«Edited and Annotated by John Costella The Lavoisier Group March 2010 About the Author John Costella was born in East Melbourne in 1966. After being ...»
Fortunately, the mainstream media never touched the story (mostly it has appeared in papers owned by Murdoch and his crowd, and dubious fringe on-line outlets). Much like a server which has been compromised as a launching point for computer viruses, I fear that Climate Research has become a hopelessly compromised vehicle in the skeptics’ (can we find a better word?) disinformation campaign, and some of the discussion that I’ve seen (e.g. a potential threat of mass resignation among the legitimate members of the Climate Research editorial board) seems, in my opinion, to have some potential merit.
Remember, this retaliation is in response to the publication of a single critical paper— which in any healthy discipline of science is an absolutely vital, every-day occurrence.
Mann continues to engineer the “spin-doctoring” of this retaliation:
This should be justified not on the basis of the publication of science we may not like, of course, but based on the evidence (e.g. as provided by Tom and Danny Harvey, and I’m sure there is much more) that a legitimate peer-review process has not been followed by at least one particular editor.
Mark Eakin adds:
Since the White House has shown interest in this paper, the Office of Science & Technology Policy really does need to receive a measured, critical discussion of flaws in Soon and Baliunas’s methods. I agree with Tom that a noted group … such as Mann, Crowley, Briffa, Bradley, Jones and Hughes should spearhead such a letter. Many others of us could sign on in support. This would provide Dave Halpern with the ammunition he needs to provide the White House with the needed documentation that hopefully will dismiss this paper for the slipshod work that it is.
“Ammunition” it is, indeed—for an attempted character assassination. Mike Mann
confirms that he has supplied this “ammunition” to their man in the White House:
Indeed, I have provided David Halpern with a written set of comments on the offending paper(s) for internal use, so that he was armed with specifics as he confronts the issue within the Office of Science & Technology Policy.
He may have gotten additional comments from other individuals as well— I’m not sure. I believe that the matter is in good hands with Dave, but we have to wait and see what happens.
June 4, 2003: email 1054756929
Ed Cook writes to Keith Briffa:
Now something to ask from you. Actually somewhat important too. I got a paper to review (submitted to the Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Sciences), written by a Korean guy and someone from Berkeley, that claims that the method of mathematics that we use in our field (reverse regression) is wrong, biased, lousy, horrible, etc. They use your … reconstruction as the main whipping boy.
We now get another glimpse into the impeccable data storage and record-keeping
procedures of these “scientists”:
I have a file that you gave me in 1993 that comes from your 1992 paper.
Below is part of that file. Is this the right one? Also, is it possible to resurrect the column headings? I would like to play with it in an effort to refute their claims.
If published as is, this paper could really do some damage. It is also an ugly paper to review because it is rather mathematical, with a lot of filter theory stuff in it. It won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the mathematics appears to be correct theoretically, but it suffers from the classic problem of pointing out theoretical deficiencies, without showing that their improved inverse regression method is actually better in a practical sense. So they do lots of computer stuff that shows the superiority of their method and the deficiencies of our way of doing things, but never actually show how their method would change your reconstruction from what you produced. Your assistance here is greatly appreciated.
This is a remarkable email: Cook is admitting that the paper that he has been entrusted to review “won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the mathematics appears to be correct”! He opines that it suffers the “classic problem” of not hand-holding these amateurs through the process of doing things correctly!
If there was ever any doubt that the fundamental principles of science had been lost in this discipline, this email absolutely demolishes it. Cook should never have been entrusted with the task of reviewing this paper.
June 4, 2003: email 1054757526 Mike Mann writes to his many co-authors about the “shock and awe” paper that they are preparing for publication in Eos. We see the “War on the Medieval Warm Period”
I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2000 years, rather than the usual 1000 years, addresses a good earlier point that Jonathan Overpeck made … that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “Medieval Warm Period”, even if we don’t yet have data available that far back.
That the goal of discrediting the existence of the Medieval Warm Period was decided upon before having any definitive data one way or the other (Mann describes some preliminary results, but says that they are not “kosher”) provides irrefutable evidence that this was an ideological crusade, not a scientific investigation.
July 3, 2003: email 1057941657 The Director of Climate Research, Otto Kinne, investigated the complaints about the
editorial and refereeing process, and wrote:
Dear colleagues, In my 20 June 2003 email to you I stated, among other things, that I would ask Climate Research editor Chris de Freitas to present to me copies of the reviewers’ evaluations for the two Soon and co-worker papers.
I have received and studied the material requested.
1) The reviewers consulted (four for each manuscript) by the editor presented detailed, critical and helpful evaluations.
