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Behind the scenes at Skeptical Science

Apparently someone has obtained a behind-the-scenes look at Skeptical Science. There was apparently a security hole in their internal forum.

Details here.

(H/T Shub)

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Reader Comments (326)

Alas. Like Gleick, I've become commatose.

Mar 25, 2012 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Heh, I get commentose.

Mar 25, 2012 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

First if the file can be downloaded by a simple URL, this is not a hack, this is not a theft, this file is available on the open internet for anyone to open. People forget HTML is not the internet, HTML came after as a way of placing order. Webservers and the internet are PUBLIC, it is up to the owners to restrict the access.

Secondly giving your details to any website is no guarantee of privacy. It is just a website and forum, like any other.

What SkS members should be doing is rather than come on here with their moral outrage, they should be screwing John Cooks b*lls for letting their info out with a simple URL. In a big company the webmaster would be disciplined.

Mar 25, 2012 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

I like this one, from the discussion of how to deal with their Antarctic Ice problem:

Wasn't Bishop Hill the site which promotes the Nibiru/Mayan end of the world -scare and believes on the Annunaki modifying the whites to be the leaders of a slave race so it's natural to be a racist? Well maybe I'm wrong.

Mar 25, 2012 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Tried 7zip. Still no luck. Can't open the zip file.

That's pity. Though I don't care an iota who the F they are, I'd be very interested in finding out what they say to each other in their most private, disarmed and, presumably, harmless state of mind. Manufacture of consensus is what I'm interested in finding out.

For the moment, I'm just enjoying what others have managed to glean from the SkS community's honest communications.

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Wasn't Bishop Hill the site which promotes the Nibiru/Mayan end of the world -scare and believes on the Annunaki modifying the whites to be the leaders of a slave race so it's natural to be a racist? Well maybe I'm wrong.>

Yes, you are.

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Re: sHx

If you have downloaded the file from then it is junk. A commentator called outsider has posted a working link at Shub's blog

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

For all of you conspiracy theorists:

1) An SkS file that should have been password protected was left open by the server, not SkS - a fault that has now been corrected;

2) The information in the downloadable zip file could not have been obtained from the accidentally public file;

3) The information in the downloadable zip file could also not have been obtained by a forum member, or indeed, by any body at SkS except John Cook;

4) The information was not released by John Cook, so it was hacked. Pure and simple;

5) Anybody who has downloaded the file, a search in the users file will show that all major denier users of SkS have had their personal details deleted. You will also notice that all comments at the forum have had personal details added which where not there in the original files. These two alterations show that this has been done with malice, and that the lunatic ideas that it was simply an SkS publicity stunt are literally that, lunatic.

Above (10:14 am) sHx uses a quote from Andy S to suggest that:

"It is a pity that they only speak honestly to each other and not to the public. That's what Climategate exposed too; scientists saying one thing to each other and something else to the public."

What he entirely fails to do is show where Andy S has expressed a contrary opinion in public. He as not, to my knowledge done so, because he is as honest in public as he is in private - as are all of the SkS authors in my experience. What he also fails to show is whether or not other SkS forum members agree with him. I am certain that some do not. So, in taking this comment as a general SkS sentiment rather than the opinion of just one person, sHx has misrepresented it.

Which explains why some SkS authors are more guarded in public than in private. They know that loose expressions will be seized on and quoted out of context by their opponents. As has happened repeatedly with the UEA emails, and as has already started happening with the SkS data hack.

Until deniers commit to debating honestly, they cannot reasonably expect their opponents to treat them as honest debaters. But of course, when have reasonableness and denialism ever had anything in common.

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

A skeptic would want all available information about a subject in order to come to their view. So no doubt Skeptical Science are delighted that this information is now in th public domain?:-)

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

@Tom, you continued use of the "denier" term makes your post irrelevant.

And what is it with SkS supporters coming on here with their moral outrage?

Really strange... wierd in fact.

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Right click -> 7 Zip -> extract works for me. File is 19,483,279 bytes.

There isn't really much to report because they do so little science discussion, it's mostly just "denier this denier that".

