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.

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”.

Open Letter to Jon Stewart – The Daily Show

“Open Letter to Jon Stewart – The Daily Show” (2014-01-17). I LOVE these denialist “open letters”! Anthony Watts seems to love ‘em too, but for different reasons. Anthony loves the chance to act as if he’s initiating a great public debate. When The Letter lands like a tiny pebble in a reeeeeally deep well he can pretend it was so beautifully argued that the (oblivious) target was shamed into silence. Me? I love the hubris.

Here we have Bob Tisdale lecturing Jon Stewart about his coverage of right-wing “weather!” whoppers on January 6th. Anthony Watts has had a pickle up his ass on the same topic; the recent deep cold snap should have been the final nail in the Global Warming hoax, right? But at least weatherman Anthony learned what the Polar Vortex is.

Bob lists his credentials up front so that Jon will sit up and take notice. He’s an “independent climate researcher” (code for “not a climate researcher”) and author of three ebooks!

I quite enjoyed Ingenious Pursuits‘ deconstruction: “Dr” Bob in retirement – just keep churning it out, check it out.

Like most denialists, Bob seems to consider himself a blend of Galileo and Martin Luther. Fierce intellect, incredible moral integrity, and probably the strength of ten men. Yeah, right. Bob’s just rattling through the usual tired and debunked denialist claims, misrepresenting evidence, demonstrating his ignorance of real scientific process or squawking “the models are wrong!”

I note that Anthony seems A-OK with the anti-Semitic undercurrent in his carefully moderated comments sandbox. Did you know Jon Stewart’s real surname is Leibowitz? This is apparently important to know.

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.

Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda – another overhyped storm that didn’t match early reports

“Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda – another overhyped storm that didn’t match early reports” (2013-11-09). Sometimes Anthony Watts’ denialist haste can only be described as contemptible, verging on sociopathic. Here he rushes to highlight Paul Homewood (scientific qualification – retired accountant) braying that some media reports on Super Typhoon Haiyan botched converting wind speeds from metric to imperial.

Since the Mainstream Media are proven liars, there is clearly no Global Warming! Write scathing letters to your editors complaining about math errors!

Paul Homewood’s whining is done while brushing aside the deaths and destruction that Super Typhoon Haiyan is still causing and are only beginning to be quantified. Of course as even early reports start to roll in Anthony and Paul have had to trip over themselves to qualify and re-qualify themselves. Maybe it wasn’t so overhyped after-all.

Look, Anthony Watts was right - No big deal. Photo: AP

Look, Anthony Watts was right! No big deal.. Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette, right? Taken from a photo gallery on The Ages’ website. Photo: AP

What a disgusting, shameless, little jig. They know that their readers will have largely passed on to the next fake outrage and are unlikely to see them scuttle away from their claims. Aspersions on disliked news sources and climatologists have been spread, Anthony’s readers have been reminded to trust no-one but him; job done. For denialists like Anthony it’s critical to strike while the iron’s hot and while the human consequences can still, callously, be disregarded. Measured comment has no place in his world.

It’s also sickly amusing to watch Paul Homewood try to portray the evil “MSM”, which for simplicity in this case momentarily includes the execrable denialist-friendly Daily Mail, as simultaneously too dumb to work their calculators properly and so cunning that they are deliberately converting the wind speed wrong to terrify their readers.

I’ll leave readers with science blogger Greg Laden’s thoughts: WUWT Science Denialist Blog Hits New, Historic Low.

Update 1: Sou at HotWhopper also takes Anthony to task While thousands may have died in Typhoon Haiyan, be prepared to “throw up in your mouth” at this article on WUWT.

Update 2: Anthony Watts, trying to squirm away from his callous haste, sanctimoniously reminds us that he’s donated to the Red Cross. Has Greg Laden? Has he? Has he??? Greg’s the jerk, not Anthony! I thought a doctrinaire libertarian like Anthony would conclude that Filipinos should stand proud and free and take it on the chin if they failed to personally prepare. Just goes to show.