Wednesday, December 16, 2009


In an almost unnoticed interview with Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle, Gerald North lays out the problem

McIntyre to me, I think he is probably a well meaning guy. He's not dumb, he's very smart. But he can be very irritating. This guy can just wear you out. He has started it with me but I just don't bite. But there are some guys, Ben Santer comes to mind, who if they are questioned will take a lot of time to answer. He's sincere and he just can't leave these things along. If you get yourself in a back-and-forth with these guys it can be never ending, and basically they shut you down with requests. They want everything, all your computer programs. Then they send you back a comment saying, "I don't understand this, can you explain it to me." It's never ending. And the first thing you know you're spending all your time dealing with these guys."
UPDATE: It sort of spoke for itself, but Eli thinks that Prof. North is naive. What McIntyre practices is purposeful and the purpose is to shut climate scientists down by exhaustion. McIntyre is no innocent. So the question is what to do about this and Eli has a few ideas.


Martin Vermeer said...

North about McIntyre:

"One time he sent me a message saying he couldn't understand the greenhouse effect, and asked for a simple model explaining it. So I took a few hours and tried to explain it."


pointer said...

Steve Easterbrook was on the money when he called this a "denial of service attack". Scientists are spending so much time explaining the science they don't have any time to do the science.

carrot eater said...

When you need quite that much babysitting after being at this for so many years, one wonders if this is really your line of calling, whether you are smart or dumb.

Anonymous said...

Berger has been a Pielke Jr acolyte for some time. Notice, for instance, his borrowing of the Pielke Jr scientist as "activist" meme. I guess being an expert in an area and trying to make sure that people understand your profession and work makes you an "activist."

Still, this interview skewers McIntyre. It really gives you a peek into how McIntyre thinks and operates

Anonymous said...

There are a number of websites that present responses to frequently-asked questions by skeptics. The persistent questioners ought to be referred to those websites, or to books written at the nonspecialist level.

-Nevada Ned

Anonymous said...

MarkeyMouse says: North is on the HockeyTeam payroll. That much has been evident since the NAS whitewash of Mann and Co. He tries to portray himself as "Mr Reasonable" but he's just a deceptive propagandist. Very similar to Judith Curry in that respect.

Norths data and methods should be on a website. He is arguing in support of CRU and that leads to the Climate Scientist taking a wander off the straight and narrow, ultimately to be reversed in Congressional Hearings.

"My question: “Do you have A litigation hold notice related to the Climate Research Unit?”

Her answer: “Yes we do”"

Steve Bloom said...

Don't get your panties in a twist about the LHN, Markey. It's SOP for when notice has been given of lawsuits (which one has in this instance, by AEI or CEI -- I can't recall which). IIRC they have until the 22nd to actually sue, at which point it could start getting expensive for them since they're very much at risk of being nailed for filing a frivolus suit. OTOH it costs them nothing to just drop it, which I suspect is what will happen.

Re the possibility of North being corrected via a Congressional hearing, please to start holding your breath now.

Steve Bloom said...

Re anon above (fourth comment), Berger does indeed seem to have swallowed the RP Jr. kool-aid since he calls this excerpt from a commenter a "good comment":

"The real issue is that some of these climate scientists violated their role as "Honest Brokers" in both scientific research and using that data and interpretation for societal personal gains. Thus, credibiity of ALL science, not just climate science is now tarnished."

Yeesh. As James Annan says, scientists violate the implied standard just by breathing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Andy says:

Berger is typical of those thinking "We can't predict the weather, how can we predict global warming?". Good gravy, google his Houston Chronicle articles. They are a long string of "Boy, it sure was cold yesterday. I guess global warming has stopped." His latest was on our record breaking snowfall (O.3" of snow - I kid you not).

Luckily Berger was caught vacationing, otherwise he would have supplied a scathing story.

Dr. North, OTOH, has used his simple Texas A&M "Aw shucks guys" attitude to win over many. He has probably done more to educate the SE Texas public on climate science by becoming the local "go to guy" than anyone else. And that says a lot since Dr. Dessler is a colleague.

Don't think Dr. North is a simpleton. He knows how to speak to the local populace.

Dr. Santer's call to arms is that of the lambs to the slaughter. The think tanks, etc. are simply baiting climate scientists into a fight.

EliRabett said...

Eli is asking for something else, basically the denialists need some oxygen from the climate science community to legitimatize their intellectual side. The science community needs to slam the Overton window shut on those guys, the Pielkes, Lindzen, Scarfetta, Soon, et al.

North, by calling McIntyre reasonable and smart is giving him legitimacy. Besides being questionable (very questionable) the statement could just as well have been made without that first statement and would have been more effective.

If Berger asked what North though of McIntyre's being well meaning, the reply could have been, well, it's hard to ascribe motive to people, but certainly many of his fans approach the issue from a preset political position which makes it difficult to talk with them.

Anonymous said...


You're from Crooklyn so I'll ignore the silliness of your comment.

If you don't want McIntyre on your back Stick every bit of EVERYTHING on a website and be done with it.

Everything means just that, data, source data, adjusted data and methods perhaps checked and signed off by statisticians.

Welcome to how IPO's are done on Wall Street, Eli.

EliRabett said...

Nope, because like a five year old he will bug you forever about some detail, something else he wants, why aren't you holding his hand and more. Oh yes, he will never accept responsibility. A very five year old guy.

And if you try and walk away he will proclaim you are a fraud very loudly and obnoxiously. McIntyre is a serial whiner and the act is getting thin.

BTW, take Eki;s advice and don't invest in IPOs. They don't tell you where the secret sauce is. The projections are financial fiction and worse. Ms. Rabett is a broker and holds principal licenses and Eki hears the stories.

Martin Vermeer said...

Eli, I see your point, but I don't think North is naive. I think he is very propaganda savvy, and playing naive.

You see, the natural -- some, including I, would say, the only sane -- first reponse to McI's tricks is anger and condemnation. But, in the public eye, blowing your cool means you lose the argument. So, North plays the game of damning with faint praise, and when he is finished, there are no two ways about precisely the kind of the science nincompoop McI is.

I for one love it -- it brings to mind Obama's stab at those calling him a socialist by smiling and surmising the origin of this reputation being his childhood habit of sharing toys -- leaving the name-callers looking rather silly. It's an art form.

EliRabett said...

Martin, it is a tactic that has run its course, just as Obama's has. If nothing else what is going on in the Senate with health care shows that it does not work against such a dug in opponent.

See Eli's latest post about closing the Overton window, and why at this point extending any legitimacy to the denialists is a losing tactic.