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Jones Ousted

December 2, 2009

Those following the climategate CRU hack controversy — and I’m following it a helluva lot more than I had initially intended — will know that Phil Jones has “stepped down” from his post at the head of East Anglia’s CRU. He has, in effect, been ousted, jettisoned, sent to the wolves, thrown under the bus, yada yada yada.

It’s funny, in a way, because it calls to mind a particular e-mail that seems to be getting all sorts of panting from the self-anointed guardians of scientific integrity.

At 04:30 PM 1/20/2005, Tom Wigley wrote:

M,

This is truly awful. GRL has gone downhill rapidly in recent years.

I think the decline began before Saiers. I have had some unhelpful dealings with him recently with regard to a paper Sarah and I have on glaciers — it was well received by the referees, and so is in the publication pipeline. However, I got the impression that Saiers was trying to keep it from being published.

Proving bad behavior here is very difficult. If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted. Even this would be difficult.

How different is the GRL paper from the Nature paper? Did the authors counter any of the criticisms? My experience with Douglass is that the identical (bar format changes) paper to one previously rejected was submitted to GRL.

T.

I find the alleged implications of impropriety on Wigley’s part absolutely laughable, but others, like Bishop Hill, JimR and RickA disagree.

Here’s why I think they’re wrong…

We don’t know much beyond what was in the e-mail, but it’s probably true that in Wigley’s professional judgment, being a climate skeptic is tantamount to having an unacceptably non-scientific political bias that might be interfering with Saiers’s independent scientific judgment as an editor. (Note: he says that he’s been having trouble with Saiers before, that his paper was well-received by referees, that it will be published, but that he suspects that Saiers was trying to keep it from being published (presumably for a bad reason).

It is therefore unremarkable for Wigley to suggest that if such a non-scientific political bias can be demonstrated, then they might consider seeking his ouster through official channels on these grounds. That he wants to go through official channels is telling. I assume there are official channels to handle cases of bad editors, no?

If Wigley’s dislike of Saiers is something so facile as a distaste for people who think differently (or, basically, who don’t like chocolate ice cream), then I think that seeking to oust someone through the proper channels for the wrong reasons is not the right thing to do.

The question here is whether, and I think Wigley suggests in his e-mail that, there are good reasons to try to oust Saiers. If they’re there, then they can make a case against him. He’s advocating making that case.

Seeking Saiers’s ouster for good reasons by going through official channels strikes me as perfectly ethically acceptable. Seeking Saiers’s ouster for bad reasons by going through official channels strikes me as more ethically questionable, but nevertheless permissible (from the standpoint of a “code of ethics”), provided that those channels are not themselves corrupt; and if they are, it is the code that needs revision, not necessarily Wigley’s use of the code. To complicate matters, seeking Saiers’s ouster for bad reasons by going through unofficial channels is ethically questionable only insofar as the actions taken are concerned.

Simply seeking the ouster isn’t ethically questionable. Simply intending the ouster isn’t ethically questionable. Simply communicating an intent to ouster isn’t ethically questionable. Simply following up on a communicated intent by taking actions to see that the ouster is implemented but never having those actions meet with the scrutiny of those empowered to fulfill the ouster is not ethically questionable. And on, and on.

Back to Jones: Jones was ousted (temporarily), I take it, for political reasons. East Anglia needs to preserve its integrity. This is a hot-button issue. They want Jones to keep some distance from the investigation. So he’s out.

Will he come back? No idea. I’d guess not, but only time will tell.

The point is that this is a political thing for Jones; and it is one where some people were calling for his head, seeking his ouster through official channels, precisely because some have alleged, given the e-mails, that he had an unprofessional bias against a given viewpoint. That is incredibly similar to the Wigley e-mail. Wigley also thought there was an unprofessional bias, thought that if such a bias could be demonstrated, then seeking Saiers’s ouster might be a possible course of action. Not so outrageous, is it?

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53 comments

  1. Ben, nice way of summing this whole issue up. I’ve often thought that this whole scandal was just a way for certain people to settle personal scores (Roger Pielke Jr comes to mind) and for journalist to gain interest by “covering the controversy.”

    Essentially, people are being excoriated for getting upset over poor science and trying to keep it out. Well, that’s what peer review is all about. Having your peers evaluate what you do and saying if it’s good or bad.

    So we’ve got a bunch of people hopping up and down because people are angry about peer review.

    Great.


    • The problem is that you are equating being skeptical with having a “non-scientific political bias”. From the true believer viewpoint it is understandable, however from a scientific standpoint it is not. Using your rationale scientists in any scientific field could consider those that don’t believe in what they believe as having a “non-scientific political bias” and seek to have them ousted. For example in cosmology if a journal editor believed in string theory should physicists seek to oust them for “non-scientific political bias”? Or on the flip side should the string theory physicists seek to oust journal editors that don’t believe in string theory for “non-scientific political bias”?

