Misleading?

Dana Nuccitelli posted a tweet yesterday about an article called The truth about tornadoes in which he suggested

I retweeted Dana’s tweet because when I read the article, the first person I thought of was indeed Roger Pielke Jr. He does seem to have a habit of popping up whenever somebody discusses the increase, or possible increase, in extreme weather events to point out that some work he’s done suggests that there’s been no increase. Of course, Roger’s work seems to never include any actual physics, so he really can’t say anything about the future, or whether his analysis is at all consistent with any physical mechanism. Also, he seems to normally focus on damage/cost and then seems to imply that because there’s been no increase in damage/cost, there’s been no increase in intensity. However, given that Roger seems to object to people criticising his work, let me make it clear that what I’ve just said is my own personal impressions based on what I’ve seen or read. Happy to be corrected by those who know better.

Anyway, Roger wasn’t particularly impressed with Dana’s tweet and responded with

If one was being pedantic, one could argue that it’s not clear in what way what Dana said could be regarded as a lie with respect to Roger. What Dana got wrong (and which he acknowledges here) is that the article didn’t actually mention Roger Pielke Jr. Everyone seems to want Dana to apologise to Roger, but it seems that if he were to apologies to anyone it should be to the authors of the article for suggesting they said something that they didn’t.

The issue, however, seems to be as follows. The article that Dana refers to (linked to above) says

The honest “truth” is that no one knows what effect global warming is having on tornado intensity. Tornado records are not accurate enough to tell whether tornado intensity has changed over time.

The article is apparently written by experts and the statement seems quite clear. We don’t know. In testimony to the US senate, Roger states

Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950, and there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.

That seems, to me at least, not consistent with the view expressed by the experts. Roger is stating that tornadoes have not increased in frequency or intensity. The article, supposedly written by experts, clearly says we don’t know if tornado intensity has changed over time.

Roger claims that his senate testimony is 100% consistent with [his] peer-reviewed research. The research he’s referring to is a paper called Normalized tornado damage in the United States: 1950–2011. So, is it consistent? The abstract says

Under several methods, there has been a sharp decline in tornado damage. This decline corresponds with a decline in the reported frequency of the most intense (and thus most damaging) tornadoes since 1950. However, quantification of trends in tornado incidence is made difficult due to discontinuities in the reporting of events over time. The normalized damage results are suggestive that some part of this decline may reflect actual changes in tornado incidence, beyond changes in reporting practices. In historical context, 2011 stands out as one of the most damaging years of the past 61 years and provides an indication that maximum damage levels have the potential to increase should societal change lead to increasing exposure of wealth and property

I would argue that this is consistent with what the experts say (i.e., we don’t really know) and not really consistent with a statement that Tornadoes have not increased in …. intensity. Such a statement would seem to require actual evidence that they’ve not increased in intensity, rather than a lack of sufficient evidence to make a claim either way.

So, I certainly find what Roger says misleading. Also, it would seem to me that if one was called to testify before a senate committee, it would be as an expert who can present our current understanding of a particular topic. It’s not, I would think, so that one can simply present the results from one’s own research. I would have much more confidence in what Roger presented if it didn’t always seems to rely on his own papers. Furthermore, even if what Roger had stated in his senate testimony was consistent with his own papers (and it seems that it’s not) it would still seem misleading if it’s not consistent with other relevant research and if this isn’t made clear in the testimony. Given that the article Dana refers to is written by experts, it would seem that the general view is that we don’t know if tornado intensity has changed over time and would imply that tornado intensity has not increased is a rather misleading statement.

I realise that this post is rather critical of Roger Pielke Jr. However, I can’t really change my opinion just because it’s not particularly complimentary. It certainly seems that Roger does say things that appear misleading. He may not intend to do so, and may well believe that what he says is consistent with evidence, but that doesn’t imply that it’s not misleading. If others regularly interpret what he says as implying something that is not consistent with the evidence then that would appear to qualify as being misleading, even if that was not the intent. Of course, maybe I simply misunderstand much of what Roger is saying and so, as usual, am happy to be corrected by those who know better. This is also, I imagine, a rather contentious topic so can I ask that those who comment be somewhat careful about how they express whatever views they may choose to express.

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178 Responses to Misleading?

  1. Since I have to go out for a few hours and this might be a rather contentious post, I’ve turned on manual approval of comments. Assuming I’ve done that correctly, either myself or Rachel will have to approve all comments and I intend to be quite brutal with moderation if I think a comment is inappropriate (personal attack for example) or unlikely to contribute constructively. Don’t be surprised if your comment doesn’t appear immediately (or at all in some cases).

