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« Matt massacres Malthusians | Main | Atlas mounting »
Tuesday
Sep202011

Cooking the books

Skeptical Science and its host, John Cook, have been much commented upon recently, the site's grubby treatment of Roger Pielke Snr having caused considerable disquiet. I'm grateful to reader PaulM for pointing me to another example of the way things are done on John Cook's watch.

Take a look at this page on the site. It's an older article, dating back to 2008, and it covers the vexed question of whether Antarctica is gaining or losing ice.

Skeptic arguments that Antarctica is gaining ice frequently hinge on an error of omission, namely ignoring the difference between land ice and sea ice.

This is not a straightforward area of science. As the article goes on to explain,

One must also be careful how you interpret trends in Antarctic sea ice. Currently this ice is increasing and has been for years but is this the smoking gun against climate change? Not quite.

and then expands on this by pointing out that in Antarctica,

sea ice is not the most important thing to measure. In Antarctica, the most important ice mass is the land ice sitting on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

...which of course is shrinking, we are told.

So there you go, simple enough even for a sceptic to follow. Or perhaps not simple enough - take a look at comment #3 from AnthonySG1:

OK smarties. If Antarctica is overall losing ice, then how do you explain the data?
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.south.jpg

The Arctic doesn't seem to be doing so bad anymore, also:
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.jpg

This particular scurvy sceptic is sent packing with a rapier-like thrust:

Response: It's somewhat discouraging that the first point I make is that people often fail to distinguish between sea ice and land ice. They are two separate phenomena. And yet you repeat the error. To clarify, Antarctica is losing land ice at an accelerating rate. Sea ice around Antarctica is increasing. The reasons for sea ice increasing in a warming Southern Ocean are complex and described in detail above.

And then there's comment #5 from PaulM himself:

The misinformation on this site is astonishing. Antarctic ice is increasing.
In addition to the cryosphere link provided Anthony,
This is confirmed by NSIDC,
http://nsidc.org/data/smmr_ssmi_ancillary/regions/total_antarctic.html
by NCDC,
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2008/apr/global.html#seaice
and by numerous scientific papers, including
Cavalieri and Parkinson, J. Geophys. Res. 113, C07004 (2008),
Comiso and Nishio, J. Geophys. Res. 113, CO2S07 (2008).

You have managed to find one paper that finds a decrease - but that only covers a 3 year period! Obviously you cannot get a significant trend from 3 years data.

These sceptics! How do you get through to them? Send 'em packing again:

Response: Please, people, pay attention! Sea ice is increasing. Land ice is decreasing. Read and reread the post above  until you realise they are two separate phenomena.

The exchange is, apparently at least, a damning indictment of the behaviour of what are sometimes referred to as "so-called sceptics".

Well, damning of the sceptics, that is, until you examine the same page on the Wayback Machine. The archive version is dated 3 February 2009, nearly six months after the comments were posted.

And its completely different!

While East Antartica is gaining ice due to increased precipitation, Antartica is overall losing ice. This is mostly due to melting in West Antarctica which recently featured the largest melting observed by satellites in the last 30 years. As well as melting, Antartic glaciers are accelerating further adding to sea level rise.

Astonishingly, more than six months after having their errors pointed out to them, the denizens of Skeptical Science rewrote the article and then inserted comments suggesting that their commenters hadn't read the article properly.

I'm simply flabbergasted.

And it's even more amazing when one recalls that Skeptical Science was recently the recipient of an award from the Australian Museum for services to climate science.

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Reader Comments (253)

How did John Cook manage to mistake those comments as new when one of them already had a response attached to it? And who deleted the original response?

Sep 21, 2011 at 1:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

John Cook:

This means I regularly update old rebuttals when new data is released or when new papers are published.

My suggest is you make it clear when you change an article or a comment, as in: Update: ...

Otherwise, you are engaged in dishonest hackery. I've personally quit putting any value into anything you say because I don't think you understand the difference between critical thinking and "staying on message".