      Sorry Ben, but when scientists seek to oust those at journals that don’t support their views that is the politicization of science and prevents the scientific process from working in an unbiased manner. It’s one thing to seek to oust a journal editor for improper behavior, it’s quite another to seek their ouster due to their scientific beliefs.

      In this case Wigley was specific that they could seek ouster if they could document that Saiers was “in the greenhouse skeptics camp”. That isn’t the scientific process, it’s the shaping of science to support their beliefs.


    • Jim, that’s not me equating skeptics with having a non-scientific political bias. It’s my attribution to Wigley; and I suspect that he does hold that view. Moreover, I suspect that his view is a reasoned view… meaning that he can defend and justify it.


    • Moreover, I mean, wtf? The statement in question is surrounded by lots of clear context; and it is also nested in several conditional “ifs,” which literally suggest that Wigley does not hold this view about Saiers being a skeptic but that his correspondent (Mike Mann?) might.

      If you think X; and if we can demonstrate X; then we could pursue this through formal channels. But that’s hard. (Implication: so we probably shouldn’t.)


      • Still working hard at these justifications, eh Ben? It’s one thing if Wigley can justify (at least in his own mind) that being a skeptic equates to having a non-scientific political bias and thus is a basis for someone being ousted from a position as a journal editor. But from an outside perspective is such behavior to control the output of scientific journals acceptable or ethical?

        One can only justify this if one thinks being a skeptic does in fact equate with a non-scientific political bias. Otherwise working to oust journal editors not for wrongdoing but due to their views is clearly improper.

        There is a lot of context to this.

        http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=484&filename=1106322460.txt

        It starts out with Mann complaining that GRL was about to publish McIntyre and McKittrick 2003 despite his objections:

        “Just a heads up. Apparently, the contrarians now have an “in” with GRL.”

        The comments we are discussing are Wigley’s reply to Mann and Wigley said:

        “Proving bad behavior here is very difficult. If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted. Even this would be difficult.”

        Why do you not see an ethical issue with trying to oust skeptics from positions at journals in order to prevent criticisms from being published? Because that is what we are talking about, working to shape the scientific journals to exclude things that might be considered skeptical.


      • Honestly, Jim, it should be clear. First off, I’m not justifying the e-mail. I’m offering an explanation. There’s a big difference. In this case, I think the explanation is the most plausible, but to determine whether the e-mail was justified, I’d need to know more about whether Saiers did in fact have that bias. I don’t know that and you don’t know that.

        It’s true that Wigley thinks that the skeptics are biased and have a political agenda. That’s not much of a leap.

        Do the skeptics actually have that bias or are they just being good scientists? Some say the former, others say the latter, I say “remain agnostic.”

        If Wigley thinks they have that bias, or if Mann thinks they have that bias, then it makes sense that Wigley would suggest that Mann could go through proper channels to demonstrate that they have that bias.

        In that case, Wigley himself is not even saying that that bias is there. He’s saying that it’d have to be demonstrated through official channels.

        That’s kinda like saying this: Hey Snoop-Dogg, if you think you’re being discriminated against, you need to demonstrate that you are. If you want to do that, you could take your case to court and try to get your perpetrator charged with discrimination, but it’s really hard to demonstrate discrimination.

        So there you have it: a perfectly plausible explanation of why Wigley might have said what he said and why there doesn’t appear to be any ethically dubious activity in that e-mail.


      • Ben – that’s why I made fun of your saying “I’m looking for anything that will either exculpate or incriminate a given figure.” In reality you are working hard to come up with plausible explanations. What you said implies objectivity, your spinning of the issues does not.

        Why does it matter about Saiers actual position? (Saiers has stated he is not a skeptic but I doubt he will ever be forgiven for M&M 2005 GRL) The point is not if Saiers is biased or not, the point is if Saiers being an AGW skeptic is grounds for having him ousted from a journal. That was the basis that Wigley proposed for having Saiers ousted. Instead of plausible explanations or looking for something about Saiers that might justify these actions let’s deal with what was actually said in the E-mail.

        “Do the skeptics actually have that bias or are they just being good scientists?” Doesn’t the same apply to pro AGW scientists? Both scientists and journal editors should be judged on their actions and not their beliefs. In this case the action that caused them to look for a reason to oust Saiers was publication of M&M 2005 despite Mann’s objections. Steve Mackwell, Editor in Chief of GRL even pointed out to Mann he could write a comment to “challenge the authors’ arguments and assertions”. That would be the normal way to address such a situation in the scientific literature.