  2. Steve Bloom says:

    Let the Pielkeball (ref.) commence! And whatever you do, don’t question the mask. :)

  3. Tom Curtis says:

    For what it is worth, Pielke makes exactly the argument made by Muller, and criticized by the experts on his blog, here, and here.

    In the former case, he acknowledges that:

    “Of course we need to be careful interpreting such trends because tornado data is problematic for various reasons, which makes it very difficult to argue that human-caused climate change is making tornadoes worse.”

    However his acknowledgement of difficulties seems very one sided given he has just argued a downward trend in EF3+ tornadoes. That is particularly interesting given that his support for the claim of difficulties is an Andy Revkin piece claiming tornadoes are “still unknowable“, and which reports Harold Brooks saying:

    “The primary changes appear to occur ~1975, most likely as a result of the retrospective rating process that assigned ratings to tornadoes prior to the near-real-time ratings that began when the [National Weather Service] adopted the F-scale operationally in the mid-1970s, and ~2000, for reasons that aren’t completely clear, but are likely due to an increased emphasis on examining construction details and policies that changed the nature in how the ratings are created for the strongest tornadoes. Both have lead to a decrease in probability of a tornado being very strong, given that it’s strong. It’s possible that there’s a meteorological component, but the reporting practice changes are large enough that I don’t think we can pull a physical signal out, even if it’s fairly large.”

    So his evidence of the messiness of the data, taken seriously, prohibits him from concluding that EF3+ tornadoes are declining in frequency, something Pielke had just done.

    In the later post, he makes the unqualified claim that:

    “Tornadoes are not in the least bit “thorny.” You wouldn’t know from reading the article that the most powerful tornadoes – the F3, F4 and F5s which cause almost all of the damage and fatalities — have actually decreased over the past 50 years (so too has damage).”

    Nothing subtle there, and no remembrance of the difficulties in establishing trends which he had acknowledged in an earlier post, still less the difficulties in establishing negative trends which seems to have passed him by.

    So, unless Pielke takes the strange view that an argument fallacious in Muller’s mouth is sound in his, then the article to which Dana draws attention also shows (but does not claim) that Pielke is “misleading the American public”.

  4. Barry Woods says:

    Dana said this…

    “Tornado experts say @RogerPielkeJr and Richard Muller are misleading the American public”

    but the tornado expert mentioned that this was not true, they had not spoken about Roger or his work.

    thus Roger got annoyed about the (factually false and verifiable) claim that the tornado experts said he was misleading anybody.

    then Dana behaves I think quite oddly on twitter, why he want to alienate roger, and to be seen doing so, is utterly beyond me.

    I think Keith Kloor gets it right in this article

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2013/12/04/dirty-art-character-assassination/#.UqBxCsRdV6R

    and Keith is very blunt in his reply to Dana here:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2013/12/04/dirty-art-character-assassination/#comment-1151206706

  5. Barry, I agree that what Dana said was not literally correct. As far as I can tell, Dana acknowledges that. As I point out in the post, though, that would seem to suggest that he should apologise to those who he claims said something they didn’t, not to Roger. Does Keith Kloor get it right? In terms of what Dana said about tornado experts, sure. The tornado experts did not say what Dana claims they did (and he acknowledges this). Is it a character assassination? Given that what Roger stated in his testimony does not appear to be consistent with what the tornado experts apparently say, or with his own paper, then I would say not.

  6. Tom, yes I agree and that is what Dana is claiming he was illustrating. Of course, wording it the way he did then opens him up to the very attacks he then faced.

  7. Barry Woods says:

    Hi.. I’ve clashed with Keith Kloor on a number of times over the years,
    but If I may, Can I reproduce Keith’s word here, as I think,he puts it more eloquently than I (which is probably why he is a journo, and I’m not ;-) )

    Kloor:
    “Let me put it to you this way: If the equivalent of Dana, someone with a with a high-profile blog at a mainstream newspaper– said of me on Twitter: ” science journalists say that Kloor is misinforming his readers,” I’d be pretty offended. I would consider that impugning of my professional reputation. This is a definitive statement. I would expect the accuser to back it up with some proof. What science journalists are saying that?!

    So when Dana tweeted that tornado experts say that Roger is misleading the public, I asked him to tell me which experts said this. He never responded. I asked him again. No response.

    Meanwhile, I see on twitter that one of the authors of the tornado article that Dana was pointing to as proof of his statement is saying that they were only talking about Muller–and that Roger’s work never even came up during the writing of the article.

    Faced with this, Dana says his wording of the tweet was “imprecise” and then switches the discussion to Roger’s congressional testimony. Of course, no tornado experts are ever offered up by Dana to back up his “imprecise” tweet.