This one I just found does talk about some of McIntyre's writings and we find agreement with McIntyre which would never be publicly admitted:

"The Tiljander debate showed that Mc was right on that issue. Kaufmann had to fix his series because he also [in addition to Mann] used it upside down. Didn't make too much of a difference but Mann's response of "Bizarre" was pretty lazy if you ask me. The original Tiljander series people even said Mann and Kaufmann used it wrong. That being said Mc is a conspiracy wackjob..."

2011-03-25-Lunacy continues at WUWT and Climate Audit

in General Chat. It's worth reading.

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Tom Curtis

We are indeed privileged to get more information than is available on the SkS.

BTW I'm not a regular reader on SkS, who are you? If you are an SkS editor you might want to get your update published on SkS too, it still is calling it a "potential hack" ;)

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Tom Curtis
As the person who provided sHx with the Andy S quote, I’d like to point out that many of us deniers are committed to honest debate.
On the thread devoted to BishopHill’s criticism of the SkC Antarctica updates, I note that many of Cook’s colleagues do exactly what you have just done (and what many here do with respect to Skeptical Science) i.e. pick out the most extreme comments and treat them as a reason for not engaging in debate.
Your last paragraph suggests that “your side” is willing to debate if “our side” is. Can we use that as a starting point? Or do you want to continue the futile debate about hacking/leaking/finding?

Mar 25, 2012 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Re: Tom Curtis

1. SKS are responsible for the permissions on their site.

2. The SKS file contains (a) forum posts, (b) A file called comment.html and (c) The users.csv file
(a) Can be obtained by anybody with access to the forum.
(b) Is a plain html file and might be located anywhere on the SKS website.
(c) is a plain text csv file and, again, it might be located anywhere on the SKS website.

3. Depends entirely upon how everything is set up at SKS

4. If the information was publicly available then calling it hack doesn't make it one. It simply means SKS messed up and made information public that it should not have.

5. I have downloaded the file. It has usernames, firstname, lastname and email address. Of the 6038 entries, only 64 have the first name field present, 79 have the last name, and 46 do not have the email addresses truncated. So either 98.7% of SKS users are "deniers" or the file never contained that information in the first place.

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Re: Tom Curtis

a search in the users file will show that all major denier users of SkS have had their personal details deleted

I noticed that there is a Tom Curtis in the users.csv and that the first and last name fields have been removed, and the email address has been truncated. I guess that makes you a denier and the hackers are protecting your information.

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Leopard in the Basement, I am an occasional author, recent moderator, and frequent participant in internal discussions at SkS. One of the better features of SkS is that it is a cooperative of individuals. As such, I do not speak for SkS, only John Cook (and possibly Dana and Daniel Bailey) can do that. Nor am I an author of any but my own posts. I express opinions about them sometimes, but if the author does not like my opinion, that is their business not mine. So with regard to the update, if John Cook chose those words, then that is his business, not mine.

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

TerryS, all it means is that you have a corrupt version of the file, or that your display of the file has not displayed it properly.

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

TerryS, at 1:03 pm, you are speaking in ignorance and it shows. The facts I stated in the previous my previous post are correct and I see no reason to elaborate. That you cannot accept their truth is your limitation, not my responsibility.

I will comment on point 5, however. It is well known that Roger Pielke Snr is a user of SkS because of the famous (or infamous) debate. However, you will not find any part of his data on the CSV file. It was not deleted by SkS. You do the math. He is not the only example.

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Tom Curtis
By what means do you know of the "hack"? By first hand knowledge from one of the insider triumvirate you list? Don't take this too harshly but I find the level of veracity in statements of reassurance tend to decrease the further away from the original nexus of responsibility, it tends to decrease even further the "lower" the company the assurancesa are offered to. When your assurances appear on the original site upon which you all hold youselves in equal esteem and deliver only pristine information to each other then I might be more persuaded ;)

Until then "was left open by the server" sounded very passive when I first read it and it sounds even more passive now. Did the server (which is a computer) become sentient and decide to let information out or does this mean the ISP is culpable? EIther way I'm not sure JC will appreciate this fire fighting attempt on his behalf ;)

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

I notice Delingpole gets called “a scrawny little runt” and “a clueless fuckwit” on the first reference to him I’ve come across.
He’s going to be ever so cross when he finds out.
Is Tom Curtis interested in debate? I asked. He hasn’t answered yet.