        But it was a blow to the mantra that skeptics were not published in the peer reviewed literature. In the same E-mail string with the Wigley comment Mann said: “I’m not sure that GRL can be seen as an honest broker in these debates anymore, and it is probably best to do an end run around GRL now where possible.” A rebuttal wasn’t good enough for these scientists. If you are looking for bias…


      • Let’s be clear, in this e-mail Wigley did not propose to have Saiers ousted. In writing to Mike, he said that “if you think” and “if we can find documentary evidence” then we “could” go through “official channels” to have Saiers ousted.

        All of those key words do not at all spell out a proposal to have Saiers ousted. It’s embedded in so many if-then statement it makes a person’s head spin.

        He may have desired to have Saiers ousted. He may have wanted to find a way reeeeeeally badly. He may even have hoped that Mike had something great up his sleeve. But in the end, he was just expressing the thought that if Saiers “is a bad editor” and if they could “demonstrate that Saiers was a bad editor” to a panel of others, then they could have him removed.

        I am doing no contortions to interpret the e-mail this way. It’s pretty straightforward. And, as far as I can tell, it is one of the only plausible interpretations of the e-mail.


      • More contortions, sigh.

        Ben if Wigley had said Saiers was a “bad editor” and they could have Saiers ousted if they could prove he was a “bad editor” we wouldn’t be having this conversation. This would be a non-issue. But the grounds Wigley suggested for having Saiers removed was if he was a skeptic and the E-mail string started with outrage over the publication of M&M 2005.

        Wigley: “If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted.”

        Regardless of the if/then loops the question is still if you think it’s appropriate for a journal editor to be removed on the grounds of being a skeptic.


      • Your reading comprehension is hopeless, Jim. Let’s try this a different way: the allegation that there is monkeybusiness wouldn’t hold up in court of law.

        As to the question of whether being a skeptic is a ground on which to not have someone be an editor of a journal that specializes in climate change, I suppose that partly doubles back on the question about justification; but it also relates to the matter of whether it makes sense to ask if there are some political motivations that are interrupting the scientific judgment of the editor.

        I take it that that’s what Wigley thought; and I take it that such reasons would be decent grounds on which to relieve a person of his post. If a devout proponent of ID somehow makes it to become editor of a journal of evolutionary biology, and then somehow tries to force out papers on illegitimate grounds, after they’ve been positively reviewed by referees, then that does seem like a problem to raise with whatever official body oversees the journal, no?


      • Ben my reading comprehension is just fine. What I keep reading is you trying to justify what is contained in the released E-mails. Why try so hard?

        As far as “hold up in court of law”, that hasn’t been part of the discussion. We’ve been talking about if this is right or wrong, ethical or unethical which is quite different.

        Then you talk about “political motivations that are interrupting the scientific judgment of the editor”. If that were true and a case could be made to oust someone and it would be totally justified. This is quite different from seeking to remove someone who is a skeptic which only implies a political motivation to those who call anyone who expresses skepticism a denier. Such claims are often made about anyone that expresses skepticism about any aspect of AGW, but what ever happened to healthy scientific skepticism? Mann and McIntyre don’t agree, should we seek to silence one of them by preventing publication or allow it to play out in the peer reviewed literature. Mann/Wigley prefer the former but for healthy science the latter should be the best option.

        You seem to fell Wigley thought there were political motivations involved… although on what basis I can’t imagine (projection?) We know in hindsight that Saiers isn’t a skeptic so there was no merit to the claims of Mann, Wigley and company. Three reviewers recommended publication of this paper. These scientists were upset that a criticism of the hockey stick made it into the peer reviewed literature and sought removal of the editor in charge of the review. Was this just a temper tantrum caught in E-mail? We don’t know, but Saiers was removed as editor of this article during the comments period.

        Above you make the unlikely comparison of the Phil Jones scandal and Mann/Wigley seeking to oust an editor over the review of a publication. Can you really think the two situations are “incredibly similar”?? Phil Jones is in hot water over what he said in E-mails. James Saiers simply acted as an editor for a paper and because of the content of that paper these scientists sought his removal. That is politicization of science.


      • What do these phrases mean to you?:

        “GRL has gone downhill rapidly in recent years. I think the decline began before Saiers.”


      • Sounds like someone is unhappy with GRL.

        Can I play now? What do these phrases mean to you?

        “It’s one thing to lose “Climate Research”. We can’t afford to lose GRL.”


      • I think that’s just an expression of dismay that some journal editors appear, to him, to be capitulating to what he perceives to be the darkside.


      • The “darkside”, well put. And that highlights a problem that Judith Curry has discussed, the tribal behavior of these scientists. They display such an us versus them attitude including refusal to provide their enemy with data or other information. And this very unscientific attitude is one of the most prominent things in the released CRU E-mails.