    The amazing thing about this episode is that Dana and many others on his side routinely decry these kinds of tactics (rightfully so) when they are used to malign climate scientists. But it’s okay for Dana to malign someone like Roger to score a political point on Twitter. Then when Dana is called out for uttering something patently untrue and unsubstantiated, he weasels away with the “imprecise” excuse.” – Kloor

    Keith is NOT (in context of this blog ;-) ) exactly a big fan of Anthony Watts either (in fact that is rather an understatement. So, if Dana cannot see how his public twittering s damage his own reputation, when Keith calls him out, it really is hard to understand Dana and similar type thinking of the Skeptical Science crowd.

  8. Barry, I agree that what Dana said was incorrect and that one of the authors confirmed this on Twitter. The issue, though, is whether or not the article implicitly suggests that what Roger says is misleading. My view, at the moment, is yes. It does appear that what Roger has stated (in his testimony for example and as shown by Tom above) is neither consistent with the expert view or with his own paper. Again, I’m not claiming that there is any intent to mislead, simply that what he stated in his testimony could ultimately act to mislead those who read it, given that it appears to not be consistent with the evidence (i.e., it appears that the statement tornado intensity has not increased is not, strictly speaking, a statement that is definitively true).

    Whether or not Dana’s Twitter exchange has done his reputation any good or not, I don’t really know. With some, I assume it hasn’t. It may well have helped if he had very quickly made it clear that his first tweet was incorrect.

  9. Rachel says:

    I wonder whether people would still object had Dana instead tweeted, “Tornado experts imply @RogerPielkeJr and Richard Muller are misleading the American public”.

  10. Rachel, I suspect that they would have still objected, but at least that tweet would not have been as literally incorrect as what Dana actually tweeted.

  11. Barry Woods says:

    yours is a very nuanced argument, which is totally lost because of blatant ‘incorrectness’ (intentional or otherwise) of Dana’s very public statement. Can you see why Roger responded (and Keith’s reaction) as he did.. would you not do the same?

  12. Tom Curtis says:

    Wotts, I disagree with you and Dana about the Senate testimony. In that testimony, Pielke says:

    “Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950, and there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.”

    “… some evidence to suggest …” is cautious language, and is consistent with the data. There is some evidence that suggests that, but to evidence is far from strong enough to conclude that they have. The statement also appears to be a fair summary of Simmons, Sutter and Pielke (2013). Dana’s objection that the senate testimony does not include all the caveats appears spurious to me. The senate testimony does not have the space to include the caveats, from either side.

    Given that, I think Dana has handled the correction of his initial mistake in wording less graciously than he could, and has picked on the wrong example of Pielke’s misleading. It is not that Pielke has not made the misleading arguments criticized in Muller. It is only that he does not do so in all venues; and we need to distinguish between when he does, and when he does not in criticizing him.

  13. Barry, I don’t think my argument is all that nuanced. There are two factors. Did the authors of the article say that what Roger says is misleading? No. Does the article imply that what Roger says is misleading? In my opinion, yes. I can clearly see why Roger responded how he did. I wouldn’t like someone to suggest that something I’ve said was misleading. However, that’s doesn’t mean that what Roger has said isn’t misleading (intentionally or not). If someone did make such a claim about something I’ve said, I might actually consider whether they have a point or not. Keith’s reaction, I don’t really know enough about Keith to know why ho chose to react the way he did.

    Here’s where I get a little frustrated though. Irrespective of whether or not Dana’s tweet was correct, one can still look at the article, at Roger’s testimony and other things he’s said (i.e., Tom’s comment), and his paper and determine if his statement with respect to tornadoes are consistent with the evidence. It appears not. Suggesting that the crucial issue here is whether or not Dana’s first tweet was correct seems to be ignoring the possibility that – even if it wasn’t – what was implied in that tweet was essentially correct.

  14. andrew adams says:

    Barry,

    Yes, Muller was the only person mentioned by name in the article so Dana was wrong to suggest that Pielke was directly criticised.

    But the article does make it clear that it is a more widespread issue and that Muller is only one of several guilty parties, and it’s pretty clear from some of the examples given above that some of Pielke’s statements could be said fall into the category which the authors are criticising and I don’t think it’s wrong to point the finger in his direction.

    Obviously that kind of nuance isn’t possible in a 140 character Tweet so maybe Dana should have left his criticism of Piele for a related SkS piece. Still, the reaction has (unsurprisingly) been a bit hysterical – obviously there was some existing bad feeling between Dana and Pielke anyway and typically people have been piling on on both sides. No criticism of Wotts intended here – he has at least attempted to look at it in a more nuanced way.

    I’m afraid I found Kloor’s piece a rather hysterical combination of concern trolling and pearl clutching and as seems usual nowadays he plays the “both extemes are bad” card (which is a dubious claim in itself) whilst completely taking one side. I used to quite like his blog but I can’t be bothered with it anymore.