Sep 21, 2011 at 1:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterCarrick

John Cook's excuse for his behaviour

"When I posted the responses to those particular comments, I mistakenly thought they were comments to the updated post (SkS is a big site so I don't keep track of all the comments as they come in). So in responding to the commenters, thinking they hadn't read the updated article, I was unfair to them. It was an honest mistake but I'm a little annoyed with myself for making it "

is not even remotely plausible, for 2 reasons:
1) The comments are DATED, so it is quite clear when the comments were made, and quite clear that they are/were not commenting on any updated article but on the original article, before SS decided to re-write it.
2) The comment from "AnthonySG1 at 20:25 PM on 9 May, 2008 " was replied to by Cook (or someone at SS) the reply stated:

[ Response: Funny you should ask, the last few weeks, I've been preparing a series of posts on Antarctica and the Arctic. First one next week. Stay tuned... ]

Which was a perfectly reasonable, if completely uninformative, reply - one which actually failed to address the commentators point entirely.

In order for Mr Cook to post the 'revised' replies he subsequently much later posted, which make the sceptics out to be bumbling trolls, he would have had to DELETE the original reasonable, if uninformative, reply and insert the new reply.

It is clear that in doing so he could NOT have been unaware that the comment from AnthonySG1 was in reply to the original article.

His proffered excuse for such unwarranted revision does not withstand even the most rudimentary examination.

I also note that as of Sept. 21st 01:37 Mr Cook has STILL not corrected or even noted the seemingly dishonest revised responses he now claims to merely have 'erroneously' inserted at a later date, on his website.

If his actions TRULY were mere 'honest error' then surely that should have been his first priority?

Sep 21, 2011 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterHu Bris

Gixxerboy, thanks for the gracious response, much appreciated. I will update the moderation comments to reflect that the older comments were posted before the updated version of the rebuttal.

Shub, how it happened is I didn't write the moderation responses at the same time as I updated the article. As I no longer receive comments as they come in (I used to get them as emails until it became too much), sometimes I look through existing comment threads and post responses although I do that less often these days. In this case, I would've come back at some other time (unfortunately I don't log the time of the response although that might be a good idea), looked at the comments thread, mistakenly thought the comments were to the updated version then posted the response.

Sep 21, 2011 at 1:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Cook

Hu Bris, yes, the comments are dated and if I had taken the time to more closely observe the dates, I wouldn't have made the mistake of thinking the comments (and my older response to the comments) were in response to the updated article.

It's never my intent to make commenters look like "bumbling trolls" - my goal is always (and has always been) to point people towards the peer-reviewed science. So I'm not terribly happy with myself for making the mistake - the result is people here seem to be talking more about the timing of comments and responses rather than what the peer reviewed science is saying about what's happening to Antarctica.

Sep 21, 2011 at 2:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Cook

LOL,

John Cook made a post in my climate forum.To correct me about the identity of a Guest.Whom I though was John Cook.The background Identification were so similar to the one John would have.That I thought it was him.

I was wrong.They were two different people living in the same region in Australia.

But he then goes on to make an absurd claim that CO2 "traps" heat.That statement alone tells me he has no idea what CO2 really does,since it absorbs IR,not heat.

He also completely avoided my second post in the thread.Pointing out his many errors.He thought it was better to push an absurd proposition instead.

He also fails to comeback and answer Richard111 post in reply to John.

The short thread is here:

http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/forums/thread-928.html

Sep 21, 2011 at 2:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterSunsettommy

John Cook
I always thought you set out your list of "rebuttals to climate myths" in an exemplary way. Were I still doing climate science as my number one activity, I would have used your list to compile an Internet list of "rebuttals to climate rebuttal myths" in similar style, only going that extra mile to publish how each and every one of your rebuttals falls short. Yes, I have done it to my own satisfaction, just not written it up. The most important example for me, the one that really turned me from warmist to skeptic, was discovering Monckton's rebuttal to Schmidt's rebuttals and you cannot claim that Monckton was not peer-reviewed because Schmidt wasn't either, but the debate was in the public eye, which is perhaps why you and other warmists like Abraham still pursue him but ignore his reply to Abraham.

John, real science demands that all the evidence be heard. That means, you need to reference Monckton's reply to Abraham - together with your refs to Abraham's "rebuttals".

Sep 21, 2011 at 2:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterLucy Skywalker

Lucy Skywalker,

I am sure you would be welcome to bring your further arguments to SkS. The straightforward way would be to find a thread that relates to the Monckton arguments and discuss your points, one by one, to your satisfaction. Right now I'm not sure if any of the Monckton threads are active (i.e., if anyone is actively monitoring it). But we have a number of folks who have spent quite a bit of time thinking about Monckton's arguments, and who would be willing to revive a thread on that topic.