        In relation to this discussion James Saiers became their enemy for simply being editor over an article they didn’t want published and they sought his removal. Mann called and E-mailed seeking to prevent publication and when told that M&M 2005 critical of his work would be published we see the fury and tribalism in the E-mail chain we’ve been discussing.

        Ben – since we’ll never agree on this topic and I fear you’ll run out of plausible excuses in the near future how about an article on this tribalism? Surely you agree that things are not so black and white as attitude Mann, Wigley and company display? Can we at least agree it’s troublesome that these prominent climate scientists focus on an editor possibly being a skeptic and a journal moving to the “darkside” instead of the scientific criticisms in the paper at the center of the dispute?


      • The thing is, it’s troublesome only insofar as their concerns are unsupportable. I do agree that politics and values have always been at issue in the science, but I think that acknowledging this doesn’t mean that every possible objection under the sun has to be let in the door.

        In philosophy, a lot of philosophers express concerns about post-modernists, for instance. They express an unhealthy bias against French philosophy, say. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to read of an e-mail exchange in which several philosophers talk about how a given journal has gone downhill recently and published several articles about Derrida or Levinas. Wouldn’t even surprise me to hear them say that the editor should be ousted.

        Do I think it’s silly? Yes. Do I think it’s warranted? Not really. Do I think it’s okay for them to do that? Probably.


  2. Ben:

    The situations involving Jones and Wrigley are quite different.

    East Anglia is the equivalent of the journal.

    If the journal had decided to oust Saiers themselves, rather than having third parties trying to influence the journal – then it would an apples to apples comparision.

    As you say – it is totally legitimate for an organization to oust somebody using their own official channels.

    It is quite a different story for a third party to try to get an editor fired just because he allowed a paper to be published which a group of third parties decided was flawed.

    By the way – I disagree that it is ethical to try to get somebody ousted using official channels for a bad reason. That is the very definition of unethical.

    Is it ok for me to try to get somebody fired, using official channels, because of that persons sex, race, religion or national origin. I don’t think so. In fact, that is actionable. It is all about intent – why is the person trying to get somebody ousted (using official channels), and we are assuming for this discussion, for a bad reason.


    • “I disagree that it is ethical to try to get somebody ousted using official channels for a bad reason. That is the very definition of unethical.”

      Depends what you mean by “ethical.” I qualified that claim, you’ll notice, with a reference to “codes of ethics,” which function sometimes as guidelines or rules of thumb. If the codes are all we have to go by (and I’m not saying they are), then it is the very definition of ethical to use the codes to their fullest extent. That’s a sort of legal positivist or a Humean view, depending on what you mean.

      I happen to agree with you that it’s unethical to manipulate and work within the rules to achieve good ends for bad reasons, but this question is by no means settled among ethicists.


  3. “He has, in effect, been ousted, jettisoned, sent to the wolves, thrown under the bus, yada yada yada.”

    Nah. These kinds of things are standard when an investigation is under way. Even if some level of wrong-doing is found, that doesn’t mean that he is gone. Michael Mann has stated that as far as he knows, no emails actually got deleted. I kind of expected that (or else why would these emails still be there?), so I expect that Jones will be back. The denialists will scream coverup of course, but Jones will be back at work in that case.

    It’s important both for the scientists involved, as well as those of us who do believe that folks like Jones, Mann, et al, have been hounded and harassed, to avoid the circle-the-wagons attitude. It is destructive and in the end rarely succeeds in what it was trying to do.


  4. This conversation started back on the earlier thread with you arguing that you couldn’t see how the Hockey Team stifled dissent. We’ve now shifted slightly to discussing the propriety of trying to oust journal editors through one means or another, but I think we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture. Science is an exercise in truth-seeking and the attempt to oust Saiers was an attempt to stifle opposing views. The impropriety was not in the particular methods used to do so, but in the fact that it was being done at all.

    We know that the advancement of knowledge depends on the free flow of ideas and the existence of defences against attempts to stifle that flow – think academic tenure and the First Amendment for example. What the Hockey Team were trying to do was to stifle the free flow of ideas. That’s why it was improper.


    • Well said!


  5. Perhaps I should also say a word on Jones: his case is quite different to Saiers’. There are legitimate reasons for ousting Jones. He has been involved in attempts to stifle the free flow of ideas. Reputable scientists, of whatever views on AGW, should want him out, permanently, for that reason alone.

    His university should want him at least to be suspended because there is prime facie evidence that he incited criminal behaviour among colleagues.


  6. The “legitimate reasons” claim is one that, I suspect, would be held by Wigley and others about Saeirs.

    Moreover, you cannot overlook the fact that this is (a) conditional and (b) a discussion about employing official channels.