  15. Tom, I agree you you about the latter part of what Roger said, but surely the first part is a very strong statement that is not consistent with the evidence? I was focusing only on the statement tornado intensity has not increased, which seems at odds with both Roger’s paper and with what’s suggested in the article. So, yes, I’m certainly not suggesting that everything is misleading. I was really just suggesting that that statement was misleading. Again, to be consistent, if I am wrong, then I’d be willing to acknowledge that and correct anything I’ve said, but I still have trouble seeing how that initial part of the statement isn’t misleading.

    I tend to agree that Dana could have acted to diffuse the situation if he’d acknowledge the error in his tweet more quickly. I’m certainly not trying to defend Dana, as such, but I do think he did acknowledge the error and it still seems that what he was highlighting had merit.

  16. Louise says:

    Barry Woods – recognising that Dana has stated that he ‘mistweeted’, bottom line is, was Pielke’s testimony to congress misleading? Wotts, above suggest that answer to this is a cautious “yes”. Do you agree or disagree?

  17. Barry Woods says:

    Keith is a journalist. he knows if he said something inaccurate like that, that there would be consequences.

  18. Barry, I really don’t believe that’s true. We don’t need to start a major discussion about this but the idea that journalist’s who say misleading things suffer the consequences, seems largely unfounded.

  19. Tom Curtis says:

    Barry Woods. First, the mistake was not intentional, but your slur certainly was. You look ridiculous arguing for a less antagonistic approach (as Kloor certainly was, and you in quoting him as your mouth piece) while making slurs like that.

    Second, while I can certainly see why Pielke and Kloor responded as they did, that does not justify their ignoring of the fact that Pielke has in fact used the same argument as Muller, that was criticized as “misleading” by the tornado specialists. Nor does it justify your also ignoring it.

  20. Louise says:

    Journalists/writers such as Rose, Delingpole, Pile, Lomborg, hmm. Yes, they’re clearly very conscientious and ensure everything the report is absolutely accurate.

  21. Barry Woods says:

    Tom the facts were checkable.. so I have no idea how Dana made his mistake, nor i guess will others, like Keith

  22. Tom Curtis says:

    Barry Woods:

    “Keith is a journalist. he knows if he said something inaccurate like that, that there would be consequences.”

    Good thing I wasn’t eating when I saw that. As an irregular reader of the Murdoch press in Australia (particularly The Australian) I know that statement to be simply false – laughably so. (In fact, impossible to suppress the laughter.) No doubt British and US citizens can find their own examples from the Murdoch fold with ease.

    If journalists actually reported honestly and fairly as they purport to do, there would be no AGW denial movement. It is that simple.

  23. Barry, indeed we’ll never know. Hence assuming that it was intentional seems odd as that would seem to suggest that Dana intentionally tweeted something that he knew to be wrong and that he knew would be attacked for being (justifiably) wrong. Seems more likely that he phrased it badly.

  24. Tom Curtis says:

    Barry, I think you will find he just typed faster than his mind could accurately compose the sentence. One of the reasons you will never find me on twitter (or facebook) is that they are media designed for superficiality, glibness, and the encouragement of mistakes by over hasty composition.

  25. Rachel says:

    Barry,
    I actually think it was an easy mistake to make. The article starts off by saying, “..some high-profile scientists are misleading the American public about what is, and is not, known about global warming and tornadoes.” Wouldn’t you try to guess who they are referring to when they say that and who would be the first person to come to your mind? I know who comes first to my mind. Dana has obviously done the same but got it wrong. It’s an easy mistake to make.

  26. andrew adams says:

    Barry,

    It seems pretty clear to me – Dana saw the article as implicitly criticising Pielke but worded his tweet in a way as to to suggest that Pielke was being directly criticised. So yes, he could and should have been more careful with his wording as as Tom points out above he could have been more gracious about it when he reaslised his mistake, but he is hardly the first person ever to send a badly worded tweet.

  27. So yes, he could and should have been more careful with his wording as as Tom points out above he could have been more gracious about it when he reaslised his mistake, but he is hardly the first person ever to send a badly worded tweet.

    To be fair to Dana, though, he may be the first to acknowledge a badly worded tweet. That, in my experience on Twitter, is extremely rare.

  28. andrew adams says:

    Yes, the notion that journalists are somehow held accountable for writing stuff which is untrue is laughable (at least in the UK). It’s not just about climate change – look at the recent shock horror headlines about Essex Council forcing a woman to have a cesarian against her will, it’s completely untrue yet the chances of the journalists or publications involved actually suffering any consequences are minimal.

