White House science adviser attacks Roger Pielke Jr. for his Senate testimony, Pielke responds with a skillfull counterstrike

White House science adviser attacks Roger Pielke Jr. for his Senate testimony, Pielke responds with a skillfull counterstrike (2014-03-01). Anthony Watts actually thinks Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., “skeptical” political scientist, can teach Dr. John P. Holdren, the American President’s Science Advisor as well as Past President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, about climate science!

Is this truculent hubris, or just plain old Dunning–Kruger syndrome? You can decide, but I’ll just whisper this to Anthony: “skillfull” is spelt “skillful”. I know, I know, it takes a lot of fingers to keep track of the “l”s. Also, “counterstrike” should have a dash in there somewhere.

I first read about this on HotWhopper, and was reminded by a post on Climate Progress. Thanks guys!

Republican Senator Jeff Sessions had recently tried to use Pielke’s testimony from July 2013 to run the old “nothing’s changed”/”warming is good anyway!” shell game while questioning Dr. Holdren (linked on Rabett Run). Dr. Holdren testified that increased drought in the American West and Southwest has been a consequence of anthropogenic climate change. Sessions tried to dispute this irritating fact using Pielke’s – totally honest-broker, like, fer sure – testimony claiming there hasn’t been a change in drought trends. Dr. Holdren promised to back up his testimony and put Pielke’s in context and did so a few days later. It makes for an amusing read, unless you’re Roger Pielke Jr.

When Dr. Holdren cited research confirming his testimony and exposed Pielke’s classic quote-mining, Pielke revealed his debating ninja skills a blog post titled John Holdren’s Epic FailFirst, the right-wing nutters at The Daily Caller oversold Pielke’s argument in its partisan coverage of the testimony and Dr. Holdren thought they were quoting Pielke directly. Oh, that’s terrible! But more importantly, while Pielke had written that there was no change in drought trends, he put a little footnote-y thing to a journal paper that if you bothered to track down out of idle curiosity and then read through the whole thing shows that there has in fact been an increase in drought in the West and Southwest. That’s how you win the internets. Otherwise it’s all hurt feelings and wailing about politicizing the purity of collegial science. “Tone” is a favourite fall-back position for Pielke.

So no, Anthony: shouting a lie (Pielke’s “Take Home Points”from his 2013 testimony) and then whispering the 180° opposite truth (in a completely opaque footnote) doesn’t count as a “skillfull counterstrike.” It’s just building an escape hatch into the lie.

Mind blowing: Apple CEO tells ‘deniers’ to get out of Apple stock

Mind blowing: Apple CEO tells ‘deniers’ to get out of Apple stock (2014-03-03).  Anthony Watts publishes so many dumb/nasty things on his blog I often decide the toxic exposure just isn’t worth the time. His blog is like a TV stuck on an endless loop of carnival hucksters extolling the magical healing powers of magnetic bracelets (except that Big Pharma is suppressing clinical trials), but now and then a stray squawk catches my ear and makes me laugh.

Here we have Anthony echoing the so-called National Center for Public Policy Research, “a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank” dedicated to “expos[ing] efforts by left-wing interest groups to divert businesses away from best practices and into left-wing advocacy.” They were smacked down pretty hard when they tried to ask Apple’s CEO a question about the resolution they had submitted (devastatingly rejected) at Apple Inc’s recent AGM. Like Apple’s previous CEO, Tim Cook doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Especially stubbornly short-sighted, hypocritical ones who only get their knickers in a twist when a corporation’s political bias doesn’t match their own.

The “National Center” wanted Apple to pollute more and use more child labour so shareholders could make more money. Also, Apple should stop supporting equality and justice. The disgusted rebuff from Apple’s CEO is now being spun as proof that liberals and environmentalists are mean and secretive.

Anthony has long nurtured an irrational hatred for Apple, probably driven by the company’s long record of supporting liberal causes. His contribution to the self-pity party is below, with my annotations. And you thought Anthony was just mule-headed wrong on environmental issues!