Sep 21, 2011 at 2:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeal J. King

@SayNoToFearmongers

I completely agree with your comment. That anyone can try to make a correlation argument around correlation coefficients indistinguishable from zero is awful.

Climatologists should hang their heads in shame.

Sep 21, 2011 at 2:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

I completely agree with your comment. That anyone can try to make a correlation argument around correlation coefficients indistinguishable from zero is awful.

Hehe, over at CA Nick said (paraphrased) "it's still hard to get away from Dessler." I couldn't contain my laughter, too bad he couldn't hear it. Yeah, it's hard for people like Nick Stokes and John Cook to get away from "the consensus," it suits them too well.

Mark

Sep 21, 2011 at 2:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

Mr Cook, you'll have to forgive me for my continued scepticism, but I really do find it very hard to swallow you claim that:
1) knowing that you (or someone at SS) had already 'revised/rewitten' the article,on at least one or more occasions, and
2) that seeing that there was already an 'official SS-response (undated) to the commentators posted comment,
3) that you somehow completely neglected to check the date of the comment despite the fact that you would have had to actually delete the original SS-response in order to insert the newer 'revised' and much more caustic SS-response.

The fact that the 'revised' SS-response, to what were completely reasonable criticisms of the original article, all had the same dismissive and caustic tone, gives some insight into your own personal attitude to people that would dare to point out errors in your argument.

Personally if I myself were to engage in such behaviour, to write such caustic replies knowing full well that the original article had been SUBSTANTIALLY re-written since it original publication, I would have made certain that the replies I was responding to were in fact replies to the rewritten version and NOT, as in both of these cases, responses to the original, and incorrect, article.

I note, and commend, that after I pointed out that you still had not corrected your 'mistake' at your website, you have now put some sort of 'correction' (such as it is) HOWEVER, I also note that instead of leaving your 'erroneous' revised-responses intact (with a strikethrough so that readers might see your 'revised' response) you decided to delete them entirely - thus removing from the casual visitors eye, evidence of your own errors and subsequently removing evidence of your own personal attitude to people that would dare to point out errors in your argument.

What we get instead is the revised revised response.

SS's recent spat with Pielke certainly shows that the Mods at SS do know how to use the strike-through html-tag and I am rather surprised that on this occasion, when it's use would have certainly been warranted, the existence of such a useful feature of HTML mark-up seems to have been forgotten entirely.

Sep 21, 2011 at 3:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterHu Bris

Barry Woods, do put up a summary of your posts at rcrejects.wordpress.com

Sep 21, 2011 at 3:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

Lucy Skywalker,

I am reliably informed that if you comment on a thread, it becomes automatically active. So feel free to bring up a rebuttal on any one of Monckton threads. It doesn't matter that you haven't written it up: The most effective way of dealing with such a discussion is one topic at a time. Just present the "last step" that you believe Monckton has taken, and you will get a real-time response that will either clarify the situation, or which you can pursue further.

Sep 21, 2011 at 3:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeal J. King

Hu Bris, I did contemplate using the strike-through to show the previous response but I think the revised text is fairly self-explanatory in clarifying the revised article came after the comments.

I think we're at the point where you either have to take my explanation of an honest mistake on good faith or believe that I dishonestly tried to make commenters look bad. For the record, I would consider intentional underhanded tactics like that deplorable. I'm a big believer in making this debate about the science and discussing it in an even-handed, dispassionate tone.

It's very tempting (human nature, in fact) to let emotions get the better of us - and I think I probably was more 'caustic' in those responses than I usually like to be - a case of emotion getting the better of me which is a shame. If I'd bothered to check the dates, I wouldn't have gotten so exasperated with the comments.

Sep 21, 2011 at 3:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Cook

Hu Bris,

There are different philosophical perspective regarding the rebuttals. Mine is that these articles are intended to rebut a specific misconception, and should be written to do that most clearly and effectively. Over time, new evidence emerges and new papers come into the limelight, so the article ought to be updated and revised to reflect that and to be more effective.

From that point of view, the comment section is intended to be a space for discussion, NOT a record of objections. I consider it more like a scrap of paper used in a coffee-shop discussion than a laboratory notebook: after you've done your back-of-the-envelope calculation and figured out which way things are going, you don't usually keep the envelope as a permanent record, you throw it away and write up the calculation formally somewhere else.