  29. Tom Curtis says:

    Wotts, the first part of the Senate testimony, ie, the claim that tornado frequency has not risen is what you get when you translate “no statistically significant rise” into lay speech for a brief presentation. I do not agree that it is a good translation, but it is common enough that it does not justify a claim that somebody is misleading the Senate, or the American people. Further, if you translate it correctly, you would say that observed high intensity tornadoes have decreased in frequency, but statistically the observations are consistent with a slight rise. (At least, that is the case if the statistical models are sophisticated enough to allow for observational artifacts.)

    I will grant that Pielke could have been clearer, but lack of clarity is not the same as misleading. It also may have come at a cost less clarity in other portions of the testimony given time constraints.

  30. I haven’t looked at your blog for ages, but this post confirms my previous assessment of you.

    If you were an honest scientist you would acknowledge that what Dana said wasn’t true.

  31. Paul, I believe I did exactly that.

  32. Tom, I have an issue with the “not statistically significant” being parsed into “no trend”. Why? Because it may well not be true. Hence, I would suggest that making such a strong statement is not consistent with the evidence. If one wants to play that game then I would argue that the latter part of Roger’s comment is then incorrect. One can’t, in my view, translate “not statistically significant” into “no increase” but “maybe a decrease” because if one’s willing to be careful with the latter part of the comment, then why not be careful with the former?

  33. William says:

    Just took a look at the paper
    last sentence , he clearly states more research is needed to prove his findings. Not sure this could be classed as misinformation .

    The analysis presented in this paper indicates that normalized tornado damage in the US from 1950 to 2011 declined in all three normalization methods applied (two are statistically significant one is not). The degree to which this decrease is the result of an actual decrease in the incidence of strong tornadoes is difficult to assess due to inconsistencies in reporting practices over time. However, an examination of trends within sub-periods of the dataset is suggestive that some part of the long-term decrease in losses may have a component related to actual changes in tornado behaviour. Further research is clearly needed to assess this suggestion.

  34. William, I wasn’t criticising the paper. I was suggesting that his senate statement is not 100% consistent with the paper.

  35. BBD says:

    This is why Twitter is to be avoided.

    I am not being remotely facetious. Just look at this mess. Dear God.

  36. BBD, yes I ended up in a few messes myself yesterday, so tend to agree. Maybe not quite avoided, but used very carefully.

  37. BBD says:

    A word to the excitable contrarians: this has no bearing whatsoever on the scientific case for emissions-forced climate change.

    Absolutely none.

    Repeat this to yourself before posting anything else. I’d like to say that hopefully common sense would then prevail, but I know perfectly well that it will not.

  38. Joshua says:

    The soap opera continues. Really, this reminds me of junior high school skirmishes, and the whole “he said X on twitter” is yet another example of Schlimmbesserung – new developments that makes things worse.

    Dana tweets something stupid, and that becomes “character assassination?” Really? Who in the world is somehow convinced to change their minds about Pielke because of something Dana wrote in a tweet?

    No-freakin’-body.

    And the hand-wringing from blogosphere participants who regularly write demeaning comments about all sorts of people (as Kloor does on a regular basis) in an environment filled with vitriol are hand-wringing on their fainting couches about this? Really?

    And Pielke is upset about this? Really? Roger wrote a post not that long ago where he clearly implied unethical behavior from a journal’s board because they asked him to step down as an editor. The clarity of the implication was made clear in that commenters on his blog interpreted his description as evidence of unethical behavior, and Roger did not bother to correct those interpretations. This sort of thing has happened on his blog a number of times, where he clearly makes implications denigrating others, and then claims a weak plausible deniability by hiding behind indirect references.

  39. Anyone interested in commenting, discussing, debating issues related to data and analysis of tornado trends, including my statement about them in recent congressional testimony, is invited to participate in this post:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/10/new-paper-normalized-tornado-damage-in.html

    But that will not be the place to discuss Dana, and will be moderated accordingly. I won’t have time to monitor this post, so if you would like my views or to interact, please visit the link above where I’ll be sure to see any comments. Thanks!

  40. Joshua says:

    A word to the excitable contrarians: this has no bearing whatsoever on the scientific case for emissions-forced climate change.

    Repeated for emphasis. It is really amazing to me that these kinds of handbag fights absorb so much of peoples time and energy.

    I have to say that if folks like Dana can’t anticipate this kind of nonsense, then they have their heads up their asses. As much as the reaction to his tweet is a joke, I can’t for the life of me figure out why Dana would repeat these kinds of actions that only add to the distractions.

  41. Tom Curtis says:

    Wotts:

    hebrooks87 19h
    @dana1981 @RogerPielkeJr Very diff. Roger-“some evidence to suggest”. Muller-“stat. signif….is extremely high”

    Dana Nuccitelli ‏@dana1981 19h
    @hebrooks87 @RogerPielkeJr “Tornados have not increased…” Is a definitive statement.