    • Ben

      You are missing the point. Saiers was not trying to stifle dissent. Jones was.

      In science, we must have free flow of ideas, otherwise we just have politics. In scientific terms, what Saiers was doing was legitimate. What Jones was doing was not. In legal terms, you might make a case that what Wigley et al were doing was legitimate, but you will never make that case in scientific terms.


    • No, Bish, you are missing the point.

      The point is that in Wigley’s professional judgment, Saiers was not engaged in science, but in some other project, like political maneuvering.

      Free flowing of ideas is fine. Introduction of irrelevant political viewpoints is not.

      Should medical journals publish bad work on vaccinations?

      No, they shouldn’t. And remember, in Wigley’s estimation, the paper was bad and Saiers was accepting bad work.

      Now, maybe you can complain that Wigley himself had an irrelevant political bias; and maybe this is true. We don’t know what his bias was, because we those things are “difficult to demonstrate” (quoting Wigley here). To demonstrate that Wigley was motivated by an unfair bias against skeptics (and not by a judgment about the quality of the work), you need a lot more than this e-mail. End of story.

      It’s not there. Hard as you try, you won’t find it there. He is clearly — clearly! — appealing to an external process (official channels) for demonstration of a Saiers’ bias.


  7. You seem to be assuming that the actions discussed in the emails actually took place. While the discussion and suggestion itself may be embarassing, ethics and legal violations relate to actions. If they actually deleted those emails, why did they leave these ones to be hacked? I infer that in the end, they probably didn’t delete anything. But the investigation is needed to determine that. I await the screams of cover-up if Jones and Mann are cleared of wrong-doing.

    And whatever the abstract aspects of when ousting is fair game, I think one lesson for climatologists is to not use heavy-handed tactics even if they might be justified in other less-politicized situations. A flood of disagreeing correspondence, and maybe canceled subscriptions, would be a better response to deficient papers passing review.


    • Dean – I agree. Let the papers be published. If they are wrong, publish follow-up letters, comments or papers pointing out why they are wrong. That is certainly a lot more productive than trying to weasel around in the background trying to keep papers that some think are “deeply flawed” from being published.


    • Dean

      I carefully said “incited”. We obviously don’t know if those emails were deleted or not at present. Inciting of criminal behaviour by Jones is a valid reason for the university authorities to suspend him, regardless of the outcome.


    • Another good reason for university authorities to suspend Jones is political. It’s pretty early to be drawing non-political conclusions from this.


      • Sure. As I said, there is prime facie evidence, but clearly there is a hearing to be had before we draw conclusions.


  8. Ben – much of your argument has been that rather than suggesting ousting Saiers as a skeptic (as he said in his E-mail) Wigley felt he had done a poor job, particularly in acting as editor over MM05. Let’s add a little more context.

    The E-mail we’ve been discussing from Tom Wigley is from Jan 2005. Yet barely 3 months earlier in October 2004 Tom Wigley wrote to Phil Jones:

    “Phil,
    I have just read the M&M stuff critcizing MBH. A lot of it seems valid to me.
    At the very least MBH is a very sloppy piece of work — an opinion I have held for some time.
    Presumably what you have done with Keith is better? — or is it?
    I get asked about this a lot. Can you give me a brief heads up? Mike is too deep into this to be helpful.
    Tom.”

    So three months after Wigley said of the M&M paper “a lot of it seems valid to me” he suggested having Saiers ousted from GRL if they could prove he was a skeptic. Can you believe his motivation was on the grounds of a bad paper being published? Or is it more likely his suggestion was due to publishing something he considered skeptical and just as he said in his E-mail remove Saiers for being a skeptic?


    • JimR,
      You’re assuming that these two emails are a complete record of Wigley’s thoughts over the three months – you’re claiming that there’s a contradiction in two emails, whereas in fact there’s a real lack of information. First, Wigley may have substantive objections to Saiers unrelated to MM, and may think he’s doing a bad job even if MM was a valid paper. Second, lots can happen in 3 months – perhaps, for instance, Wigley changed his mind about the value of MM’s criticisms. In fact, there may be other emails on this topic that were not made public by the “hacker.” Etc…


      • Ian,

        “You’re assuming that these two emails are a complete record of Wigley’s thoughts over the three months”

        Not true. I’m simply connecting two related E-mails.

        “you’re claiming that there’s a contradiction in two emails, whereas in fact there’s a real lack of information.”

        Again, not true. I see no contradiction. In the October E-mail Wigley was supportive of M&M and critical of MBH. In the January E-mail Wigley was proposing the ouster of Saiers for being a skeptic. That contradicts Ben’s theory that the proposal was to oust Saiers for being a bad editor. Wigley’s strong advocacy for AGW is well known.