2) The editor properly analysed the evaluations and requested appropriate revisions.
3) The authors revised their manuscripts accordingly.
Chris de Freitas has done a good and correct job as editor.
Mike Hulme forwards this email to Phil Jones, Tom Wigley, and Mike Mann:
So, this would seem to be the end of the matter as far as Climate Research is concerned.
Mike Mann is not willing to let it go at that:
It seems to me that this “Kinne” character’s words are disingenuous, and probably supports what de Freitas is trying to do. It seems clear we have to go above him. I think that the community should, as Mike Hulme has previously suggested in this eventuality, terminate its involvement with this journal at all levels—reviewing, editing, and submitting, and leave it to wither way into oblivion and disrepute.
Tom Wigley realizes that such tactics amount to scientific blackmail:
I agree that Kinne seems like he could be a de Freitas clone. However, what would be our legal position if we were to openly and extensively tell people to avoid the journal?
Ben Santer has no such qualms:
Based on Kinne’s editorial, I see little hope for more enlightened editorial decision-making at Climate Research. Tom, Richard Smith and I will eventually publish a rebuttal to the Douglass and co-workers paper. We’ll publish this rebuttal in the Journal of Geophysical Research—not in Climate Research.
July 22, 2003: email 1058906971 Mike Mann exerts “peer group pressure” on the co-authors of the Eos article to start
yet another petition—this time to be sent to the United States Congress:
Dear fellow Eos co-authors, Given the continued assault on the science of climate change by some on Capitol Hill, Michael Oppenheimer and I thought it would be worthwhile to send this letter to various members of the United States Senate, accompanied by a copy of our Eos article.
Can we ask you to consider signing on with Michael and me (providing your preferred title and affiliation). We would like to get this out as soon as possible.
Jonathan Overpeck realizes the danger in signing on to such a petition, without
carefully considering the huge ramifications:
I’m not too comfortable with this, and would rather not sign—at least not without some real time to think it through and debate the issue. It is unprecedented and political, and that worries me.
My vote would be that we don’t do this without a careful discussion first.
To his great credit, Overpeck understands the ramifications of crossing the line
between honest scientific research, and pure political activism:
What are the precedents and outcomes of similar actions? I can imagine a special-interest organization or group doing this, like all sorts of other political actions, but is it something for scientists to do as individuals?
It just seems strange, and for that reason I’d advise against doing anything with out real thought, and certainly a strong majority of co-authors in support.
Is it acceptable for taxpayer-funded scientists to advocate political issues?
July 31, 2003: email 1059664704 Tim Osborn writes to Mike Mann, trying to make sense of some of Mann’s data, which appear to have simplistic estimates of uncertainties. After an exchange in which Mann
attempts to explain what he has done, he adds:
Tim, Attached are the calculations requested … p.s. I know I probably don’t need to mention this, but just to ensure absolutely clarity on this, I’m providing these for your own personal use, since you’re a trusted colleague. So please don’t pass this along to others without checking with me first. This is the sort of “dirty laundry” one doesn’t want to fall into the hands of those who might potentially try to distort things… In other words, Mann lacks so much confidence in his own calculations that he refers to them as his “dirty laundry”, that is to be hidden from scrutiny at all costs.
And this is the basis of global climate policy.
August 19, 2003: email 1061298033 Tom Wigley to many, reiterating their confident assumption that they should have
absolute veto power over any publication in any journal:
I have been closely involved in the Climate Research fiasco. I have had papers that I refereed (and soundly rejected), under de Freitas’s editorship, appear later in the journal—without me seeing any response from the authors. As I have said before to others, his strategy is first to use mainly referees that are in the anti-greenhouse community, and second, if a paper is rejected, to ignore that review and seek another more “sympathic” reviewer. In the second case he can then (with enough reviews) claim that the honest review was an anomalous data point that can be ignored.
Again, Wigley’s view is so myopic that any dissenting opinion must be “dishonest”.
He then has the gall to suggest formalizing this closed-shop mentality:
I agree that an ethics committee is needed and I would be happy to serve on such a committee. It would have to have endorsement by international societies, like the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, the United States National Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Europe, plus the Royal Meteorological Society, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, etc.
Now that would really provide fertile ground for institutionalized bullying and ideological exclusion!
Jim Titus mentioned to me that in the legal profession here people are disbarred for behavior like that of de Freitas (and even John Christy— although this is a more subtle case). We cannot do that of course, but we can alert the community of honest scientists to such behavior and formally discredit these people.
The Danish Academy did something like this recently, but were not entirely successful.
This sentence refers to the attempt by the Danish Academy to blackball Bjørn Lomborg.
Wigley then joins the chorus of conspirators urging that the journal be black-balled: