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« Green fizzics - Josh 174 | Main | A letter to the Economist »
Friday
Jul062012

Testing scientific gullibility

Many readers will be aware of Alan Sokal's famous hoaxing of the postmodernist journal Social Text (as well as the revenge of the humanities scholars some time afterwards).

Now, in an amusingexperiment, scholars at Imperial College have taken the hoaxing one step further:

What would happen if we took Sokal’s broad premise and turned it around onto scientists? Could we make scientists believe a hoax TV news story because it (a) employed familiar TV conventions and (b) it presented a flattering narrative of a lone scientist battling corrupt authority?

We set about constructing a four-minute TV news item about a visiting Japanese scientist called Shigeyuki Kagoshima, whose important climate-saving research had been thwarted by a cynical Chinese corporation. We studied science news clips on television to mimic common devices such as lab presentations and interview conventions. We presented our film to science undergraduates at Imperial College as a genuine news piece – and tested whether our audience could detect the content as fake. Finally, we revealed our hoax – and asked them for their reactions.

Find out what happened here.

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Reader Comments (119)

There appears to be a switch marked 'CLIMATE' that causes people's brains to switch off.

Jul 6, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Very interesting.

'We were left with a renewed respect for the Royal Society’s famous motto, ‘Nullius in Verba’ – ‘take nobody’s word for it’.

A motto the Royal Society itself has now abandoned. I believe their new one is to be 'Take our word for it'.

Jul 6, 2012 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

So much for Imperial...

...but in defence of the students after being brought up on BBC 'science' items, the spoof probably seemed rather restrained and reasonable.

Jul 6, 2012 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

[snip o/t]

Jul 6, 2012 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

A truly fascinating topic and I would certainly contend that climate science is not 'an entirely objective discipline' but one that is very much 'subject to the same cognitive biases as every other human enterprise'.

Indeed we've had this very ably demonstrated on this forum by Richard Betts himself.

On the Maddox post I asked him if he regretted signing the Julia Slingo petition that claimed

"...the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive. They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity. That research has been subject to peer review and publication, providing traceability of the evidence and support for the scientific method..."

His response was that he did not and that we should accept his subjective opinion -

"All I can offer in response is my personal experience. Having worked in climate science for nearly 20 years, I have worked with a very large number of other climate scientists both in the UK and abroad, have published about 70 peer-reviewed papers and reviewed many others myself, and from what I have seen in all this I remain confident of the professional integrity of myself and my colleagues, and of the peer-review and traceability of the science."

I pointed out that I preferred Myles Allen's input who had commented -

" “Trust me, I’m a climate scientist” is not a phrase I have ever used, and I hope I never will. ...
The only basis of trust in science is the reproducibility of results. This is why availability of data and model source code is so important"

yet this continues to be a major problem in climate science as exemplified by a recent post from Steve McIntyre -

http://climateaudit.org/2012/07/01/lonnie-and-ellen-serial-non-archivers/

(a comment by bob edgar Jul 6, 2012 at 4:21 AM is particularly revealing!)

Richard Betts had also commended to us David Karoly as someone who "will help ensure that a good job is done" but was unresponsive when I was able to demonstrate that Karoly had grossly misrepresented a colleague's work.

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/6/25/maddox-prize.html?currentPage=2#comments

I hope he is able to respond in due course, I'm sure his comments would be very revealing!

Jul 6, 2012 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

As ZT says, there is not much in the video that makes it look like a hoax is there? Well, maybe the goggles and purple gloves to test a solar cell.

Whereas the Sokal article was a bit more obvious ('However, in the past decade, under the impetus of the feminist critique, some mathematicians have given renewed attention to the theory of manifolds with boundary'').

Perhaps the most worrying point is that the science students (at least 1/3 female from the pic) mostly thought, after being told it was a hoax, that the female physics prof was in fact a museum curator and that the male journalist was in fact a genuine physics prof.

Jul 6, 2012 at 2:43 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Interesting..... it's not a strictly "scientific" experiment in terms of double-blind etc. but since every participant believed the hoax it's still suggestive.... of something. Gullibility, cognitive biases, lack of critical distance, complacent cultural memes and assumptions etc.??