Hmmm. This is the best argument I’ve ever heard for not using Apple products (besides the overinflated prices). [False claim. Same price as equal quality competitors. - Ben] Being flush with cash is probably why the CEO says he doesn’t care about the ROI (return on investment) [Misrepresentation. "When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind," he said, "I don't consider the bloody ROI." He said that the same thing about environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas where Apple is a leader." Apple has a highest profit margins in the industry so only an idiot - paging Anthony & Co. - would conclude that Apple doesn't care about ROI. - Ben] and won’t make the costs transparent per a shareholder request [What cost is Apple concealing? - Ben]. Seems like a sensible business request to me. [Yeah, Anthony and these libertarian dick-wads have SO MUCH to teach one of America's most successful corporations! - Ben]

This whole thing is playing out like run-of-the-mill libertarian posturing. How is even Anthony’s feeble mind “blown”?

Mark Steyn makes motion to dismiss Mann’s libel claim

Mark Steyn makes motion to dismiss Mann’s libel claim (201-01-24). Anthony Watts suggests that “noted human righters activist” right-wing zealot Mark Steyn’s defamation of Dr. Michael Mann was an act of moral bravery. Don’t block the freedom of speech “sunlight” that only right-wing demagogues can give! Also, Steyn’s motion to dismiss the libel claim is NOT trying to wriggle off the hook of his own actions.

Steyn’s defence lawyers ditching him is just proof that there’s no more defending needed, right? As citizen-lawyer Anthony says eyes firmly locked in the mirror, that;

Mann would be a fool to pursue the case further, but then again, his ego is often so large that I surmise the state department of transportation must be forced to put out orange traffic cones ahead of him when he travels, so I doubt it will happen.

Strip away all the posturing, self-serving invocation of free speech, rabid contempt for legal process and the specific judges ruling in this matter and what’s left?

Steyn, and Anthony’s readers, think that Dr. Mann is a “public figure” and therefore they have the right to fabricate and spread any utter bullshit about him or his repeatedly confirmed research that they please. And oh, do they please.

My take on this is that Mark Steyn, Rand Simberg, the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute have designed their attacks on climate science to take advantage of every legal fig leaf they can pull together to shield them from responsibility for their lies and misrepresentations. Now that they’ve been caught they are complaining hypocritically about the legal system that was their best weapon. Sucks to be them, but maybe they can scuttle back under their rock.

That Anthony Watts and company are convinced Steyn and friends should be able slip off the hook on a technicality says much about their own ethical foundations.

So how did it turn out? Steyn’s motion was rejected by the judge.

“For many of the reasons discussed in Judge Combs Greene’s July 19 orders, to state as a fact that a scientist dishonestly molests or tortures data to serve a political agenda would have a strong likelihood of damaging his reputation within his profession, which is the very essence of defamation.

The Copernicus-PRP fiasco: predictable and preventable

“The Copernicus-PRP fiasco: predictable and preventable” (2014-01-19). Anthony Watts concludes that playing the “censorship!” card in defence of the terminated climate denialist journal Pattern Recognition in Physics is too much of a stretch even for him and that amputation is required.

[Update: I just saw the uncorrected RSS summary for Anthony's post, a desperate a plea for guidance - what should he believe? "Post on the Copernicus - Tallbloke fiasco please advise" The rats are truly running in all directions.]

Otherwise the dishonest scamming hypocritical denialists who tried to start a fake science journal (see yesterday’s post about the inglorious life and death of Pattern Recognition in Physics) will make dishonest scamming hypocritical denialists like Anthony look like the same kind of dishonest scamming hypocritical denialists as the first group of dishonest scamming hypocritical denialists!

“[Pattern Recognition in Physics' implosion] has painted all climate skeptics with a broad brush.”

Yes, Anthony, you’ve been tarred by the same brush even though you’re flinching away as fast as you can. Because you’re exactly the same kind of intransigent, politically motivated science denier trying to lie your way to “credibility.” Scrutiny – it’s a bitch.