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

geoffchambers, I would love the opportunity of an honest debate with you. You can start by indicating what you agree with, or disagree with in the following article:

Please note that many so-called skeptics have problems with SkS moderation. These come primarily from a complete disregard of the moderation policy (in some) and a failure to understand what it means for a comment to be "on topic" in others. A comment is only on topic if it is directly related to the content of the original article, and if it is related to a minor point in that post, if there is a more directly related article, the primary discussion should be moved to the comments thread of that article, with link backs from the discussion indicating the relevance in the comments of the original post (if appropriate). This can restrict free flowing debate which will often be forced to thread hop, but that is not its intention. Finally, if you think a discussion is going nowhere, simply say so and move on to something else. If you simply endlessly repeat the same points you will be accused of trolling, and may be banned as a result. I am sure this sometimes happens to people who do not intend to troll, but if they endlessly repeat the same points the effect on the thread is the same as if they where trolling. Beyond that, take heed of moderator directions, and seek clarification if you are not sure.

The moderation philosophy at SkS is different to that on most (all?) "skeptical" blogs, for good reasons. None of those reasons involve censorship, but I am aware that through lack of awareness of the difference, and an unwillingness to adapt to the different environment, the effect on many "skeptics" is similar to censorship. Nobody at SkS desires that, and I certainly regret it - hence the word to the wise.

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Re: Tom Curtis.

I would be more inclined to believe that SKS deleted "deniers" registrations than some hacker took the time and effort required to remove them from the list.

What would be the point, for example, in removing Roger Pielke Snr's details from the file? His name is already known and his email address is publicly available. Removing him serves no purpose at all. On the other hand it might serve SKS's purposes to remove his registration and thus prevent him from commenting any further.

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Tom better tell user 'Albatross' that hacking is not on!

2011-09-29-McIntyre's new target.html

Make no mistake, there is some social networking going on here behind the scenes (does that group who hack mega corporations also hack emails of people like McIntyre?). Roy and McIntyre have been in touch by email, Spencer says as much on his blog-- so who knows exactly how much discussion has occurred between them, probably a lot.

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Hey Tom Curtis, why don't your SkS members voice these opinions on the public pages?

I don't mean to be the pessimist of the group here but Mc brought up some very good points about the original hockeystick. The confidence affirmed to it by many on our side of the debate was vastly overstated and as has been shown in the recent literature greater variability on the centennial scale exists than was shown. The statistical methodology used by Mann did rely too much on tree rings which still are in debate over their usefulness to reconstruct temperature and particularly their ability to record low-frequency temperature variations. I've personally seen work that is unpublished that challenges every single one of his reconstructions because they all either understate or overstate low-frequency variations. My personal experience has been that Moberg still has the best reconstruction and his one does show greater variability. That's why I don't like to talk the HS stuff, because I know a lot of people who have doubts about the accuracy of the original HS. Just like we complain about skeptics like Pielke and Christy etc letting their work be miscontrued, Mann et al stood by after their original HS and let others treat it with the confidence that they themselves couldn't assign to it. They had just as much of a responsability to ensure their work was used to promote properly just as Christy et al do. It is a tight rope we must all walk afterall.

(2011-09-29-McIntyre's new target.html)

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

There’s a thread on Mann’s book.
Cook says: “No customer reviews yet so get in there quick if you've already written the review and post yours!” and later: “Also, to all SkSers, I strongly recommend you go and like some of the more prominent reviews there - which makes them more likely to be selected by Amazon as the featured review.”
Still later he complains: “I did email out over a dozen copies of the book to SkSers who specifically requested it - what happened to all those reviews?”

John Hartz says: “I just ordered the book a couple of days ago from Amazon at pre-release price. I suppose i should at least skim it before i write a review.”
Steve Brown: “Thats a heck of a lot of people who have managed to read the Kindle edition in about 3 hours since it went on sale ;-)”

But Dana is worried: “The deniers have gotten wind of the book - there are now 8 one star and 1 two star reviews, and they're thumbing down the good reviews and thumbing up the bad reviews.” and adds 40 minutes later: “Yeah, the deniers are great at organizing and swarming like locusts when they want to have an impact.  They kick our butts in terms of organization.  Prove me wrong guys! :-)”
and John Cook adds: All the positive reviews are getting rated down vigorously by big numbers. We're getting seriously swamped.”