In the same way, when I revise an article (actually I'm not sure I've revised any recently; but this would be my orientation), I want a clean easy-to-read version, not cluttered with change bars or strike-throughs or even footnotes.

The problem comes, as in this case, when you have comments attached already: when you change the article, evidently the comments go out of date. There seem to be two solutions to this: Either a) archive the old comments and start up a new comment space; or b) just erase the old comments and start up a new comment space.

From my point of view, the comments are not particularly interesting as an historical record, they're intended to be the medium of exchange of ideas; but after the discussion is over, I don't regard them, really, as worth keeping. I think anything really important should be written up in a more polished format and saved. But I personally regard old comments as analogous to calculational scratchpaper: suitable for the recycling bin.

Obviously, that doesn't mean that one should answer old comments in the context of new text, as John accidentally did. But I suspect that he also wasn't thinking about the "historical record" of comments, but just trying to answer what he thought of as not-yet-answered comments. So you end up with this out-of-sync question & answer. If it had been me, you probably wouldn't have gotten anything to check over: I would have just produced the clean revised text and a blank slate for comments: I think of the point of revision is to produce the best text possible, and I would only be interested in comments against that new text.

Note: I see John Cook has just produced his own angle on this. Well, his is his, and mine is mine.

Sep 21, 2011 at 3:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeal J. King

Funny how Alarmists make so many "honest mistakes", but Skeptics are always "spreading disinformation", usually at the behest of Big Oil.

No wonder nobody trusts the CAGW "science" any more; they know it isn't science, merely political agit-prop.

To a Left/Greenie, saying "Sorry" means "Sorry I got caught out."

Sep 21, 2011 at 3:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

From my point of view, the comments are not particularly interesting as an historical record, they're intended to be the medium of exchange of ideas; but after the discussion is over, I don't regard them, really, as worth keeping. I think anything really important should be written up in a more polished format and saved. But I personally regard old comments as analogous to calculational scratchpaper: suitable for the recycling bin.

wow. the discussion is never over.Some great climategate gems were buried in comments. I suppose Neal has a different back ground in scholarship and texts than I do.

Sep 21, 2011 at 4:16 AM | Unregistered Commentersteven mosher

Mark S writes:
"Sceptical Science 'Argument' articles are regularly updated, mainly in response to reader feedback or new research."

The only acceptable way to "update" them is to leave them as they are and add to them comments with the explanation is that the comment is what the writer wished he had said. Anything else falsifies the historical record and is a lie.

Sep 21, 2011 at 4:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Mosher,

It depends on what the text is for. If it's for a record of events, then yes, everything has to be detailed properly. I was the secretary of a telecom standards group for 4 years, so I can do that. But for explanatory articles, subject to revision, I don't feel any compunction about throwing away old versions.

In fact, if I were running SkS, I would probably have all the explanatory articles on a 6-month revision schedule, and dump the comments with every revision - just zero them out, like yesterday's newspaper. (If you still get a newspaper.)

Sep 21, 2011 at 4:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeal J. King

John Cook writes:

"BH, no, I don't cook any books."

Sir, you changed the historical record without explaining that you did so. That means that you falsified the historical record and doing so is lying. If you want to update old post or comments, you must do without changing the historical record.

Sep 21, 2011 at 4:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

I think we're at the point where you either have to take my explanation of an honest mistake on good faith or believe that I dishonestly tried to make commenters look bad.

As Hu Bris has pointed out, it would have been necessary to delete the original SS responses in order to insert the new ones which sadly makes the latter explanation more probable.

Sep 21, 2011 at 4:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

DocBud,

There's actually no reason for John to have doctored the record to make interlocutors look stupid. It doesn't convince them of anything. What would be the angle?

Sep 21, 2011 at 4:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeal J. King

Sep 20, 2011 at 11:44 PM | steven mosher says

"I would say they owe the people who comment an acknowledgement at least.

It is not unprecedented for an author, even the author of a scientific paper to acknowledge the help, even criticism of blog players."

I know with the stratospheric cooling thread they had over there last year, when it became apparent they had completely missed the boat on the mechanisms, they did post a complete "updated thread"... and the author did offer to acknowledge the commentators who put him straight.( i still have my doubts about gavins theory of reduced LW in 15micron having any play in it... it would be on the wings, and increase emission around 10micron, O3 band.. but anyways) It was shortly after that time i tired of that site, because of the tone it adopted.