        “First, Wigley may have substantive objections to Saiers unrelated to MM, and may think he’s doing a bad job even if MM was a valid paper.”

        So in an E-mail relating to the publishing of MM 2005 Wigley proposes that Saiers could be ousted if they could prove he was a skeptic, but the real reason isn’t related to the topic of the E-mail (MM 2005) or Saiers being a skeptic? Seriously?

        “Second, lots can happen in 3 months – perhaps, for instance, Wigley changed his mind about the value of MM’s criticisms.”

        Anything is possible, but you sound like Ben, creating plausible excuses not supported by the evidence we have instead of reading the context of the E-mails.


      • Jim, I’m suggesting that you’re reading too much into these two emails. There is simply no detailed catalogue of Wigley’s thoughts here.


      • Some additional context,

        Saiers was in charge of vetting Wahl & Ammann’s evisceration of M&M. He is on record as giving McIntyre review privileges not extended to Micheal Mann regarding M&M and promised McIntyre that it would not be published.

        As this made Editor~in~Chief Stephen Mackwell look like a hypocrite when he told Mann,

        While I do agree that this manuscript does challenge (somewhat aggresively) some of your past work, I do not feel that it takes a particularly harsh tone. On the other hand, I can understand your reaction. As this manuscript was not written as a Comment, but rather as a full-up scientific manuscript, you would not in general be asked to look it over. And I am satisfied by the credentials of the reviewers. Thus, I do not feel that we have sufficient reason to interfere in the timely publication of this work.

        Saiers was removed, not sacked, from his responsibilities vis~a~vis W&A.

        I don’t see any of the ‘skeptics’ expressing outrage at the clear efforts of McIntyre to suppress opposing views.


  9. Good grief, lb do you really have trouble understanding this or are you twisting this intentionally?

    The M&M paper was not a comment on MBH but a standalone paper or “manuscript” as Mackwell made clear to Mann. As a comment to his previous work Mann would have been able to reply, as a manuscript Mann would have to submit a comment of his own (or find puppets to do it).

    On the other hand Wahl & Ammann submitted a comment to GRL on the M&M paper. As a comment on their paper McIntyre did have privileges that Mann didn’t, but the reason is right in the text you quoted but failed to understand.

    Later in 2005 everything to do with the M&M paper was taken from Saiers and turned over to Jay Famiglietti. Famiglietti took up the previously rejected Wahl & Ammann comment (along with the previously rejected Ritson comment). In early 2006 the Wahl & Ammann was rejected, as was the Ritson comment.

    Regardless of the attacks on Saiers, the M&M paper was found to be valid and Mann’s defense (though Wahl & Ammann) rejected.


  10. And how about a little more context and how this ties into Jones request to delete E-mails pertaining to AR4.

    The deadline for papers to be included in IPCC AR4 was Feb. 28, 2006. Mann and company needed to have something in the peer reviewed literature to rebut M&M. Ammann and Wahl submitted a comment to GRL on M&M, and also another paper to Climate Change supposedly reproducing MBH independently. Unfortunately their CC paper referenced their GRL comment. The GRL paper was rejected, Saiers replaced by Famiglietti who unrejected the paper. But the final rejection of their comment in Jan. 2006 left The Team scrambling to have something in AR4 to rebut M&M. On Feb. 28th (the deadline for IPCC AR4) Stephen Schneider E-mailed Gene Wahl that their CC paper had been officially accepted. Now there was something in the peer reviewed literature rebutting M&M.

    The only problem was that paper referenced the rejected GRL paper. Oddly the Ammann and Wahl Climate Change paper wasn’t actually published until September 2007, 19 months after the IPCC AR4 deadline and it being officially accepted on the last possible day. When it was published in 2007 the rejected but reworked GRL comment was published also in Climate Change.

    Considering that Jones request to Mike Mann to delete E-mails mentioned both Caspar Ammann and Gene Wahl and that Ammann had already been sent an E-mail requesting due to FOIA material related to AR4 it is likely this FOIA request was in regard to the strange circumstances of the Ammann and Wahl rebuttal to M&M, it’s publication and admission to the IPCC.


  11. Wahl & Amman was as much a stand alone manuscript as M&M, running to 37 pages. It was a comment only in the mind of Steve McIntyre. The CC and GRL submissions were the same paper. It was not rejected by GRL but published first in CC, and thus withdrawn from GRL.

    Since Steve McIntyre has failed to publish any rebuttal to W&A, but instead chosen to make the bizarre claim on his blog that W&A is instead a confirmation of M&M, it is hard to understand how you think M&M remains valid.