It does illustrate the power of the media to "frame" issues and stories. Unless one has sufficient outside info and relevant experience, thinking, knowledge to counter the b.s. it is easy for journalists and "science communicators" to create an echo chamber. Of course, this observation cuts all ways since that's what the climatologists say that climate skeptics are trying to do when telling a story ... but they have the most powerful institutions, funds, BBC and most of the world's media, etc. It all gets back to always needing the best available data and info to make the most rational judgments feasible at the time.

These were undergraduates in a "science communications" class, not practicing scientists, but we have seen many instances of "real" scientists rushing to believe or even exaggerate (climatology) a study result which suited their "ideological preconceptions."

Jul 6, 2012 at 2:54 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

To be fair, you can't classify the IPCC 'consensus' as a hoax because it is mostly self-consistent with the assumptions. The meteorologists are taught that 'downwelling LW radiation' is real and this ties in with the 'two-stream' approximation used by Houghton and even engineers like me when we do radiation sums.

The problems arise at the atmosphere boundaries. A consistent revised model is emerging.

Jul 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

I'm not sure what the experiment was supposed to prove. Yes, people accept media reports at face value because reporters livelihoods depend on accuracy and they will be shamed and scorned for making up stories as was done in this case. The professional production values of the piece re-inforce that aspect making it seem thoroughly professional. The fact that it also mimics the style of the of the commonly produced AGW/Green narrative extant in the MSM today gives it even more authenticity.

That young people raised on television news could be hoaxed shouldn't surprise anyone. Or maybe I'm missing something?

Jul 6, 2012 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

I have to admit I'd have probably fallen for it. A neat idea for their MSc project. Well acted, the Imperial College footage was genuine enough. Archive clips of washing day down at the Ganges or wherever was a bit corny, and the 'Energy Futures Laboratory' looks unconvincing, but only in hindsight.

Jul 6, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

The whole thing was presented in a plausible way and as others have pointed out there was very little in the clip to suggest it was a hoax. The 'solar cell' did look like a mirco-chip but who knows what a revolutionary solar cell looks like? By contrast the Sokal article was full of clues wating to be discovered.

The message behind this is how easy it is for a trusted source to deceive people and how important it is for journalists to maintain a high level of ethics.

Jul 6, 2012 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon

Re: theduke

... because reporters livelihoods depend on accuracy and they will be shamed and scorned for making up stories ...

You forgot the /sarc tags

Jul 6, 2012 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

If you enjoyed the Alan Sokal story and are sufficiently worldly-wise not to have taken the Imperial College hoax too seriously (it IS great fun), see:

http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/

where post-modern essays are written for you at the touch of a button. Now that's what IT should be all about . . .

Jul 6, 2012 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

Every 40 years, the World's population goes mad and invents a horror story, nowadays based on science, which claims to be prescient about the future. In the 1970s we had the onset of the new ice age. We now have the opposite, the Sky Dragon. And in between we have various other scares which don;'t make it as the Zeitgeist. Here's the recent time line:

Club of Rome's end of natural resources, 1st Oil Shock, New Ice Age, [that one worked], 2nd Oil Shock, Ozone Hole, SARs, Bird Flu, Global warming, [that one worked too], Climate Change, Global Climate Disruption...

And did you know that the same groups are apparently behind them all - yup, the Club of Rome. For fun look at the Optimum Population Trust.

Jul 6, 2012 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

spartacus
If you read Booker & North's Scared to Death you will be able to add salmonella in eggs, BSE, listeria, dioxins, and ritual child abuse to that list.
And that barely scratches the surface if you want to look at some of the rationale underpinning our good friend Elfin Safety.

Jul 6, 2012 at 4:03 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

DaveB, nice!

A lot of what passes for "climate communications" or even "climate science" is not so removed from PoMo in the humanities as some like to think. A lot of opinions and ravings dressed up with evasions of real analysis....

One can also generate quick and fun PoMo sentences like this (at link):

The reification of the natural recapitulates the fantasy of the gendered body.

Jul 6, 2012 at 4:07 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

If I watched that clip without knowing it was a hoax first, I would have just got angry at the ignorance of the journalists. Leaving aside the obviously fake 'experiment', the whole notion of "owning the technology" is BS.