So at times they do post corrections... and curiously, other times... apparently not. I dare say, that this sort of thing wont be happening in the future over there. ;-)

Sep 21, 2011 at 5:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterKingOchaos

Bishop, I'd like to request that you update the original post with John's explanation of the events. Of course you'll have to make sure the updated text is clear. Otherwise you'll be accused of re-writing history and cooking the books!

There's some serious paranoia here. John has no reason to try and make commenters on his site look foolish. He made a mistake, he admitted his mistake - accept the admission, drop the conspiracy theories, and move on.

Oh, and please stop telling people how to run their websites. Skeptical Science isn't some sort of historical record. We try to keep the information as up to date as possible, and new research is constantly published. If a relevant study is published, we update the myth rebuttal accordingly (usually publishing an accompanying blog post). If you don't like it, then just don't use the site, but there's no need to make rude accusations about it.

Sep 21, 2011 at 5:42 AM | Unregistered Commenterdana1981

dana

Don't say "we", about the skepticalscience website. You, evidently have different ideas on the magnitude and significance of what was done with the Antarctic ice page, from John Cook.

There is no "rude accusation". It is a summation of what has been done. Deal with it.

Sep 21, 2011 at 5:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

"myth rebuttal"

That's funny.

I suppose it doesn't bother you that a 'revised myth rebuttal' contradicts the old rebuttal. Or that you change the rebuttal and make commenters look stupid as though they had posted in response to the newer version.

Take some time off from climate change paper exegesis and read some George Orwell for a change.

Sep 21, 2011 at 5:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

wow - the Dana character really has some gall -

Bishop, I'd like to request that you update the original post with John's explanation of the events. Of course you'll have to make sure the updated text is clear. Otherwise you'll be accused of re-writing history and cooking the books!

how anyone could be so stupid as to classify NOT re-writing a post as "re-writing history and cooking the books" is a complete mystery to me, at least. But then I'm not an arrogant AGW-junkie.

The Bishops post is completely factual and correct. Mr Cook's excuses for his behaviour, whether one chooses to believe them or not, are immaterial to what the Bishop wrote in his post. They do not effect one word of what the Bishop wrote.

The absolute most that might be expected of the Bishop is an update along the lines of "See comments for Cook's explanation of events"

The page at SS WAS updated, without any note being made that is was a SUBSTANTIAL rewrite,
The original comments containing criticism of the original SS article WERE correct in their criticisms
Cook DID replace the original SS-responses to those criticisms, at a much later date, AFTER the article had been completely and substantially rewritten
Those 'revised' SS-responses DID make the original commentators look like bumbling fools.
Cook only changed his unreasonable and incorrect 'revised' responses AFTER it was pointed out that he had yet to do so.
Cook HAS deleted all evidence at his website that such events ever took place

and now this Dana character tries to maintain that it is the Bishop that has acted unethically?

Seriously Dana, you are an extremely arrogant individual, who seems to think that the ONLY form of defence is to attack

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterHu Bris

DANA said - "Oh, and please stop telling people how to run their websites."

and this comes AFTER he demands that the Bishop re-write his post to reflect Dana's preferred version of events

oh boy - chutzpah, thy name art dana1981

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterHu Bris

Neal J. King: If you were a secretary to a Telecoms Standards group then you shoul know that the standards people are meticulous in dating the updated standards and keeping the old standards archived. I have long held that the major problem in with Team's is their sloppiness with there ores they keep. When data and methods are demanded they refuse to provide them because don't take care when preparing papers to keep the meticulous records required in comercial research environments. Today we have clear evidence the John Cook is totally unaware of the practices required when updating documentation. Practices that require the updated document to be dated at the time if the update, that require the updates be made clear and referenced. Even on a blog these practices should be adhered to, else we ar lest with the impression that the authors are either complete amateurs, or completely disingenuous.

I read SkS from time to time and am left with the impression of a blog focusing on proving the hypothesis correct. Maybe a visit to the works of Popper would be beneficial.

