Monday, January 11, 2010

Where's Roger

Ethon flew in rather dejected. He was all ready for a snack, he heard there were some excellent Pielke wing to chew over at the Buffalo Beast, but when he got there it was gone. So he went over to Alternet where the same article was posted (and got 206 comments). Nothing nourishing there. Finally, he found the chewy bits over at Tenny Naumers Climate Change: The Next Generation. Mike Roddy and Ian Murphy had written about some of the bastards responsible for subverting public understanding of climate change and there he was at number 14.

14) Roger Pielke Jr., Political Scientist

Misdeeds: It’s telling that Pielke thinks his poli sci degree entitles him to have an opinion about all aspects of climate science. Specifically, it’s telling us that he thinks we’re idiots. Pielke constantly parrots fallacious claims about ice, ocean temperature and warming rates from whacked out websites like Roger has been dubbed the Most Debunked Science Writer in the Blogosphere by Climate Progress, yet still appears in the media as a contrarian “expert.”

Corporate teat: The Breakthrough Institute, whose founders, like Fox News, stress “balance.”

Most egregious lie: “In the ongoing battle between climate scientists and skeptics, there will be disproportionate carnage, because the climate scientists have so much more to lose.”

Comeuppance: Having been denied access to a newly-green Siberia by the Russian Army, vultures circle Pielke as he roams aimlessly in search of food and water. Hyenas, an invasive species from drought stricken Africa, track his every move in anticipation. Too weak to continue, he collapses. As the scavengers close in, Pielke finally realizes the irony of the above quote and cries, “I get it now!” The hyenas laugh and rip him to shreds.
It sure looks like the Climate McCarthy's won here. Think what you like about Roger Pielke, Mike Roddy and Eli don't think much of him, and Roger thinks the world of himself, the attacks by Shellenberger and Nordhaus and Roger's whining, sure are the best McCartheyite work seen in a long time.

Now imagine, just imagine, that say Michael Mann, or let's say Phil Jones complained to various editors about some papers that appeared, let's say in JGR. What do you think that Roger would say? What do you think they would have said if the juicy bits were, let us say, cut out of the Klotzbach.

I think we can get past the lie -- and it was a lie -- that these activist political scientists, in the words of Michael Shellenberger, "are not taking a political stand." They are indeed taking a political stand and they are doing so in stealth fashion using the authority of their Institute as cover to do so. This group of activist scientists are firmly entrenched in the major institutions of the INTERNET, such as the Alternet and on speed dial from every reporter.

So Pielke and his friends Nordhaus and Shellenberger in order to short circuit the ability of their political opponents to cherry pick and blow out of proportion things that these activists policy types do not agree with, they saw a convenient short cut: Simply reshape the editorial system such that those discomforting paragraphs don't ever appear or go unmentioned.

The problem with this strategy, of course, is that many climate scientists (and presumably others inside and outside of the scientific establishment like Eli) are unwilling to cede ownership of the "truth" to a small clique of policy types.

The clique of activists sees absolutely nothing wrong in what they are doing -- they are after all justifying their actions in terms of "truth" in support of the greater good.

The Buffalo Beast and AlterNet editors blew it

Can you help Ethon find Roger?

And oh yes, tell Ted and Michael what you think of their playing the editors


Jim Bouldin said...

I think you have him pegged. He plays games.

Tony Lee said...

I'm not getting it. How did Alternet blow it?

Tony Lee said...

Oh wait. I just read the link. That sucks.

carrot eater said...

That page was in rather poor taste, and it wasn't even all that interesting. Are those 'comeuppance' lines really necessary?

Whatever story there is about Pielke getting off the list, bringing attention to that list will only repulse people. At least, it repulsed me.

Martin Vermeer said...

misdeeds... thinks he understands chaos...

Yep, agree with carrot eater. Not my taste of humour.

Magnus said...

Well, while trying to be respectful I some times see a problem with only playing on your own court...

Anonymous said...


Perhaps it's obvious to real climate scientists, but you've simply failed to prove that Pielke and BTI have done anything wrong. Until someone can provide me with a valid criticism, which I can't find, I did "blow it" in leaving him on our vicious list. I plan to write a followup on this fiasco and set the record straight -- one way or the other.

Maybe you can help point me to some usable info -- that doesn't come from Joe Romm.

Ian Murphy

EliRabett said...

Hi Ian,

Well, there is the old line that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but BTI and Roger appear to think that while they are entitled to their opinion, very few others are.

Roger, of course, has over the years assailed others for "censoring" him. The most hilarious one that Eli remembers was his going after Donald Kennedy, the editor of Science, for turning down a Pielke article, which, after a day or so, it turned out had been submitted and turned down by Nature. He apologized, but the damage had been done, and the checking beforehand not.

Eli is quite convinced that Roger and BTI's motto is no friends to the left (used metaphorically here for the environmentally concerned). Witness his constant twisting of Gore (this one is cute), Hanson and Schmidt's statements, his piling on Munich Re. His smarmy drive by on Evan Mills is world class.

Eli and Ethan are less connoisseurs of the BTI guys, but our run ins with them have been very unpleasant to say the least. The way they reacted to Mike is a perfect example. They are childish.

The one that sticks in the Bunny's BTI craw is their world class Rolladex fit about Marty Hoffert's lasers in the sky not being chosen for the ARPA-E competition. Turns out that when you read Marty's white paper, he is trying to leave the impression that the overall efficiency for the entire process is the efficiency for the most efficient part of it. If Eli had read the thing it would have been circular filed (as it was) and a short but pithy message passed to the maven.

