Not so Goot
Jun 6, 2011
Bishop Hill in Climate: Sceptics, Climate: other

Aynsley Kellow posted these remarks in the comments on the posting on Goot's paper on the climate consensus. I thought they were important enough to bring upstairs as a header post.

I found it difficult to read this piece, especially because the matter of how many climate scientists can dance in agreement on the head of a pin is irrelevant to any argument about climate science. Since Galileo, the fallacy of argumentum ad populum has been well established, and it is rather surprising that Murray would be engaged to explore whether the fallacy holds in this particular case.

What worried me more was that Murray both cites me and gets it horribly wrong. In the middle of a titanic sentence of 159 woards, Murray included the following parenthetical remark (on p6):

'(Bray and von Storch 2007, fig. 30; badly misrepresented by Kellow 2007, 73, a defender of Peiser)'

I found this a surprising remark, because Hans von Storch was kind enough to write to me to tell me that my book was accurate in the elements with which he was familiar. How then had I 'badly misrepresented' fig. 30 in Bray and von Storch, 2007?

The answer is that it would have been extremely difficult for me to have misrepresented anything in Bray and von Storch, 2007, because that manuscript was received for publication in May 2007, when my book was already in press.

In fact, I quoted Dennis Bray as he was quoted in the Sunday Telegraph, on 1 May 2005 — fully two years before the submisison by he and Hans von Storch of the paper to which Murray Goot refers. The Sunday Telegraph states:

'Prof Dennis Bray, of the GKSS National Research Centre in Geesthacht, Germany, submitted results from an international study showing that fewer than one in 10 climate scientists believed that climate change is principally caused by human activity.'

My book on p73 states:

'Science published a correction by Oreskes (Oreskes,2005), but it refused to publish a letter from Dr Benny Peiser which showed that her numbers could not be replicated, and another from Dr Dennis Bray reporting a survey ofclimate scientists showing that fewer than one in ten considered that climate change was principally caused by human activity. Dr Bray told the UK paper the Sunday Telegraph that Science had informed him his paper ‘didn’t fit with what they were intending to publish.'

The issue was Oreskes mis-stating her methodology, stating in her paper that she searched for 'clmate change' rather than the search term she actually used: 'global climate change'. I stated in my book:

'But a search of the ISI database using ‘climate change’ produced 12000 papers, and Oreskes was forced to admit after science journalist David Appell (the owner of the blog where Mann had first mounted his defence) challenged her on his website (within 12 days of publication) that she had used the three keywords ‘global climate change’, which reduced the return by an order of magnitude.'

Note who nailed Oreskes on the deceit: David Appell was no friend of climate sceptics.

I have been seriously misrepresented by Murray Goot, and I think he owes me an apology.

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