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:26 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

It's not as if there wasn't already considerable evidence of Skeptical Science having degenerated into another worthless partisan AGW advocacy organ.

http://nigguraths.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/roger-pielke-sr-at-the-ss-com-a-dark-day-in-the-climate-science-debate/

Sadly, it happens all too often with other (previously reputable) organizations as well. Substitute 'John Cook' for 'L.Ron Hubbard', 'Skeptical Science' for the 'Citizens Commission on Human Rights', and you've pretty much identified the template for Cult subornation of responsible apolitical institutions.

It is at least gratifying to note how poorly fanatics manage such organizations, and how rapidly they fritter away residual credibility.

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterTashlan

Ok, I got a giggle out of this last post by dana1981.

I'm pretty sure the Bishop didn't go to SKS and tell you guys how to run your website. I'm pretty sure that dialog has all been here.

If so, you're coming over to this website, telling the Bishop how to run his website by insisting that he not talk, here, on the Bishop's site...about how he thinks you ought to run your website. Truly, no cognitive dissonance at all?

And you're unable to take your own advice...if you don't like the Bishop's site...don't use it. Truly, no cognitive dissonance at all?

Sanctiomonious AND hypocritial. A luverly combo. :)

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterRDCII

dana1981: Your treatment of Dr. Peilke, a distinguished and respected scientist, was, and remains, an absolute disgrace. It speaks mountains for your immaturity that you aren't ashamed enough of yourself that you would come onto any site where decent people exchange ideas and expect to be treated seriously. The same by the way for John Cook and Neal J. King who are also party to the shabby treatment handed out to Dr. Peilke. It would be nice if all three of you took the opportunity to publicly apologize to Dr. Peilke on this thread. Oh, and then tract.

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:38 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Whoops. "Sanctimonious". Good thing I wasn't telling someone to use spellchecker. :)

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterRDCII

Yikes. Strike 2: "hypocritical". I'm going to bed.

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRDCII

@ Neil J King

Neal your insistence in classifying this as " just trying to answer what he thought of as not-yet-answered comments. " is ridiculous given that in the comment posted by AnthonySG1 had already been replied to. The fact that the reply completely ignored the point that AnthoySG1 made, may or may not be significant. But Mr Cook's later insertion of a 'revised' (and much more caustic) response certainly was not a reply to a "not-yet-answered comment" - why you would choose to classify it as such is curious to say the least.

If you are going to allow comments on articles which you are constantly re-writing, then from an ethical standpoint, you ARE actually required to acknowledge mistakes and to be open and honest in your responses when comments are posted, prior to your complete re-write. containing important criticisms of your articles,

refusal to do so will only make you look dishonest or duplicitous - and later insertion of 'revised' responses, which have the effect of making the original commentators look like bumbling fools, will REALLY make YOU look deceitful.

And even later attempts to brush it all under the carpet and demands that people 'move on' will just make the people posting those demand look a little desperate.

And arrogant interjections from colleagues of Cook's (dana1981) demanding that the Bishop re-write his post completely, in order to avoid the wrath of dana1981 who childishly threatens to counter-accuse the Bishop of "re-writing history and cooking the books!" if his demands are not met, REALLY will make dana1981 look like a deranged nutter

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterHu Bris

I think 'sanctiomonious' is lovely. Or 'sanctuamanic'. Mebbe 'sanctuavellymuch'.
=================

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

There's actually no reason for John to have doctored the record to make interlocutors look stupid. It doesn't convince them of anything. What would be the angle?

I suppose the angle might be the impression that others would get when visiting the site. I'm still very confused as to how one can accidently delete one response and replace it with another.

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

I'm willing to accept John Cook's explanation, but I see that "oversight" rather mild compared to the manipulation some of the SS moderators exercise.
In giving free rein to those fellow regulars who preach the same message, and censoring any opposing arguments, especially, especially if they are beyond the capacity of those "team" members whose opinion of their own knowledge far exceeds reality, the hypocrisy of the moderation process becomes very tangible.
Add to that the freedom allowed for scorn and ridicule to be freely heaped upon anyone who exhibits original thinking or analysis as opposed to those who only contribution is to reference their favorite peer reviewed paper, rather than it being the rats deserting SS, Sinking Ship that is, it has been those whose imaginative or daring contributions are needed in order to keep such a forum floating, considering new ideas or perspectives as it explores uncharted or unknown waters.

Sep 21, 2011 at 6:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohnd

Any site that has...

"Further reading
Tamino compares and analyses the long term trends in sea ice data from the Northern and Southern Hemisphere"

is best ignored!