There’s a lot more of this, before comment turns to WUWT, with someone making an admiring comment about Anthony, to which Rob Painting replies: “Yes, but the rats will abandon the Watts ship as it slowly sinks beneath a warming sea. Shame we'll never know who many of those people were, so that they can be dealt with appropriately in the future”.
Tom Curtis takes part in the discussion, but not in the abuse.

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

geoffchambers contained quotation:

"" ... Shame we'll never know who many of those people were, so that they can be dealt with appropriately in the future”. "

Is this really how some of these guys think? "... dealt with properly in the future." There's something very sick about this.

I guess it's time I learned how to do blockquotes.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

maybe I don't need blockquotes if I can't even get the words right; appropriately > properly ... aaaakkkk.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

David @1:56 pm, you neglected to quote my opinion on the subject:

"1) I agree you (and Michael Mann) that there are problems with the statistical procedures in MBH98, but I also agree with Michael Mann that:

a) Their effect was significantly overstated by McIntyre; and

b) The statistical procedures recommended and implimented by McIntyre are far more dubious than those used by Mann. In particular, truncating the analysis to the first two principal components clearly leaves out relevant data, and McIntyre's reconstruction prepared in critique of Mann is simply absurd as a result.

(b) is a very relevant point. Mann was not just being criticized for using a particular technique. His primary result was being challenged by a clearly flawed method. Early in the controversy he was not being placed in a position where he could stop using his technique and use a better one, but being challenged for not using a worse technique.

Further, MBH98 was opening up a new field of research. Anytime that happens mistakes are made. Scientists recognise those mistakes, improve their techniques and move on. Idealogues stick with the flawed techniques, or continue attacking them long after they have been abandoned.

2) JeffID's criticism of is in fact irrelevant. It assumes that it is a reasonable supposition that most of the proxies vary randomly with respect to temperature. Using CPS on a set of proxies containing a genuine consistent signal will reproduce that signal. IF some of the proxies are arbitrary with respect to the signal, that will cause the resultant reconstruction from composition to be too flat, but scaling will largely eliminate the problem. As the proxies are chosen for a known, physically based covariance with temperature, the basic suposition of jeffID's critique is therefore void. That is in fact shown by the fact that Mann et al 2008 did not produce a flat reconstruction.

3) I am inclined to agree with you on Moberg. In my case this is because their reconstruction has a surprising similarity to the concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere as revealed by Antarctic core samples. I believe that with caution (due to land use changes) the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 is a good proxy for global SST."


"Robert Wray:

MBH98 was not an example of someone using a technique with flaws and then as he learned better techniques he moved on... He fought like a dog to discredit and argue with those on the other side that his method was not flawed. And in the end he never admitted that the entire method was a mistake.

I am very far from convinced that "the entire method was a mistake". To quote (you quoting) Tamino, "...the method is flawed, but the flaw has little or no impact on the final result." The history of science is full of examples of important results discovered by what are later found to be flawed methods. It is also full of examples of scientists showing too much attachment to personal ideas or techniques. That Mann should have been hard to convince when his most open critic was misrepresenting data, presenting as superior a clearly inferior method (PCA with 2 PCs), and fairly openly insinuating fraud just shows him to be human and has no bearing on the overall issue.

As far as I am concerned, there are only three important questions about the Hockey Stick controversy:

1) Did MBH have good reason to think the method was flawed before the post publication critique?

2) Did the flaw significantly effect the result?

3) Do climatologists still use the technique now that it is known to be flawed?

So far as I can tell, the answer to all three questions is no."

Opinions, I note which where much more widely accepted in that discussion than Robert's.