No doubt their shared conviction that communist conspiracies underlie all climate science will reunite the climate denialists, but for now the denial-sphere is dissolving into factional conflict. Dip into the comments at Anthony’s initial coverage of the journal’s cancelation. When even stalwart followers are complaining about “fighting like ferrets in a sack” you know it’s worth the time.

What hasn’t changed? Non-denialists are still thugs;

the “panic” [Copernicus Publications] were under after getting hit with an [imagined] email campaign from James Annan’s “various people”.

and lust to censor is still the unslaked desire of the ‘mainstream’ scientific community;

 “this looked like another case of suppression due to the anti-IPCC message conveyed in the PRP Special Edition”.

The ‘planetary tidal influence on climate’ fiasco: strong armed science tactics are overkill, due process would work better

“The ‘planetary tidal influence on climate’ fiasco: strong armed science tactics are overkill, due process would work better” (2014-01-18). Hey Anthony, this is just like that day the football team locked themselves in the school office and replaced morning announcements with fart sounds and declarations that “art class sucks”. Eventually the adults pulled the plug and it slowly dawned on the jocks that they’d made a laughingstock of themselves.

So, in the here and now, a little cabal of denialists managed (with just a smidgen of misrepresentation) to launch a “peer-reviewed” journal they titled  Pattern Recognition In Physics under the legitimate auspices of Copernicus Publications. They even managed to pull off two issues, stacked with their own papers, before the bullshit detectors pegged and their journal was abruptly terminated.

Says Copernicus Publications about the editorial conniving:

the editors selected the referees on a nepotistic basis, which we regard as malpractice in scientific publishing and not in accordance with our publication ethics we expect to be followed by the editors.


Therefore, we at Copernicus Publications wish to distance ourselves from the apparent misuse of the originally agreed aims & scope of the journal as well as the malpractice regarding the review process, and decided on 17 January 2014 to cease the publication of PRP.

Anthony Watts can merely sniff about unsubstantiated external pressure from “team climate science”, “strong-arm gang tactics” and how, if they’d only been given a chance to ‘splain, “due process would have been the right way to approach the issue”. This has to be done carefully though, because even Anthony is backing away from the stupid as fast as he can and admits, as meekly as possible, that their claims of a “planetary tidal influence on climate is likely a bit of overkill”.

Anthony sniffs that Astronomy and Astrophysics didn’t collapse after publishing a similarly poor paper by Abreu et alentitled Is there a planetary influence on solar activity? so why should this journal?

Anthony, there’s a difference between a bad paper getting through review at a reputable journal and a dishonest journal created for the purpose of giving a stream of bad papers the appearance of credibility. Perspective’s a bitch.

Still, celebrated scientist denialist blogger Joanna Nova trumpets that “the new line in the sand is to write a paper so hot they have to terminate the whole journal!” I guess Pattern Recognition in Physics’s science jujitsu is so strong that Jo’s cute idea of flooding the Copernicus Publications inboxes with hate mail is only a polite suggestion. It just looks like editorial and scientific deception!

Too bad for Roger Tattersall, aka “Tallbloke”, a truculent denialist blogger engineer/historian and regular commenter at Watts Up With That. He’s wearing two conflicting hats here; appointed to the journal’s rigged editorial board on the basis of no qualification whatsoever (denialist blogging?)  and also tagging along as a delighted junior author of one of the papers that broke the camel’s back. Now he wails about the harsh fist of censorship while his readers sagely drop the Hitler bomb.

This new comedy is just another instance of resentful, impotent, denialists clustering together like cockroaches in a little backwater hoping to boil forth and startle a small child into dropping their ice-cream. Remember the Climate Research misfireEnergy & Environment also has a long history of slipping denialist boners into the mix.

Follow the new bouncing ball at Open Mind and Rabett Run.