Option 1: the "big nasty corporation" keeps the technology a secret, and in a couple of years someone else will make the same discoveries. At this point, "big nasty" has lost any chance of any rights in the technology.

Option 2 the "big nasty" patents the technology, which requires a working description to be published, available for all to read, if not for all to exploit. However, patent law, in particular in the UK, has provisions that state that if a patentee is not exploiting a technology, then a compulsory license, at a reasonable rate, must be granted.

Either way, the technology will become known, and exploited, within a couple of years.

Jul 6, 2012 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered Commentersimoncm

Pulling the wool over some students eyes is a little less taxing than doing the same to a Journal Editor and reviewers- Even in the Post-Modern age.

Jul 6, 2012 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

I can't remember the name of the famous magician who was also a debunker of fake science, but he once said "physicists are the easiest people to fool".

Jul 6, 2012 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Steiner

The key to the hoax is not the style of the video or the story it lays out but the authority figure telling the class it is real: "We told them we had made a film to expose a scientific controversy, and wanted their input on the ethical issues. " If it had been presented without that introduction the results may have been different.

Jul 6, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

TerryS: lol. You've got a point, and the name of a certain BBC reporter comes to mind. But I was thinking more along the lines of Jason Blair of the NYT.

Jul 6, 2012 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

George,

"I can't remember the name of the famous magician who was also a debunker of fake science, but he once said "physicists are the easiest people to fool"."

That would be James Randi, a highpriest of AGW. He was fooled because he is not a physicist.

Jul 6, 2012 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterNiels

Aren't 'hoax pieces' on climate known as 'documentaries' on some TV channels?

Jul 6, 2012 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

I thought this had been clarified once and for all with the ihydrogen monoxide hoax?

Jul 6, 2012 at 5:37 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

That's water under the bridge......

Jul 6, 2012 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

Niels
That would be James Randi, a highpriest of AGW. He was fooled because he is not a physicist.

James Randi is actually a CAGW skeptic. In December 2009, at the peak of the catastrophic warming controversy, he published this on his website which ended with:

It's easy enough to believe that drought, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes are signs of a coming catastrophe from global warming, but these are normal variations of any climate that we -- and other forms of life -- have survived. Earth has undergone many serious changes in climate, from the Ice Ages to periods of heavily increased plant growth from their high levels of CO2, yet the biosphere has survived. We're adaptable, stubborn, and persistent -- and we have what other life forms don't have: we can manipulate our environment. Show me an Inuit who can survive in his habitat without warm clothing... Humans will continue to infest Earth because we're smart.

In my amateur opinion, more attention to disease control, better hygienic conditions for food production and clean water supplies, as well as controlling the filth that we breathe from fossil fuel use, are problems that should distract us from fretting about baking in Global Warming. From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1891 A Scandal in Bohemia, I quote:

Watson: "This is indeed a mystery," I remarked. "What do you imagine that it means?"

Holmes: I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts...

He copped a lot of flak for that from his fan base and was called a 'denier' even. His response two days later suggests he was startled by the vitriol from the likes of Phil Plait and PZ Myer, the two famous 'skeptic' bloggers and proselytisers of the climate doomsday message. James Randi the magician and the spoon-bender buster was made to confess that "I stand outside the walls of academe, in awe."

Now, what was that thing again about Randi being a high priest of AGW and getting fooled because he was not a physicist?

Jul 6, 2012 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

The one thing that I noticed is the decline in student attainment at Imperial from my days there in the early 60s.

We would have been castigated for not noticing the 'device' was a 4 segment LED display and the supposed demonstration couldn't have worked because it was not set up as a true experiment.

I can but assume that the students of today are not taught critical thinking, or indeed how to think for themselves.

Jul 6, 2012 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Ron's point that a trusted source can easily deceive is I think the 'take home' point here. A room full of science undergraduates, all keen to learn and not yet cynical or world weary will naturally take it on trust. I attended a presentation by various sceptics a few months back along with two undergraduates from IC. On that occasion they were on their guard, recognising that the information presented would be partial. I was rather impressed on the walk home how well they had identified the solid fact in the presentations as well as the 'spun' facts, and a few much weaker propositions in the arguments.

Hopefully those involved will from now on weigh all information in the scales, and make suitable judgements on what is presented. Lost innocence; sad, but inevitable, and they'll face the world better prepared for it.