As to why Robert does not express that opinion in public (if that is indeed the case), probably because he knows deniers will simply seize on the comment as by itself justifying accepting McIntyre's criticisms of Mann rather than resolving the issue back to the actual facts of the case (as you appear to be doing). That Robert agrees or disagrees with Mann, or that I agree or disagree with Mann has no bearing on the issue at all, but because deniers are first and foremost engaged in a PR excercise, such comments are seized upon as though they are significant in themselves. What is significant is the actual data supporting either case, which is what the discussion on SkS revolved around.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

If you leave your ignition keys in your car the insurance will not pay out, still theft but its your own fault.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:29 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

On a thread headed: “Nigel Lawson's GWPF - research help needed”, (2012-01-27) logicman says:

I am in process of formulating an application to the UK Charity Commissioners for the voiding of the charitable status of the GWPF.
This application will be in my own name and will not be supported in any way by any 3rd party, not even a lawyer.
I am not a lawyer, but I have studied the historic and logical foundations of the British law in some depth and have been permitted to address the court in the Royal Courts of Justice on a number of occasions.
 (There’s a lot more)

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

j fergusson, Lubos Motl has publicly stated on his blog that people like me should be executed. He is apparently quite serious, but there was no apparent outcry about this from deniers. Monckton has publicly stated that he and the mob he was addressing were going to lock up the climate scientists, again with no apparent outrage. But now you are outraged (or concerned) that some people blowing of steam (I think, I need the reference to check context) want to "[deal] with [deniers] properly in the future", which may well mean no more than name and shame.

For the record, some "warmistas" do indeed think there should be criminal repercussions for any major denier who can be shown to have knowningly and falsely misrepresented the science. Most others, including myself disagree. And this topic has been discussed in public forums.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Tom Curtis:

" As the proxies are chosen for a known, physically based covariance with temperature, the basic suposition of jeffID's critique is therefore void. "

Doesn't this statement speak to the heart of this part of the misunderstanding? Maybe when you get a few hours, you might read Andrew's excellent book on this and other aspects of some of Mann's published work.

Must we really be "deniers?"

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Re; Breath of Fresh Air

It is more like this, where a police officer accidentally revealed a secret document when he carried it out of number ten with all the text exposed to photographers.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

David @1:44 pm, the full quote is:

"Make no mistake, there is some social networking going on here behind the scenes (does that group who hack mega corporations also hack emails of people like McIntyre?). Roy and McIntyre have been in touch by email, Spencer says as much on his blog-- so who knows exactly how much discussion has occurred between them, probably a lot.

Recall that Dessler recently dessimated Lindzen in a debate, overturned a skeptic paper that claimed tropospheric water vapour is decreasing (it isn't) and now he has had the temerity to use observations to show that the cloud feedback is likely positive. The last one is key, that is their last stand, that and this mythical internal forcing mechanism that changes cloud cover. So yes, they are pissed.

They went after Trenberth a while ago, but they soon lost interest on that one, not enough stats involved probably. But Dessler's new work does involve stats.

Now as we all know stats can be manipulated. What I find ridiculous is that McIntyre et al. are not real auditors, that is just a sham, a PR stunt. More importnantly though and more ridiculous is that they insinuate (dog whistle, feeding fodder to skeptics) or make accusations of mendacious behaviour by those they audit. But recall that McIntyre has a history of shall we say playing loose with the facts-- for example, seeking out those chronologies (cherry-picking) that showed a HS and then claiming that Mann's method prodiced a HS from red noise-- i..e., it was designed to produce a HS.

As for the claims being disorganized, no surprise there, they are doing it on the fly and throwing as much mud in the hopes that something, anything sticks. But the more disorganizd and confused they are all the better for the good guys.

But going by Roy's cocky letter of encouragment to Dessler, they may have found something-- not Spencer, but some sharp people with a propensity to twist stats to character assasinate people like Dessler and Mann.


Clearly the comment about hackers is a throw away line and does not express any intention to engage hackers, or to engage in hacking. Albatross thinks that Spencer and McIntyre are not engaged in genuine science but in a type of PR exercise, hence his frustration.

I note the fact that you are currently trolling through material released by hacking searching for juicy bits means that by your ethical standards as currently practiced, if Albatross did in fact hack Spencer and McIntyre and WUWT and released all the private correspondence, you could not without hypocrisy condemn him. If there is something immoral about hacking private correspondence (and there is), then you should not be reading the correspondence thus hacked. If there is nothing wrong with reading the material, the outrage about throw way comments about hacking is manufactured rather than real.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

geoffchambers, the fact that you are trolling through material you know to be hacked shows, IMO, that you are not after all interested in an honest debate. I withdraw my invitation to you.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

To the various posters who are desperately clutching at any straw to say the material is hacked, your analogies are all false. The material is hacked without question. I am not in a position to say more than I have because it is not my website. The fact remains, however, that I am in a position to know, and I know that your various canards are exactly that and have no bearing on what actually happened.