There’s also a good perspective at And The There’s Physics

A bit more on this juicy incident;

  • Greg Laden’s blog: Science Denialists Make Fake Journal, Get Shut Down.
    Greg coverage brought this statement by Copernicus Publications, from Roger Tattersall’s own bitter post, which kind of puts the whole matter in perspective:

    We were alarmed by the authors’ second implication stating “This sheds serious doubts on the issue of a continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project”. Before the journal was launched, we had a long discussion regarding its topics. The aim of the journal was to publish articles about patterns recognized in the full spectrum of physical disciplines. PRP was never meant to be a platform for climate sceptics. In addition to our doubts about the scientific content of PRP, we also received information about potential misconduct during the review process.

  • Science magazine: Alleging ‘Malpractice’ With Climate Skeptic Papers, Publisher Kills Journal

Discussion thread: Reddit Bans Climate Change Skeptics

Discussion thread: Reddit Bans Climate Change Skeptics (2013-12-20). This is rich; Anthony Watts, who uses his website’s commenting policy to impede and frustrate critics of denialism, has suddenly noticed that Reddit banned “climate change skeptics” from its /r/science forum. A year ago.

Anthony excerpts an article from that bastion of honesty and impartiality, Fox News, to ‘splain it. Strange though that Anthony’s copy-and-paste fails to include this bit:

While there is a subreddit dedicated to climate skeptics, it has far less research than the larger science board.

I love the quote from famously dishonest denialist journalist James Delingpole that Anthony seems to want to highlight. it’s a beautiful example of free-floating, illogical, baseless political resentment:

“The greenies — and their many useful idiots in the liberal media — are terrified of open debate on climate-change because the real world evidence long ago parted company with their scientifically threadbare theory,” Delingpole told FoxNews.com, arguing that Allen’s tactic is part of a “classic liberal defense mechanism: If the facts don’t support you, then close down the argument.”

Seems pretty clear that Reddit moderator Nathan Allen understands readers of Watts Up With That? well:

They had no idea that the smart-sounding talking points from their preferred climate blog were, even to a casual climate science observer, plainly wrong.”

Have a look at the comments in Anthony’s post for the delusional nonsense Nathan recognizes as so poisonous to intelligent conversation.

“Watching the Deniers” makes hilarious goof while accusing WUWT of “doctoring” NSIDC images

“Watching the Deniers” makes hilarious goof while accusing WUWT of “doctoring” NSIDC images (2013-07-05). If Anthony ever happens to be right about something, which like a stopped clock is about once every 43,200 instances, you can be sure he’ll beat it to death (or is it more strut about like a rooster?). When Anthony’s Aussie ditto head Eric Worrall spotted an accusation at Watching the Deniers (WtD) that Anthony had doctored an Arctic Sea Ice Extent graph to conceal the fact that the decline in Arctic ice extent was more than 2 standard deviations away from Anthony went .

Silly Mike, Anthony only by pure chance used the option on the NSIDC charting web page that suppressed the display of statistical significance! That’s just misrepresentation, not dishonesty, the kind of thin line that Anthony spends his life dancing back and forth over.

Anthony Watts likes to use the version of this chart that excludes statistical context. Makes it easier to imply that every wiggle is “just natural”.

Anthony Watts likes to use the version of this chart that excludes statistical context. Makes it easier to imply that every wiggle is “just natural”. Click to see the difference.

After a short display of indignation Anthony runs quickly through the gamut of blogging postures.

  • Victim card: WtD is driven by “hatred”!
  • Anticipation of censorship: “I’ve left a comment explaining Mr. Marriott’s absurd misconception and asked for an apology. We’ll see if it passes moderation, and if he lives up to his “professional services” label.” Oh, it made it along with all the other denialist ditto head attacks. Mike ain’t you, Anthony.
  • Megalomania: The king of the interwebs commandeth and threatens – “Change it sir. I won’t ask again.”
  • Ad hominem digging.
  • Dog whistle: “In the meantime, you can leave comments here.
  • An update to the whining: Anthony contentedly reports that WtD has been forced to change their post, retracting the “photoshop” claim. Funny I can’t recall Anthony ever doing the same, I guess he’s always been right.

Thus ending Global Warming. Which was natural anyway if it was happening. Which it wasn’t.