    Harold Brooks ‏@hebrooks87 19h
    @dana1981 @RogerPielkeJr But that’s not what we were criticizing Muller for.

    I can see where you are coming from, but whether or not your argument is valid depends on the nuance of the data. For instance, if there was no issue about observations, and the OLS trend was – 1 +/- 1.1, saying the trend was negative would be perfectly reasonable, even given the 5% (or there about) chance that it is not. Given that, I am going to accept the person who is acknowledged as an expert on this data by both sides of the debate. If he does not find Pielke’s testimony misleading, as plainly he does not, then neither am I going to claim that it is.

  42. I think you’re wrong here. “Tornado experts say @RogerPielkeJr and Richard Muller are misleading the American public” is simply wrong, by DN. He could simply have admitted it was an error, and withdrawn it. He didn’t; the “ack” you point to – “As I noted, my initial Tweet (shown in your post) was imprecise” raises it to the state of a lie; “imprecise” is lying by omission / disinformation.

    > Whether or not Dana’s Twitter exchange has done his reputation any good or not, I don’t really know.

    I can answer that: I’m disappointed by DN here; how am I supposed to trust his stuff in the future?

    > I’m certainly not trying to defend Dana

    You might want to try re-reading your post. It certainly *reads* as though that’s exactly what you’re trying to do.

    > I retweeted Dana’s tweet

    So, just to be clear: have you since retracted your re-tweet?

    > Irrespective of whether or not Dana’s tweet was correct, one can still look at … and determine if his statement with respect to tornadoes are consistent with the evidence.

    Yes, certainly you can. And if you want to do that in an impartial and unfevered atmosphere, it would be a good idea to do it on its own in a week or so’s time, and not mix it up with any of the tweet stuff, which is bound to derail the discussion if included.

    [BTW: just to avoid any misunderstanding, your other “William” isn’t me.]

  43. First thanks to Wotts and his commenters for level-headedness in discussing this issue that is grossly absent at Kloor’s, which just turned in to a Dana hatefest. As I noted several times there, my initial Tweet was poorly worded (not that Kloor cares about that admission – he’s too busy being tribalistic). But let me expand on that point here. What I should have said, had I the characters needed to say it, was something like this:

    ‘Six tornado experts wrote an Op-Ed in which they criticized misleading comments made by Richard Muller. Their criticisms also apply to comments made by Roger Pielke Jr. on his blog, in Congressional testimony, and possibly elsewhere.’

    My Tweet said they were criticizing Pielke, which directly they were not. As Rachel noted, they said “high-profile scientists”, and the first that came to my mind as making this type of argument was Pielke. But the jump to Pielke was mine, not necessarily theirs, so I shouldn’t have worded the Tweet implying they were necessarily criticizing Pielke. The accurate statement is that they were criticizing arguments like those made by Pielke. I have apologized to Brooks for this error.

    Tom, I appreciate you linking to those better examples of Pielke making the specific arguments their OpEd criticized. That said, Brooks does agree that Pielke’s testimony was wrong. Or at least he wouldn’t make the statement Pielke made.

    What bothers me about the whole thing is the double standard. I did write a poorly worded Tweet that started the whole kerfuffle, so some criticism is deserved. That said, I’ve repeatedly admitted my error. The point I was trying to make is nevertheless accurate. Pielke is guilty of making the types of comments criticized by Brooks et al., and he refuses to admit it. He keeps trying to shift attention to his papers, which have the important caveats that we can’t say anything definitive about tornado intensity because the data suck. Yet on his blog and in his Congressional testimony, he made those definitive statements.

    He’s been extremely evasive about this, and almost nobody is holding his feet to the fire. Instead they’re attacking me for “dirty character assassination” and the like for a poorly worded Tweet that I’ve admitted wasn’t accurately worded. It would be nice to at least see a similar level of scrutiny directed at Pielke from those who claim to be “skeptics”.

  44. Joshua says:

    wotts –

    “It certainly seems that Roger does say things that appear misleading. He may not intend to do so, and may well believe that what he says is consistent with evidence, but that doesn’t imply that it’s not misleading.”

    I think that there is a subtle conflation there that is maybe worthy of note. Dana’s tweet was that Roger (and Muller) are misleading. I think that implies some willful intent – and it certainly seems that Dana thinks that Roger is deliberately misleading. It is possible to say that a person is being misleading without implying that they are intending to be misleading – but I doubt that’s the case here. Saying that someone’s testimony is misleading (as opposed to saying that the person is misleading) is probably somewhat less likely to imply intent.

    I appreciate that you are careful to explicitly state caveats – such as you did above (“He may not intend to do so”).