Jul 6, 2012 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Aren't 'hoax pieces' on climate known as 'documentaries' on some TV channels?

Jul 6, 2012 at 5:27 PM | Billy Liar

Yes, and science reports if they're on the news channels.

Jul 6, 2012 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterCurfew

Jul 6, 2012 at 2:43 PM | Marion

Hi Marion

As someone who likes to check things out for myself (hence why I read the sceptic literature like HSI etc) I did mean to look up Bob Carter's book and check the passage you mentioned, but I've not got round to it yet.

I don't really know much about what Carter says or thinks, except that he contributed to the Heartland Institute's NIPCC report, which I have read and found to be rather lacking in substance and sometimes drawing rather odd, unsupported conclusions. One example I remember is that NIPCC made a statement along the lines that climate sensitivity was much lower than mainstream science suggests, but it was extremely difficult to find how the authors justified that statement. It seemed to rest entirely on an over-interpretation of a single paper by Lindzen, which when I read it didn't really support the NIPCC statement anyway. Of course that example may be unfair on Carter, as it's not clear which part of NIPCC he actually contributed to, but quite a lot of NIPCC report suffers from similar issues in my opinion.

So, in the spirit of this thread, I really should check out your statement about Karoly and Carter before commenting! :-)

Cheers

Richard

Jul 6, 2012 at 8:20 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Meh. What Don Keiller said.

Further, you can legitimately compare it to the Sokal case when the fake story gets published in the literature. Yes, it's a fun story, but billing it as "scientific gullibility" does not pass the sniff test.

Jul 6, 2012 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterjim

"The one thing that I noticed is the decline in student attainment at Imperial from my days there in the early 60s. We would have been castigated for not noticing the 'device' was a 4 segment LED display and the supposed demonstration couldn't have worked because it was not set up as a true experiment. I can but assume that the students of today are not taught critical thinking, or indeed how to think for themselves." --ivan

I agree. The simple apparatus has no obvious load and the readout is given in millivolts, not watts. Yet the "reporter" nods sagely and says, "Over twice the power." Were these first year science students? Perhaps climate science...

"I thought this had been clarified once and for all with the ihydrogen monoxide hoax?" --omnologos

"That's water under the bridge......" --spartacusisfree

LOL. Nice one, spartacus

Jul 6, 2012 at 8:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

"...(as well as the revenge of the humanities scholars some time afterwards)."
Is this the Bogdanoff Affair? If so, maybe the humanities scholars are still suffering from further delusions of grandeur, believing Wikipedia too much. Lubos Motl thinks so -
http://motls.blogspot.se/2005/06/bogdanoff-papers.html

Jul 6, 2012 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrady

While Richard B is around..,

Hi Richard,

some time ago I contacted the Northern Lighthouse Board regarding weather measurements from the Bell Rock Lighthouse, built on a tidally submerged reef in the North Sea some 12 miles east of Arbroath, NE Scotland. The town has just celebrated the 200th anniversary of its construction.

I was told that the readings were held by the Met Office. Is this correct, and is there any way I can access this data?

It strikes me that a pristine site devoid of UHI and surrounded by ocean might make an interesting station case study.

Cheers

w

Jul 6, 2012 at 9:38 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

What would happen if we took Sokal’s broad premise and turned it around onto scientists?

Mmmm I think these guys flatter themselves. I notice one of the guys goes on to talk in the comments about questioning the premise of Sokal’s hoax, as if he is now a fellow hoaxer of equal skill and standing - but he hasn't done the work to justify giving anyone any further insight here. Sokal went after an established authority in a specific field with some neat work that pretty much single handedly dismantled that whole field by getting published in a journal. These guys are just duping young people starting out in their career wth some pretty simple pavlovian anti-capitalist button pushing . Gee I'm shocked the kids got up in arms about the free energy being kept away by captitalists! /sarc What a rubbish study.

There is definitely scope to pull off a Sokal level hoax in climate - something that may take a teensy bit more effort than a Dom Joly stunt, but potentially rewarding with some real insight. I think someone could get published a dodgy set of correlating time series attached to some overambitious climate claims which fit all the orthodox expectations with the correct language and demeanour, throw in some snooty rhetoric when dismissing sceptics asking for data to fully capture the posture of the ideal author.