Sep 21, 2011 at 7:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

@johnd

"I'm willing to accept John Cook's explanation,"

I'm not. It has every appearance of being a whopper.

Sep 21, 2011 at 7:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Cruickshank

So lets see, either John intended on rewriting the incorrect article into a version that was correct and making a fool out of commenters pointing out his errors OR he made a mistake and did not realize that the comments that had been there for quite some time was to the original article that John knew was wrong and had since rewrote to be correct and he also did not pay attention to the much older dates on the comments and so assumed incorrectly that they were not correcting the previous incorrect article but were instead talking about the newly corrected and rewritten article and so John belittled the commenters based on that false assumption.

Either way that is no way to run a blog or website... yet Dana1981 comes up and demands people not to tell John how to run his website? Wow, yeah cause he is doing SUCH a good job of it that the only choices are that John is dishonest or inept. No need to offer suggestions in that case.

Sep 21, 2011 at 7:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterStilgar

Neal J. King

There's actually no reason for John to have doctored the record to make interlocutors look stupid. It doesn't convince them of anything. What would be the angle?

That seems plausible if the SkS site was a debating chamber between knowledgable antagonists. Stop flattering yourself. Its a propaganda site, that's its "angle". You don't have "interlocuters" - you mean victims ;)

Sep 21, 2011 at 7:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

In case any of you haven't visited SkS (BTW it's the site of preference for Simon Singh) have a look at Dr. Peilke's treatment when trying to have a meaningful dialogue with the schoolboy moderators they employ over there. Then you can make a judgement as to whether John Cook's explanation holds water or not.

http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/my-interactions-with-skeptical-science-a-failed-attempt-so-far-for-constructive-dialog/

Sep 21, 2011 at 7:34 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

And in case anybody wonders if dana1981 is really as unpleasant as he sounds...wonder no more...

Sep 21, 2011 at 7:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

John Cook says:

It was an honest mistake but I'm a little annoyed with myself for making it because the focus on the timing of comments and responses distracts attention from the science discussed: Antarctic land ice is shrinking at an accelerating rate but Antarctic sea ice is increasing despite the fact that the Southern Ocean is warming faster than the rest of the world's oceans.


Oh I love the narcissistic self regard oozing from that! The recognised default position of many of the climate posers is that when ever found in error is to point to some greater good you are distracting them from. Note Cook is really only annoyed here because the alarmist message, cough sorry, science, about Antartica has been distracted away from. You see people if you point out trifling little meta-errors on his site like this this dilutes "the message", you can't have that, time is ticking! ;)

If I'd bothered to check the dates, I wouldn't have gotten so exasperated with the comments.

But exasperation is always the first port of call with the little people, eh, John? ;)

SkS is a pure propaganda site, I am stand perpetually shocked it has any standing at all as a science site.

Sep 21, 2011 at 7:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Cook and Neal are getting quite a pasting here. Normally I'm rather sympathetic in these circumstances, but this time I get the impression that they deserve it, and a whole lot more. Very grubby stuff indeed.
And boy, isn't that Dana a real piece of work!

Sep 21, 2011 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

So do people here dispute the proposal that the Antarctic is losing land based Ice and gaining sea ice? or is this just one big poinhtless bitch fest to distract from the Arctic disappearing?

Sep 21, 2011 at 8:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamesc

The Arctic is disappearing? Yikes!

Arrest Criss Angel!

Sep 21, 2011 at 8:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

@jamesc
The Arctic has "disappeared" before. The Northwest Passage has been navigated several times before. Do a bit of homework.

Sep 21, 2011 at 8:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

@ jamesc

No - if it were a bitchfest my response to you might look something like this

So do people here dispute the proposal that the Antarctic is losing land based Ice and gaining sea ice? or is this just one big poinhtless bitch fest to distract from the Arctic disappearing?
Response:

[Hu Bris] jamesc, this thread is about Cook's post-rewite revision of official pre-rewite SS-responses to pre-rewite criticisms of an SS-article, which had the effect of making such reasonable and quite correct criticism look as though they were made in response to the rewritten article and NOT the original article, subsequently the very valid criticisms appear unresasonable and incorrect, as if they came from bumbling fools.

Now please begin to address those. Sir.

Off-topic struck out.

Sep 21, 2011 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterHu Bris

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