-published material.

If FPS were such, their publishing of Arthur's material might well have been cause for rejecting it by FPS.

They can't have it both ways, and it was unethical either way.

John Mashey said...

BTW, the PDF file is still up at SPPI, and it still says Arthur Smith, American Physical Society.

Anonymous said...

2 That is how to diss-a-peer."

What follows is abuse for Monckton sought/encouraged by Arthur Smith.

And his regurgitation of the idiot Lamberts rebuttal has already been rebutted on

Anonymous said...

dano. You're projecting again, you little man you.

Dano said...

Anyone familiar with Arthur's writing knows that anonymous is full of it. Caveat: one must have at least a high-school education to be able to understand Arthur’s comments, likely explaining the problem anonymous has above.

And I'm 6'2'', 190#, bicycle rider, ex- basketball and baseball player. When I lived in Yurp I couldn't play soccer worth a d*mn, but they stuck me on the fastest guy anyway and told me to ensure he didn't get the ball.

So two more desperate heaves by the have-nothing denialist fringe, rallying the chimp chatter to the defense of an obvious have-nothing.



Arthur said...

note that you're only (mostly) seeing my side of the email exchange here. If I get permission, I'll happily post the other side, which might help explain the tone of my responses. Basically, I am not trying to be patronizing or arrogant, only as perfectly clear as I can be, since M has a habit of seeming to misinterpret much of what I say.

EliRabett said...

Be happy to post his Arthur, but I like yours.

Anonymous said...

Fred, like Eli, I cannot see where Arthur Smith has behaved in an uncivil fashion. Personally, I find Mr. Monckton's postings full of hubris, likely stemming from a sense of insecurity. In contrast, I find that Dr. Smith has behaved quite civilly, just as he has in the past (for example, when things have gotten rather testy in Andy Revkin's blog).

I am fully supportive of the debunking that Drs. Smith and Schmidt have provided. To most of us laypeople, Mr. Monckton's postings can have an aura of respectability, and we rely on such debunkings by professional scientists to see our way forward. Were the issues involved--the status of global climate and all which flows from that--not so serious, I might be inclined to ignore some of these exchanges. But people like Mr. Monckton unfortunately get the attention of people in power--which is why it is necessary to uncover their mistakes.

John Mashey said...

As of 9AM PST, August 2, the "Chuck It Smith" PDF is still up at SPPI.

EliRabett said...

Eli notes that Robert Ferguson's business card has been placed at the end of the Adobe Acrobat file. Since the SPPI is posting copyright material without permission, perhaps a line to their webhosting service would be in order. They appear to be here Of course, this assumes that Arthur has not given permission so let us hold off a bit.

Anonymous said...

Fred says:

It is all in the tone of the responses, both of Monkton and Smith...petulant, petty and patronizing. Again, a measure of civility would be nice.

Actually,when it comes to the core issue in this case -- a legakl issue, copyright infringement -- civility is a moot point.

Monckton is clearly guilty of copyright infringement in this case and as far as I can see, Smith is actually being very civil and reasonable about the whole thing.

If Smith wanted to play hard ball, he could have merely contacted the US Copyright office and begun an infringement suit.

Still could. That is entirely within his legal rights in this case.

Anonymous said...

Arthur, you say in your article that it would overwhelm the P&S Forum newsletter and so should not be published there. The print version of the newsletter is being dispensed with as of the next issue, in which case why not publish?

Anonymous said...

Readers might be interested in reading this,,
which describes an email exchange between Munchkin and George Monbiot about an alteration made to Munchkin's Wikipedia entry. Note how Munchkin evades a simple, straightforward, question, and uses the illness ploy as part of that evasion.

Dano said...


perhaps Fred feels Arthur's tone is uncivil because Arthur's argumentation undermines a certain ideology.

That's certainly uncivil - showing that a person's self-identity is invalid.



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