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« Will Black react? | Main | It's for the birds - Josh 102 »

Helmer's new book

Roger Helmer, the sceptic MEP, has published a new book entitled Sceptic at Large. The Hockey Stick Illusion gets a mention.

As a former mathematician, I know very well that you don’t prove a theorem by pulling a rabbit out of a hat and asking other mathematicians to believe you.  On the contrary, you set out every logical detail of your reasoning from first principles to final conclusion, line-by-line, and you welcome challenges and new insights from other specialists.  Only then can you write QED (Quod Erat Demonstrandum) at the end of your proof.

It’s a long story, but Macintyre and McKitrick were finally vindicated, not least by a US Congressional Committee in 2006 under the Chairmanship of Ed Wegman, arguably the most prominent statistician in the US.  And the problem is more one of statistics than of climatology.  I don’t know if Mann is a good climatologist or not, but the statistical techniques he applied to his data sets were fundamentally unsound.  For those who would like to understand the murky detail of this long-running dispute, which is central to the climate debate, I recommend A.W. Montford’s book “The Hockey Stick Illusion”.

Helmer's book is to be launched on 14 June in London at 32 Smith Square. Apparently BH readers are welcome to attend - just mention the blog at the door and you will get a free copy of RH's book.

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Reader Comments (14)

The Event is being held at The European Parliament Office (How is that for irony given Roger's views on the EU), 32 Smith Square, Westminster SW1P 3EU at 11.30am for 12 noon. We hope to see BH readers there.

Jun 12, 2011 at 8:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterrupert matthews

A pity he can't spell McIntyre correctly, but never mind.

I read his electronic newsletter every month. For those not aware, go to

Jun 12, 2011 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

that's very generous. but i wont be in london. can i mail order by texting 'bishop hill dissentient' to some number?

Jun 12, 2011 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered Commenterjo

See you there, folks!

Jun 12, 2011 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Wrong time to mention Wegman, I think.

Jun 12, 2011 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterbigcitylib

Isn't it amusing that whenever someone says something you want to hear, their status increases enormously? Wegman is 'the most prominent statistician' in the US? Perhaps, but only because he's featured in a number of USA Today stories regarding plagiarism in his papers... Not sure that's the kind of 'prominence' one would want to 'arguing' for.

Jun 12, 2011 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred

Takes me back to a certain day seemingly more distant than it actually was- 18 November 2009. Roger Helmer had organised and was chairing a public all-welcome climate conference titled 'Have Humans Changed the Climate? Facts and Consequences', set within in the very heart of the European Parliament Building. There were some big speakers billed- Anthony Watts, Prof Ross McKitrick, Prof Tom Segalstad, Dr Henrik Svensmark, Adj Prof Fred Goldberg, Prof Fred Singer, Dr Hans Labohm, and contributors from the media angle James Delingpole and Benny Peiser. (unfortunately Dr Svensmark had to cancel due to sickness). Up to that day, the BBC and MSM had been orgying on the coming Copenhagen Conference, Gordon Brown was about to save the world, and the conservatives if anything wanted even more oblation to the Global God (the UN-named one). The only sceptic making inroads sufficiently damaging to invoke the wrath of the Guardian columnists was Christopher Monckton, who was on a roll lecturing to full houses in the States.

By the time Watts had landed back in the US, all hell had broken loose, and his feet were not to touch the ground for weeks with his WUWT blog hits skyrocketing. Delingpole was shortly to fire the afterburner on his sceptic career rocket, and the Bishop was finishing off a certain Book.

Jun 12, 2011 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

"Isn't it amusing that whenever someone says something you want to hear, their status decreases enormously? Wegman is 'the most prominent statistician' in the US? Perhaps, but only because he's featured in a number of USA Today stories regarding plagiarism in his papers... Not sure that's the kind of 'prominence' one would want to 'arguing' for."
Fixed the misprint for you Fred!
So the findings that Mann's use of short-centred PCA was at the least inappropriate, that the papers of Mann et al. in themselves are written in a confusing manner, making it difficult for the reader to discern the actual methodology and what uncertainty is actually associated with these reconstructions and that that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis, can all be ignored because he's used a chunk of Wiki to describe "Social Networks"?
Just to remind you what the real meat of Wegman was about.

Jun 12, 2011 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon



All the fuss in the world re Wegman does not change the fact that MBH98 and MBH99 were written from the conclusion backwards.

This is painfully evident from any open-minded investigation of the facts. Montford's book ably summarises the problems encountered by M and M when they took a close, hard look at the methodology necessary to extract a Mannean hockey stick from the proxy data.

You know and I know that this does not in any way 'refute' the AGW hypothesis; rather it shines a very bright light on the calculated misrepresentation of recent paleoclimate in AR3 and beyond.

Every time you seek to use Wegman to distract from this, it backfires.

I'd think about that, if I were you.

Jun 12, 2011 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Attack poodles like bigcitylib and Fred are always good for a smile. They provide comfort, actually. You know they are going to parrot the party line. Reading what they post provides confirmation that the party still hasn't come up with anything resembling rationality or logic.

Jun 12, 2011 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan


Doesn't even refute Mann's thesis, since when the stats are redone the conclusions are the same. What YOU should be using the Wegman case for is a measure of the difference between real scientific misconduct and the fake stuff Bish and McI cough up. Wegman has destroyed his own career through sloppy work on subjects he didn't understand done for lousy motives. And the social networks stuff is just the beginning. The Bradley stuff is copyright infringement. In that case, he copped a chunk of text from a Dendro authority and changed it so it gave him the conclusion he wanted. Rather than try and do some work some science himself.

The meaning of Wegman for Deniers should be: Bullshit walks.

Jun 12, 2011 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterbigcitylib


Doesn't even refute Mann's thesis, since when the stats are redone the conclusions are the same.

I think we should agree to differ on this.

The meaning of Wegman for Deniers should be: Bullshit walks.

Why then have MBH never ended the dispute by full disclosure of data and code?

It was the obvious and correct thing do have done right at the outset.

As I said earlier, showing that the Mannean hockey stick is ill-founded does not 'refute' AGW. But it does illustrate the determination of some individuals and organisations to use occasionally questionable sources as gospel.

Nuanced debate accepts this.

Jun 12, 2011 at 11:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

This post made me curious enough to get the Kindle version and read it - which I have; it's very readable and not long at all.

The book made me likely to vote for Roger Helmer (if I voted in his constituency), but it's largely a compilation of his previous writings and speeches, integrated into a thematic narrative. As far as AGW is concerned, hie heart and mind are in the right place, but he doesn't go very deeply into it at all.

Anyway it's a good read, and it's refreshing to read some sense from a politician.

Jun 14, 2011 at 7:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter B

Enjoyed it, thanks Rupert. Roger majored is his talk on climate change scepticism, although he's a Eurosceptic as well, of course. He's crisp in delivery and has a greater grasp of the science than Lawson. Good to chat to a few people on climate openness, including Tim Montgomery of Conversative Home, and to meet MP Christopher Chope. The general view was that Osborne is the best hope for change. Don't know if that's right but it certainly says he's a smart operator, that such a group thinks so.

The organisers hadn't realised that sandwiches and fruit would be provided afterwards. I felt it was only right to do my bit to save them embarrassment.

Jun 14, 2011 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

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