The Gergis paper nearly did it ;)

Jul 6, 2012 at 9:42 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Leopard

re Gergis et al (2012)

I think one must consider the possibility that Gergis et al (not to mention Michael Mann, Jim Hansen, Phil Jones, Keith Briffa, Wahl and Amman, Peter Gleick et al, et al) are secretly trolls and hoaxers on behalf of climate "skeptics"..... how could one expect so much misbehavior, carelessness, and malice except from people who were determined to make climate scientologists (sic) look really really bad?

Perhaps what we are seeing is a many-year hoax-experiment of the Sokal variety..... (ok, sarcasm off)

p.s. Where is the climate scientist Hercules who can clean out these Augean Stables from within the field?

Jul 6, 2012 at 9:56 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Two weeks ago everybody was Sokaled, I believe, tentatively, beginning with Nature's editors and reviewers.

Jul 6, 2012 at 10:32 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Oops, I meant to say this.

Jul 6, 2012 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Hi woodentop

The data may be in the National Meteorological Archive

Tel: +44 (0)1392 360987
Fax: +44 (0)1392 885681

Email: metlib@metoffice.gov.uk

The archive is in a building near the main Met Office building in Exeter and is open to the public between 1000 and 1700 - use the contact details above to arrange a visit and to ask if they have the data you need.

Incidentally, readers may be interested to know that the archive is part of the National Meteorological Library, which is part of the Met Office (in our main building) but which is also a public library, open between 0830 and 1700.

By the way, to all readers in Devon and Cornwall: in case you are not aware already, there is a Red warning of very heavy rain in the early hours of this morning.

You can monitor where the rain is currently falling with this interactive map

Stay safe, folks.

Cheers

Richard

Jul 6, 2012 at 11:04 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

I am referring of course to the Paul Bain et al paper, Promoting pro-environmental action in climate change deniers, in Nature.

Paul Bain's later justification for the use of the term 'denier' was

Comments about the use of the “denier” label are a fair criticism. We were focused on the main readership of this journal – climate scientists who read Nature journals, most of whom hold the view that anthropogenic climate change is real. It should also be noted that describing skepticism as denial is a term increasingly used in the social science literature on climate change (e.g. in Global Environmental Change, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society), and is used informally by some within the climate science community. So we were using a term that is known, used, and understood in the target audience, but which we thought involved a stronger negative stereotype (e.g. being anti-environmental, contrarian) than skeptic. My thought was this would highlight the contrast with the data, which suggests that you need not believe in AGW to support pro-environmental action, especially when it had certain types of (non-climate) outcomes (demonstrating a non-contrarian position). So in my mind we were ultimately challenging such “denier” stereotypes. But because we were focused on our target audience, it is true that I naively didn’t pay enough attention to the effect the label would have on other audiences, notably skeptics. Although I hope this helps explain our rationale for using the term, I regret the negative effects it has had and I intend to use alternative labels in the future.

That eerily resembles the justification that Sokal offered for his hoax. They both used the terms, expressions and the style of their target audience while striving to meet their expectations.

I could be wrong and Paul Bain and his colleagues might have been sincere all along. In which instance, their paper still remains the nearest thing to a case of social scientists pulling a sokal on physical scientists, while pulling yet another one on social scientists.

Jul 6, 2012 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Re:Jul 6, 2012 at 8:20 PM | Richard Betts

"I really should check out your statement about Karoly and Carter before commenting"

Yes, I think that would be helpful as you have failed to address any of the points I have made but instead given some rather vague references to the NIPCC report which if they "may be unfair on Carter, as it's not clear which part of NIPCC he actually contributed to" then why do you make them?

[I seem to remember too that you yourself made some rather 'odd, unsupported conclusions' on Donna Laframboise's book!]

After all it was Karoly whom you commended to us as someone who "will help ensure that a good job is done" and there can scarce be a better example of something more 'lacking in substance' than his critique of Carter's book in the example I gave. It shouldn't take too long to check - I did give the page references.