So this is just a little taste. It's a little hard to get a hold of what you are looking for specifically with all these folks but suffice it to say, they (esp. Roger) have been very damaging in a victim bully way. People are very cross with them.

The Joe Romm thing (as the Gore thing before) is indicative of the success that the denialists and the Pielkes have had. Joe can be hot, but he knows a lot and brings important information, but Roger and friends have been very effective convincing others that he is beyond the pale. As Eli said many years ago to Roger

"What you are doing here, and in your publications, and on Prometheus is to assert ownership of a series of issues, the latest of which is hurricane damage due to climate change. Your incessant self citation is a clear indication. I am certain you will reply that somewhere in a post somewhen you may have mentioned another’s work. You react to any challenge to your theses virulently, and in your replies often distort what others have said, for example your last blow up about the Trenberth slide. In short, you act as a policy person, not a science person. Horrors, at least when this is pointed out. But again, sui generis. This is what one expects of a policy wonk, for example Brad de Long. Yet, you keep telling those of us who reply to you that you are scientifically as pure as the driven snow. I beg to differ.

If you had a better sense of irony you would have named your blog “Zeus’ Eagle”, not let on to what the reference was, and merrily gone on pecking at the livers of those whose research falisified your opinions."

and thus Ethon was hatched.

BTW, if you are looking for bad science from Roger and the Breakthroughs, Rabett Run and friends can provide that in quantity.


EliRabett said...

Anyone find Roger (it's a puzzler)

Former Skeptic said...


Maybe you can help point me to some usable info -- that doesn't come from Joe Romm.

Start here.

Jim Bouldin said...

Ian, just go to Roger's blog. You will find all kinds of interesting contortions of language and meaning there--the kind that give academics a bad name among common folk that is. He can define black to be white and science to be politics. It's quite impressively amazing really.

Anonymous said...


I’m not half as hard on Pielke as others here, but I’ve responded critically to him on some occasions, e.g. (esp. point 9, an example of which is recounted at

On the one hand, I like discussions with Roger. He is smart and (in some areas at least) insightful. On the other hand, it’s a bit like swimming in peanut butter. No matter how hard you try to understand where he’s coming from, he always claims that he is misunderstood (which can only be ameliorated by buying his book), due in no small part to what Jim Bouldin called “contortions of language and meaning”. (See an example and the associated discussion with Roger on his blog).


Gail Zawacki said...

Eli Rabbet, your comment at BuffaloBeast was most confusing to me until a RPauli directed me to the discussion at the Breakthrough Institute and your blog.

I can't see anything at BB to indicate the shenanigans that apparently have taken place with the editors.

Maybe somebody could explain more fully to the readers over there?

carrot eater said...

Where is he? He's with Waldo

Dano said...

Eli @ 7.43 echoes my thoughts.

One thing that everyone must remember when dealing with science, as well as with everyone else is ego. IMHO RP Jr understands this very, very, vewy vewy well and turns ego around to pillory those exhibiting ego, and stating that ego negates credibility and thus undermines findings.

This is creepy a-hole territory, and when I am in the presence of people like this I feel creepy and need to take a shower. Recently I posted a clarification at the wife's old employer's horticulture blog, and he never posted my comment. He is one of these creepy a-holes and my comment pointed out a serious - if not fatal - flaw in his rapturous instructions on how to plant a food plant that is wholly unsuited to the area. A non-creepy a-hole would feel bad that they made a grave error, but RP Jr-types turn it around and in order to hide their error, act all child-molester on yo' *ss, punk an' who dat dissin' ME, Mr Self-referencer??!!!?!?!

Anyway, EGO. Underappreciated in some folk.



mike roddy said...

Thanks for your support here, Eli. It's pretty outlandish for Pielke and Breakthrough to cry Climate McCarthyism against people like Romm, then put pressure on two publications to remove something that was already published, basically because they didn't like being criticized.
The humor and the style in that piece are not for everyone, and will offend plenty of people I respect. Recall that this was written for The Beast, however- a very edgy magazine that is popular on campuses and among the disillusioned young, who are likely to be left with a disintegrating biosphere. I guarantee you this group is not being reached by blogs like Real Climate. The effort to awaken the public is going to have to tread on some lightly traveled paths, and reach people in unconventional ways.

EliRabett said...

Nope, Roger is hiding in plain sight

Anonymous said...

Click the pictogram to find Roger..

Gail Zawacki said...

Excuse me, but is it the piratical Waldo? Or the Orca? Or the lost in the Piazza or the Vikings? There are so many, please specify!

Former Skeptic said...



Martin Vermeer said...

Seems the Wabett is a javascript maven...

Hank Roberts said...

So, I couldn't make myself go back there, did anyone explain who the 'affiliated' were who helped Alternet remove the nameless one from the list? They had the vaguest disclaimer I've seen in a while about consulting .... somebody .... about Roger up.

Hank Roberts said...

Well, so the Alternet disclaimer's gone, the comment's gone, there's a -- greasy -- disclaimer at Buffalo.

Okay, kids, good example here. This is why not to blindly trust self-described liberals, okay? Watch for it, because it happens all the time. They'll crumble under pressure, laugh it off, fail to show you _why_ they crumbled, eventually pretend nothing happened, and after a few weeks forget all about it.

"CORRECTIONS: .... Roger Pielke Jr., who is actually a cool dude. Our sincerest apologies to him and the Breakthrough Institute for our evil act of “Climate McCarthyism.”

Hank Roberts said...

Hey, if you want to see how the really professional PR people like the ones at propagate their funders' ideas--worming their way into the hearts and minds of credulous liberal news writers and bloggers--this example nails it: