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Who are you calling a charlatan?

Here's the quote:

I define a charlatan as someone who won't show you his records. This looks to me like a good [example]:

George Monbiot tweets for openness

George is sort of right. In fact he's talking about Piers Corbyn, the independent weather forecaster rather than Joelle Gergis. Now it seems to me that since Mr Corbyn is a private citizen, whose livelihood depends upon the forecasting methodology he has developed, he has a perfect right to keep it secret. Is Monbiot really suggesting that all commercial secrets should be forced into the open?

Piers Corbyn may or may not be a charlatan. That's frankly not an issue for George Monbiot or me. If the paying punters think Corbyn has got something, then they can buy the services he sells. They are under no obligation. Monbiot and I can keep our hands in our pockets.

There are much better targets for Monbiot's ire. Publicly funded scientists for example - those who keep their data secret and who refuse to release their code. For Monbiot to call Corbyn - a private citizen - a charlatan while keeping silent on publicly funded scientists seems...opportunistic.

I wonder if George Monbiot would care to call Dr Gergis a charlatan? Lonnie Thompson? I'm sure readers can suggest other taxpayer-funded examples.

George? What do you think?

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Reader Comments (61)

Not banned yet

The weather forecasters all got cold feet and backed away from it.

Jun 4, 2012 at 7:33 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Given the choice of paying for a forecast between Corbyn and Moonbat I know who I would choose :-)

Jun 4, 2012 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

BH - thanks. Seems a shame - a missed opportunity to show their skills and silence critics.... Do you have any links or further info.? I think I recall a testing protocol had been agreed? If so, they were a long way in before they cooled off.

Jun 4, 2012 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Not really as it seems it was just a crude attempt to get access to how Corbyn et al created their forecasts.


Jun 4, 2012 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

As a one off experiment, I paid for May's forecast from PC - as he'd been very bold in his public statements about May, I thought it would be an interesting set of predictions to follow.

As far as I'm aware, I'm bound to keep the report itself confidential, but I've commented on the general format with public domain examples.

Now that May is over, I haven't changed my position much; I can't envisage how a fair test can be arrived at given the ranges and terminology in Piers' report. I don't think this is deliberate ambiguity, but it's a fact.

A couple of other random musings spring to mind:

1) I've seen some posts say that asserting that Piers' prediction has failed is unfair, because a calendar month is an arbitrary human construct. I understand the point, but that arbitrary month was the "unit of prediction" that Piers himself chose to use and make some bold predictions for

2) If some sort of test or evaluation can be agreed, he doesn't have to outperform Met Office skill / predictions. If he comes close to it, that's valuable information about the value for money of the respective approaches.

Jun 5, 2012 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered Commentermrsean2k

George has produced hios own definition for a common word.

The online dictionery definition of this common word is

"char·la·tan (shär l -t n). n. A person who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge; a quack or fraud.

Therefore Moonbat's description of Corbyn would appear to fall on the grounds that his predictions, rather than being fraudulent, fit reality rather better than the Met Office ones.

Perhaps, considering how often Moonbat has predicted catastrophic warming among other catastrophes, making elaborate and fal;se claims about "the science", though he has not studied science, making his claims in a voluble manner, he should look for a quack closer to home.

George's redefinition of a word he wishes to use against opponents is a common practice among the politically parasitic classes - they have redefined liberal to mean illiberal; sociaist to mean Luddite; "environmentalist" to mean Luddite; progressive to mean opponesnt of progress; poverty to mean inequality; freedom to mean censorship etc etc.

Jun 6, 2012 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

Having had the misfortune of dealing with the Moonbat before my retirement, I can say that he does suffer with some serious internal wireing problems between brain and mouth.

Jun 6, 2012 at 11:52 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Don Keiller

"Given the choice of paying for a forecast between Corbyn and Moonbat I know who I would choose :-)"

That's not exactly a choice. Monbiot's forecasts already come for free. You have to pay Corbyn to get his forecasts. It's not like you can get your money back if Corbyn's forecasts prove wrong.

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Piers Corbyn has given an explanation of why his forecast went awry towards the end of May.

Jun 7, 2012 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

It's a shame that Piers boxed himself in with the 'May' claim, rather than qualifying it with 'most of' or similar. Still an impressive forecast, and one has to remember that the MO no longer 'does' long range forecasting, because it is so useless at it.

Jun 7, 2012 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Corbyn has tried to cover up one of his latest forecasts

This was published on on the 16th (predicting worse extreme flooding than earlier in the week), but promptly removed when obviously corbyn realised he was going to be completely wrong.. exactly the sort of cover up he claims to be so against..

Jun 18, 2012 at 2:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterne1

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