    • > Wahl & Amman was as much a stand alone manuscript
      > as M&M, running to 37 pages. It was a comment
      > only in the mind of Steve McIntyre.

      It always amazes me the people that speak on what they don’t know. The Ammann and Wahl GRL paper was specifically submitted to GRL as a comment on the M&M paper. It’s not about the length of the paper but the purpose and type of submission.

      > The CC and GRL submissions were the same paper.
      > It was not rejected by GRL but published first in
      > CC, and thus withdrawn from GRL.

      Wrong again. The GRL submission was:
      Ammann and Wahl, Comment on Hockey Sticks, Principal Components and Spurious Significance
      (which is the name of the M&M paper)

      The CC paper was:
      Wahl and Ammann, Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes Reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere Surface Temperatures: Examination of Criticisms Based on the Nature and Processing of Proxy Climate Evidence.

      Saiers rejected the GRL paper, Famiglietti took over the M&M file and reinstated Ammann and Wahl and it was again rejected.

      > Since Steve McIntyre has failed to publish any
      > rebuttal to W&A, but instead chosen to make the
      > bizarre claim on his blog that W&A is instead a
      > confirmation of M&M, it is hard to understand how
      > you think M&M remains valid.

      Probably for the same reason two different editors at GRL rejected A&W. When someone submits a comment on a GRL paper (as A&W did) the original authors have a chance to reply. M&M addressed all the claims of A&W and even showed the A&W cross validation statistics matched theirs and the A&W GRL comment was rejected twice.

      This is what caused two different editors at GRL to reject A&W:

      http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/reply.ammann.pdf


  12. Mea culpa on the identity of the two papers.

    However Famiglietti did not reject W&A on the basis of M&M’s reply (never published) but because the information in W&A was already accepted elsewhere. In Climatic Change.

    W&A reproduced the validation statistics for M&M’s reconstruction, but M&M’s reconstruction was different from MBH’s. W&A also reproduced the validation statistics for MBH and found them robust.


  13. > Mea culpa on the identity of the two papers.

    NP, but you do seem to make a lot of errors.

    > However Famiglietti did not reject W&A on the basis
    > of M&M’s reply (never published)

    Errors like this one. The first A&W paper was rejected by Saiers with asking M&M for a reply. A&M resubmitted under Famiglietti who asked M&M for a reply. On consideration of both comment and reply Famiglietti rejected the 2nd submission of A&W.

    > but because the information in W&A was already
    > accepted elsewhere. In Climatic Change.

    And yet another error. Again we are talking about two different papers, one in GRL disputing M&M and one in CC supporting MBH. The GRL comment was submitted first, and the completely different CC submission actually referenced the GRL paper which was never published.

    This caused a problem, the CC paper was accepted on the last day for IPCC submissions, Feb 28th 2006. McIntyre was notified by Famiglietti of the 2nd A&W rejection on March 17th 2006. So how could a paper approved on the IPCC deadline reference a 2nd paper in GRL that was rejected?

    The solution was a new 2nd paper titled “The importance of the geophysical context in statistical evaluations of climate reconstruction procedures”. It was finally in print in CC in the same issue as Wahl and Ammann in 2007, the original submission to CC.

    If your keeping up you will notice the absurdity of a paper submitted May 2005 and accepted on Feb. 28th 2006 (W&A CC) that referenced a paper that wasn’t even submitted until Aug. 2006 (A&W CC).

    > W&A reproduced the validation statistics for M&M’s
    > reconstruction, but M&M’s reconstruction was
    > different from MBH’s.

    M&M didn’t do a reconstruction. They analyzed MBH methodology and showed issues with the way MBH handled the data.

    > W&A also reproduced the validation statistics for
    > MBH and found them robust.

    W&A found the same poor validation statistics that M&M found, and created reasons that in the face of poor validation statistics MBH was robust. The GRL paper supported the RE statistic instead of the R2, but since the CC paper cited the rejected GRL paper for this important point, the CC paper couldn’t stand on it’s own. There had to be two papers.

    This is why they were so upset with Saiers. He allowed in M&M 2005 making it eligible for IPCC AR4. But even with a change of editor they were unable to rebut M&M in GRL and ended publishing in CC under very odd circumstances on the last day of the IPCC deadline that cited a paper that wasn’t submitted until 6 months later.


    • >Again we are talking about two different papers, one in GRL disputing M&M and one in CC supporting MBH.

      Have you actually read W&A?