Plainly you are not going to believe me because that would be inconvenient. I must say that it must be terribly convenient to have beliefs so easily determined by your wants.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

logicman posts at SkS in order to solicit for rebuttals of statements at GWPF in the form of quotes from government officials, because:

In UK law, a statement of fact issuing from the official government sources of any nation whatsoever cannot be challenged by any tribunal.
Accordingly, for purposes of legal action, any statement of fact from any national official source which rebuts a statement of 'fact' made on the GWPF site is the strongest possible rebuttal and carries more weight in the courts than any scientific paper.
If any of you can find time to read some of the junk posted at the GWPF and can provide a link to statements of fact by any government or government official of any nation whatsoever, that would help me in the accumulation of evidence in support of my case.

Is Mark Lynas still an official spokesman for the Maldives? If logicman is right, it sounds as if Lynas could be a big help to Huhne on his speeding charge.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Re: Tom Curtis

From one of your comments in forum/General Chat/2012-02-15-Denialgate? Heartland Institute Exposed: .htm

I think it is acceptable ethically to discuss the contents of the stolen documents as they are no in the public domain.

What has changed that now makes it unacceptable ethically to discuss the contents of documents that are now in the public domain?

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Tom Curtis
Why are you coming on a "denier" site to try and claim

"The material is hacked without question. I am not in a position to say more than I have because it is not my website."

I fully agree that ones beliefs shouldn't be determined by ones wants but they can't be determined by your "hints" either ;)

When you have more to say on the "hack" on SkS then please let us know, until then what you are doing looks like a lot of feeble CYA.

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Tom Curtis:

geoffchambers, the fact that you are trolling through material you know to be hacked shows, IMO, that you are not after all interested in an honest debate. I withdraw my invitation to you.
But you haven’t invited me to debate yet, so how can you withdraw your invitation? Or is this more SkS time travel?

Mar 25, 2012 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Too bad, just another troll. I had such hopes.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Tom you didn't need to quote so much. My question which you finally got to was about that particular discussion occurring in private but not in public on SkS, and with that as a backdrop you have the temerity to accuse skeptics of being PR focused.

Also within that private discussion your own members talk about how unproductive it is to not address such flaws publicly, or worse defend them, because they will and have come back to bite you.

THAT discussion should be had in public just as the skeptics have all their discussions in public. CA and WUWT and Bishop do not have (to my knowledge) secret rooms where the REAL opinions are voiced. That fact that SkS has such a place is testament to how PR they are focussed. Reading through those documents it becomes patently obvious that SkS is all about PR.

Have a look at WUWT for some contrast where you will find -- and this is spoken about in SkS's Sealed Section (lol!) -- skeptics having some very 'robust' arguments amongst each other (usually involving Willis).

BTW my hacking quote was throwaway too, though certainly on topic so couldn't resist.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

They just don't know nuthin' but censored, directed, debate. It was a giveaway from the gitgo.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Terry S, isn't it such fun to quote people out of context - and entirely dishonest. The full quote reads:

"I am now reasonably confident the documents were stolen, not leaked.

I am equally confident that the "strategy" document is a fake.

This is all, of course, on balance of current evidence, as described here.

I think these facts have significant ethical ramifications, and potentially legal ramifications for our coverage of this issue. In particular, I do not think we should link to the stolen documents, or to any page which links to the stolen documents. Legally, doing so may open SkS to criminal or civil liability, although I do not know enough of US law to say one way or another. Therefore I think we should take down the links we have already posted, and possibly the entire post. Obviously I think we should not post any new links to the stolen documents.

I think it is acceptable ethically to discuss the contents of the stolen documents as they are [now] in the public domain. When doing so, however, we should not cite the documents directly, and should preferably cite acknowledgements by deniers of funding rather than the documents themselves. However, it may not be possible to take this approach when we restrict ourselves from linking to pages which link to the stolen documents. If in doubt, we should leave it be.