    When people fail to explicitly state those kinds of caveats such as happened with Dana (and as Roger often does and as he did with his statement about Dana “lying”) – whether they are a “skeptic” or a “realist,” – they contribute to the soap opera/junior high school lunchroom food fight aspect of the climate wars. Although I think that it is inevitable that these kinds of skirmishes will dominate the blogospheric debate about climate change, I do think that it might help, marginally, if people hold others on their “side” accountable for including the kinds of caveats that you are careful to include.

  45. Joshua says:

    Dana –

    “My Tweet said they were criticizing Pielke, which directly they were not. As Rachel noted, they said “high-profile scientists”, and the first that came to my mind as making this type of argument was Pielke. But the jump to Pielke was mine, not necessarily theirs, so I shouldn’t have worded the Tweet implying they were necessarily criticizing Pielke. The accurate statement is that they were criticizing arguments like those made by Pielke. I have apologized to Brooks for this error.”

    I think that this misses the point. It is one thing to say that their findings are inconsistent with RPJr.’s. It is another to say that RPJr is “misleading.” It is also another to say that his testimony is “misleading.”

    When you speak to Roger’s intent – something which you actually don’t know – you open yourself up for this type of nonsense. In fact, it is more or less guaranteed that this kind of nonsense will ensue. Of course, nonsense will also ensue if you merely state that his testimony was inconsistent with the findings of Brooks et. al – but at least you aren’t being unscientific in drawing conclusions without having sufficient evidence to support those conclusions (i.e., what Roger’s intent is or isn’t).

    Just as I frequently ask Judith Curry, who says that her intent is to “build bridges,” to evaluate the outcomes of her participation in the the climate wars, I would ask you the same. You repeatedly get involved in these kinds of childish back-and-forths. Do you think that your role in these interactions convinces anyone of anything about climate change? The reaction to your tweet would have been easily predictable.

  46. William Connelly,

    You might want to try re-reading your post. It certainly *reads* as though that’s exactly what you’re trying to do.

    I don’t think that’s quite fair. I’m certainly not suggesting that Dana’s tweet was correct or even well thought out. The post is about whether or not the intent of the tweet had any merit.

    So, just to be clear: have you since retracted your re-tweet?

    I haven’t deleted it, if that’s what you mean. Once I’ve put something out there, I’d rather it stayed there. I can’t take that back. However, it’s clear that Dana’s initial tweet was factually incorrect, therefore if I should apologise for retweeting it, I should do so. Okay, so I retweeted a factually incorrect tweet. I apologise.

    Yes, certainly you can. And if you want to do that in an impartial and unfevered atmosphere, it would be a good idea to do it on its own in a week or so’s time, and not mix it up with any of the tweet stuff, which is bound to derail the discussion if included.

    This may be a fair point. I don’t claim that I always think the consequences of my posts through completely. I do, however, think that I do my best to put sufficient caveats into my posts to make it clear when something is an opinion and when I think there’s sufficient evidence to make a more substantive statement. I’m also always happy to be convinced that something I’ve said is wrong or unfair.

    Has this post made things worse? I don’t know. Maybe. That wasn’t the intent and, to be honest, I’m still slightly taken aback that what I write get’s noticed at all – although, it’s probably time that I recognised that people do read this and should put more thought into when I choose to write something. Having said that, I think this is an important issue. This is also a debate where many seem quite comfortable saying things without considering what they say or the impact of what they say. I’m not suggesting that that means I shouldn’t take that into account, but I don’t think this post is particularly egregious in that regard.

  47. Joshua, I disagree that ‘misleading’ implies intent. My interpretation of the word is ‘being led to a mistaken conclusion’. It has nothing to do with intent. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s not how I interpret the word. The official definition (so says Google) is “giving the wrong idea or impression”, which says nothing about intent.

    I always avoid words that imply intent like “lying”. Lying requires that the person making the statement knows that it’s false. I think in most cases, even for most deniers, people believe what they’re saying, as blatantly wrong as it might be. With some exceptions (Pat Michaels comes to mind), people don’t intend to be wrong or misleading. It’s usually a result of judgment being clouded by bias.

    If I’m wrong about the usual definition/interpretation of the word, then I agree it was a bad choice. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t imply intent, in which case I think it was the correct choice.

  48. >> It certainly *reads* as though that’s exactly what you’re trying to do.
    > I don’t think that’s quite fair.

    And I wouldn’t want this to get dragged into a close examination of your exact wording. However, I’m giving you my honest impression of your post. Here’s why it sounds like that to me:

    1. *Before* you get into who-is-right, you start off with some RP-is-wrong stuff: “Of course, Roger’s work seems to never include any actual physics … then seems to imply that because there’s been no increase in damage/cost, there’s been no increase in intensity”.