      • Yes, both W&A and A&W can be found here:

        Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes Reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere Surface Temperatures: Examination of Criticisms Based on the Nature and Processing of Proxy Climate Evidence

        http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/refs/Wahl_ClimChange2007.pdf

        The importance of the geophysical context in statistical evaluations of climate reconstruction procedures

        http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/ammann/millennium/refs/Ammann_ClimChange2007.pdf

        Note on this second paper (A&W) that was a substitution for the rejected GRL paper the received date is “22 August 2000”. Very odd for there to be a typo on a paper in the received date of a paper that wasn’t submitted until August 2006 and is cited by a paper that was considered “in press” in 6 months earlier, Feb 2006 (W&A).


      • Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes Reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere Surface Temperatures: Examination of Criticisms Based on the Nature and Processing of Proxy Climate Evidence

        Are you trying to argue this isn’t a disputation of M&M? Really?

        Go ahead, pull the other one.


      • So now that I’ve pointed out the papers we are actually discussing you have a question about them. Good, that’s progress lb.

        The rejected GRL paper A&W was to dispute M&M 2005 GRL. The W&A paper is to support MBH. There is mention of M&M, however it only disputes a couple of points of M&M and relies to the 2nd paper that was rejected by GRL and miraculously resurrected later for support.


      • I call BS. W&A is a thorough dismantlement of M&M. The only point not covered is the Gaspe series and that is in the addendum.


  14. The eloquent Bishop Hill has an excellent writeup on this called Caspar and the Jesus Paper:

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2008/8/11/caspar-and-the-jesus-paper.html


    • Yeah, I’ve read it. It is a one-sided polemical screed.

      A&M resubmitted under Famiglietti who asked M&M for a reply. On consideration of both comment and reply Famiglietti rejected the 2nd submission of A&W

      According to St. Steve:

      Famiglietti did not say that the Little Whopper[sic] was rejected because it withheld adverse results or misrepresented our work [points iterated in the last reply], but merely because “the key points of the debate are already out there”

      I believe Amman & Wahl withdrew their paper from consideration at GRL on the basis of interminable comment and reply, due to St. Steve’s well demonstrated intransigence in admitting any error. I can’t prove it, though.

      If your keeping up you will notice the absurdity of a paper submitted May 2005 and accepted on Feb. 28th 2006 (W&A CC) that referenced a paper that wasn’t even submitted until Aug. 2006 (A&W CC).

      The absurdity is in your perception. As Stephen Schneider informed St Steve:

      The primary results shown in Wahl and Ammann (2007) do not depend on assumptions that are drawn from Ammann and Wahl (2007). Rather, Wahl and Ammann (2007) point to additional information and arguments developed in more detail in Ammann and Wahl (2007).

      As I alluded in my previous reply, if you actually read the paper, you will find this is perfectly true, and your, Bishop Hill’s and St. Steve’s perceptions are phony as a three dollar bill. But then, you’re apparently one of those fanboyz for whom ‘perception is reality’.


      • > According to St. Steve:

        > Famiglietti did not say that the Little
        > Whopper[sic] was rejected because it
        > withheld adverse results or misrepresented
        > our work [points iterated in the last
        > reply], but merely because “the key
        > points of the debate are already out
        > there”

        That’s true, and SteveM also said that the key points were not already out there. Specifically the justification for the poor validation statistics that were needed and cited in the W&A, or the Big Whopper as SteveM calls it.

        And in reply to SteveM, Stephen Schneider said:

        “The initial manuscript submitted to GRL was neither turned down by GRL for its scientific content nor for technical issues, but rather for editorial purposes related to a comment-reply pair.”

        This is very strange situation giving us a glimpse of the truly bizarre happenings behind the scenes in the peer review process.

        > The absurdity is in your perception. As
        > Stephen Schneider informed St Steve:

        > The primary results shown in Wahl and
        > Ammann (2007) do not depend on
        > assumptions that are drawn from Ammann
        > and Wahl (2007). Rather, Wahl and Ammann
        > (2007) point to additional information
        > and arguments developed in more detail in
        > Ammann and Wahl (2007).

        But the key issue of poor validation statistics does. Section 2.3 discusses this and to support the use of RE over R2 they have to reference A&W.

        Hey lb, I’m glad to see you are making a minor effort to understand the issue. You’ve now advanced from not even knowing what papers we were discussing to quoting ClimateAudit on the issue.


      • >But the key issue of poor validation statistics does. Section 2.3 discusses this and to support the use of RE over R2 they have to reference A&W.

        Icing on the cake.


  15. JimR,

    As the original argument I advanced is;

    I don’t see any of the ’skeptics’ expressing outrage at the clear efforts of McIntyre to suppress opposing views.

    And all you’ve done in your efforts to rebut has naught but reinforced that argument;

    I suggest you consider before making statements that are even more of an own goal.


    • > McIntyre to suppress opposing views

      You haven’t supported this statement so I haven’t bothered to address it


      • No, you’ve made it all by yourself.



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