I do not think we are missing much of an opportunity in taking this approach. In particular, that the HI funds cliimate change denial is not news. That individual deniers have their feet in the trough is long suspected, and only damaging to those scientists if they hypocritically argue that IPCC scientists only hold their positions for financial gain. The only really damaging leak (outside of claims in the faked "strategy document") is the evidence that the HI acts as a lobby group rather than as a think tank, which will (I presume) be independently investigated . (It is also not, IMO, cut and dry.) "

So, my full opinion, when not shorn of all context is that:

1) You should not link to stolen documents;

2) You should not link to pages that link to the stolen documents;

3) We should not cite the stolen documents directly, but only public discussions of the contents of the documents, and then only from pages that do not link to the documents; and

4) If in doubt as to whether we can discuss some part of the document under these rules, we should not discuss it.

Clearly other members of the SkS team disagreed with me, but as previously noted, we are a cooperative of individuals. They are responsible for their actions, and I am responsible for mine. I certainly hope they can appreciate, and learn from the irony of their position.

Never-the-less, I can with all consistency advise you that the ethical thing to do is to follow the four rules above with relation to the illegally hacked SkS files.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Re: Tom Curtis

The material is hacked without question. I am not in a position to say more than I have because it is not my website.

Spot the difference:

1. UEA claims it was hacked. No evidence is produced to back this up. No details of what was exploited or compromised are provided. No details of how it was done. It is simply a statement by UEA saying they have been hacked. When I contact the UEA and ask for details I am reported to the police and I am interviewed by them, via telephone, on Dec 9th 2009. UEA expects you to simply believe what they say without providing evidence.

2. Heartland Institute claims it was hacked. Provides details of how it was hacked via social engineering. Provides all correspondence regarding the social engineering hack. Does not expect anybody to take it on trust.

3. SKS claims it was hacked. No evidence is produced to back this up. No details of what was exploited or compromised are provided. No details of how it was done. It is simply a statement by SKS saying they have been hacked. SKS expects you to simply believe what they say without providing evidence.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

David, I will believe that "skeptics" are not primarily about the PR when they commence a wide spread demolition of Monckton's lies and mendacities. The man is an obvious joke when it comes to the science, and a conspiracy theorist to boot, yet he is embraced with open arms by all major "skeptics". That shows that for those "skeptics", it is clearly not about the science, and clearly not about being truthful.

There are genuine scientific areas of debate between those who consider anthropogenic global warming a major threat and those who consider it a minor issue. These resolve entirely about the issues of climate sensitivity and impacts. When the climate "skeptics" eschew all the other patently absurd arguments, misrepresentations and outright lies and focus the discussion on those two points, then there is a possibility of an honest debate. Until then, the debate continues to remind me of the debates I used to have with geocentrists and 911 troothers.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Tom Curtis,
Do you ever look in at Lucia's place? And particularly now?

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

TerryS, it is not my decision to release more information, and what is more, releasing more information may (for all I know) compromise police investigations and/or attempts to fix the site so that is secure once more.

Never-the-less, I am in a position to know that it was a hack. As can be seen from the various quotes of my "secret" comments above, I am a person of impeccable honesty. I would no more lie to you about this situation than I would lie to myself and my fellow SkSers about my assessment of the legal status of the HI documents, nor of the correct moral response. If you don't want to take my word for it, fine but don't pretend it is because you have any ethical justification for doing so.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

@geoffchambers I am happy to conduct a private dialoge on climate science. My email address is (please use that one rather than the one that was revealed in the hack). I'm not particularly interested in talking politics, economics and rhetoric debates though, which is why I normally post at SkS. At the end of the day, the important thing is getting the science right, so that any action is conducted on the basis of our best understanding of the science.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDikran Marsupial

GeoffChambers @2:54 pm, I had directed you to a post of mine at SkS as a beginning to a debate in a post which was then swallowed by the requirement for moderator approval. I had not realized it had not yet received that approval. I apologize for my error. You are of course still welcome to comment at that site, but I am no longer interested in debating you in particular given your trolling through the hacked SkS files.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

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