It is disappointing too that you have so accurately fulfilled Hilary Ostrov's observation of Jun 30, 2012 at 9:51 AM

"Sorry, Marion, but much as I would prefer to predict/conclude otherwise ... considering many of his past responses (to me and others) I would not be surprised if - when RB finds time to respond to this well-argued post of yours - he chooses to respond in a manner that is flippantly - and disappointingly diversionary and/or - non-responsive to the valid points you have raised."

Perhaps you would care to comment on the problems with climate scientists failing to archive data and methodology despite the Slingo petition you signed which assured us
"That research has been subject to peer review and publication, providing traceability of the evidence and support for the scientific method".

http://climateaudit.org/2012/07/01/lonnie-and-ellen-serial-non-archivers/

Jul 6, 2012 at 11:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Marion

Obviously it would be much better if everyone archived their data and made it available to other researchers. Stupid and awkward not to.

The Thompson data (which I'd not heard of until now) seems to be palaeo data. The Met Office statement was about 20th Century temperature change.

Let's not get into the whole debate about the statement again, as we are clearly never going to agree! I signed it, you think I shouldn't have.

Goodnight!

Richard

Jul 6, 2012 at 11:59 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Paul Dennis, who did not sign the petition, and was subsequently subjected to unwelcome press attention, commented on his decision as follows in a WUWT thread at the time thus

'Paul Dennis says:

December 10, 2009 at 10:14 am

A request to add my signature came across my desk 6 times between Friday and Monday of this week. I didn’t sign it for several reasons.

The first is that the request came from an email circular (copied below) sent by the Met Office that bounced around several lists but clearly went to all Climate, Environment, Oceanography plus other science departments in the UK and possibly international. The request did not contain a draft text of the subsequent press release and I for one would never add my signature to a letter that I had not seen.

Secondly the email contained a series of assumptions that can only be answered after the results of the inquiry/review are known.

From: Gilbert, Pip On Behalf Of Slingo, Julia (Chief Scientist)
Sent: Monday, December 07, 2009 10:33 AM
To: Climate_Research; Met R&D all staff
Subject: URGENT: Supporting the science
Importance: High

Dear All,

As you are very aware, the science of climate change is under an
unprecedented attack and I know that many of you feel that we, as the
science community in the UK, should try to make our voice heard too. We
are therefore seeking a groundswell of support for a simple statement
that we, the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the
science base that underpins the evidence for global warming. That
evidence has been arrived at through decades of painstaking and
meticulous research by many scientists across the world, who adhere to
the highest levels of integrity and honesty, the hallmarks of true
scientific endeavour. We come together now to defend our profession
against this unprecedented attack to discredit us and the science of
climate change.

I know this is very short notice but we would like to gather a list of
names from you and your scientific colleagues who support this move. We
would like to collect these names over the weekend and on Monday so that
a short letter, basically saying the above, can be released to the press
on your behalf on Tuesday, at the latest. If we can reach 100 signatures
or more from the UK academic community that would be a fantastic
response. Please can I request your help by asking you to not only
respond yourself, but also to send this on to scientific colleagues as a
matter of urgency.

The Met Office is able to provide help to pull these names together and
if you wish to support this statement then please send an email to:

julia.slingo@metoffice.gov.uk with ‘Yes’ in the Subject.

Many thanks,

Julia Slingo and John Hirst

Julia Slingo Chief Scientist
Met Office FitzRoy Road Exeter EX1 3PB United Kingdom
xxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxx'


http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/10/the-met-office-making-a-list-tries-to-prop-up-the-image-of-the-cru/

Jul 7, 2012 at 12:46 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

Re: Jul 6, 2012 at 11:59 PM | Richard Betts

Richard, Forest et al 2006 which I have referenced in a previous post as another example of non-archiving was on climate sensitivity rather than palaeoclimate and had a similar issue

http://climateaudit.org/2012/06/25/nic-lewis-on-forest-et-al-2006/

nor do I believe that you can divorce palaeo from the Met office statement

"We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive. They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity. That research has been subject to peer review and publication, providing traceability of the evidence and support for the scientific method. The science of climate change draws on fundamental research from an increasing number of disciplines, many of which are represented here. As professional scientists, from students to senior professors, we uphold the findings of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, which concludes that Warming of the climate system is unequivocal and that Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations."

after all how can we ascertain if 20th century warming is in any way unusual without having an understanding of previous natural cycles.

And anyway don't you agree with Steve McIntyre's post that it would certainly help restore trust in the science if the following rules were incorporated and observed -

Requirements for authors
1. Authors must decide the rule for terminating data collection before data collection begins and report this rule in the article.
2. Authors must collect at least 20 observations per cell or else provide a compelling cost-of-data-collection justification.
3. Authors must list all variables collected in a study.
4. Authors must report all experimental conditions, including failed manipulations.
5. If observations are eliminated, authors must also report what the statistical results are if those observations are included.
6. If an analysis includes a covariate, authors must report the statistical results of the analysis without the covariate.

Guidelines for reviewers
1. Reviewers should ensure that authors follow the requirements.
2. Reviewers should be more tolerant of imperfections in results.
3. Reviewers should require authors to demonstrate that their results do not hinge on arbitrary analytic decisions.
4. If justifications of data collection or analysis are not compelling, reviewers should require the authors to conduct an exact replication

http://climateaudit.org/2012/06/28/false-positives/

Jul 7, 2012 at 1:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

I think one must consider the possibility that Gergis et al (not to mention Michael Mann, Jim Hansen, Phil Jones, Keith Briffa, Wahl and Amman, Peter Gleick et al, et al) are secretly trolls and hoaxers on behalf of climate "skeptics".....

Looking at the childish 'tweets' of Michael Mann, McIntyre and a whole bunch of others must finally now be wondering how they spent a huge amount of time, money and effort chasing down material from this guy...?

His tweets are a window into its mind.

Jul 7, 2012 at 1:50 AM | Registered Commentershub

The guy has close to 45 tweets on a given day, say yesterday. That is > 4 tweets/hour, assmung he sleeps during some part of the day, say generously, 12 hours.

Jul 7, 2012 at 1:57 AM | Registered Commentershub

Isn't, for example, also the claim of the voiceover of a "carbon free [solar] energy" a kind of a hoax? (By the way, I hope that commenter simoncm is right when he wrote above w.r.t. (UK) patent laws: "technology will become known, and exploited, within a couple of years" (see for instance: "British scientists 'invent artificial petrol' that could cost just 90p per GALLON (and there's no carbon)").)

Also, it seems that the test design is not well thought out (at least the linked refractive article is not clear) as the test, apparently, hardly can account as -- or produce -- a representative sample survey, for example with a higher number of participants (as in this case n=23) and with a longer duration (than, well... how long was that test? 2 days?) -- the simple hoax will be debunked.

Perhaps there is a bigger hoax to be uncovered? That's not just an (expensive?) circus for 23 Imperial College science undergraduates, is it?

_______

Richard, you write (11:59 PM):

"Let's not get into the whole debate about the statement again".

You mean the statement of the petition, right? But what debate, please? Do you regard the "debate" here as a/the "whole debate"?

And you tell Marion (ibid):

"we are clearly never going to agree!"

How were you able to make up your mind? (I wasn't.)

And, please, what makes one a researcher? How do you define "researchers" (cf. 11:59 PM)?

Jul 7, 2012 at 2:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterSeptember 2011

Jul 7, 2012 at 12:46 AM | Pharos

Thanks for posting the Dec. 7/09 Slingo solicitation (courtesy of Paul Dennis). I must have missed it when he posted at WUWT; my excuse, of course, is that at that point I was very much a newbie, and was concentrating on getting my own blog up and running!

Ironically (in hindsight), for my "maiden" post (Dec. 6/09), I had chosen to highlight the way that Mike Hulme and Joseph Alcamo had drummed up support for their 1997 pre-Kyoto "Statement". My conclusion, at that time:

Now I understand how scientific “consensus” is built: good old-fashioned virtual chain-letters – and a minimum amount of time for any independent verification!

Slingo's solicitation twelve years later - with so many similar "ingredients" - suggests that this must be a favourite recipe from the "climate consensus coordinators' cookbook" that has stood the test of time!

Jul 7, 2012 at 3:38 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Zed and follow-up comments removed.

Jul 7, 2012 at 8:01 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

sHx.

"Now, what was that thing again about Randi being a high priest of AGW and getting fooled because he was not a physicist?"

Thanks sHx, I was wrong, and now delighted, because I really like Randi.

Jul 7, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterNiels

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