    2. Then you post RP’s tweet, and follow it with “If one was being pedantic, one could argue that it’s not clear in what way what Dana said could be regarded as a lie with respect to Roger” which really reads like excuse-making to me. I think its easy to see how DN’s tweet can be interpreted as a lie; its certainly a plausible interpretation.

    3. Then you say “Everyone seems to want Dana to apologise to Roger, but it seems that if he were to apologies to anyone it should be to the authors of the article for suggesting they said something that they didn’t.” Which is you defending DB against needing to apologise to RP.

    So it looks to me as though all your mood-music and more is pro-DN and anti-RP. That’s why I say it *reads* as though you’re trying to defend DN.

    On point 3, BTW, I think you’re definitely wrong: DN definitely owes an apology to RP, not weasel words.

    > Has this post made things worse?

    Oh, I’m not claiming that. Far from it.

  49. Harold Brooks says:

    I wouldn’t say that Roger’s testimony was wrong. (And to be fair, the tornado bit is a small part of the testimony.) There is some evidence to suggest strong tornadoes are less frequent. I don’t think it’s compelling evidence and, as a result, I wouldn’t phrase things the way he did. When I give talks, I talk about the raw observations and why I think there’s strong evidence that they don’t tell the complete story. If I have to summarize my position in a sound bite, it’s we can’t tell if there are more or fewer strong tornadoes, but there’s stronger evidence for increased variability in recent years (work in progress.)

  50. Joshua says:

    Dana –

    I think that most people interpret intent when you say that someone is misleading. Perhaps it is less likely if you call their statements misleading – but even there, I’d guess that most people would interpret intent.

    Regardless, I think that you should be well-aware that “skeptics” will jump to defense if you leave any ambiguity as to whether you are implying an intent to mislead. The rule of thumb should be to explicitly state caveats.

    But I am a descriptivist, not a proscriptivist. ‘When Roger writes a post that many of his readers, those supportive of him, interpret to describe breach of ethics on the part of scientists or journal editors, the bottom line is that whether he “intended” such or not, he is responsible for those outcomes and correcting for those outcomes.

    If you, being who you are in this context, call someone misleading, even if you call their statements misleading, it is easily predictable that “skeptics” will respond in the way that they have here. It is easily predictable that someone like Kloor will accuse you of “character assassination.”

    It is likely that if you merely stated that Roger’s testimony was inconsistent with Brooks et. al’s findings as opposed to say that Roger, or Muller “are” misleading, you would have still been likely to get unproductive reactions, but perhaps the outcomes would have been marginally less juvenile and unproductive.

  51. Rachel says:

    What should you do if you retweet a tweet with a mistake in it? This is an interesting question. Unless it’s something particularly egregious I don’t think the person should retract their tweet. They should probably point out the mistake in a new tweet or a maybe in a blog post as is the case here.

  52. Joshua says:

    And Dana –

    I think in most cases, even for most deniers, people believe what they’re saying, as blatantly wrong as it might be.

    This seems somewhat muddled to me. Calling someone a “denier,” to me, implies that someone is actively and willfully “denying” something that they know to be true. That would be distinguishable from the more passive phenomena of confirmation bias or motivated reasoning – which are biases that affect us all.

    Whether there is some “objective” truth about our differing interpretations is rather beside the point. You must be aware that people respond to the use of the term “denier” as implying a willful action of denying something someone knows to be true.

    You will keep walking into these handbag fights, over and over, if you don’t acknowledge that reality. It matters little what the dictionary says.

  53. Joshua says:

    Rachel –

    What should you do if you retweet a tweet with a mistake in it?

    Stop tweeting?

  54. William:

    “imprecise” is lying by omission / disinformation.

    Not sure I entirely follow. My Tweet was wrong because it was imprecise (as explained in my comment above). I guess I could have clarified precisely what was wrong about it sooner. I got caught up doing that on Kloor’s blog rather than on Twitter (obviously easier to expand on this sort of issues in blog comments than with the 140 character Twitter limit). As noted above, I apologized to Brooks on Twitter and clarified the error there, and in the comments here, and at Kloor’s.

    Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion of course. If this series of events makes you feel you can’t trust anything I say, well, that’s unfortunate.

  55. Joshua:

    “It is likely that if you merely stated that Roger’s testimony was inconsistent with Brooks et. al’s findings as opposed to say that Roger, or Muller “are” misleading, you would have still been likely to get unproductive reactions, but perhaps the outcomes would have been marginally less juvenile and unproductive.”

    I agree. That’s similar to how I phrased the way I wish I had said it, in my comment above. The “misleading” was a quote from the OpEd, but as previously noted, only intended to specifically apply to Muller (and other unnamed “high-profile scientists”).

    Harold, Congressional testimony aside, on his blog Pielke has made the same specific argument you criticized in your OpEd, as shown in the links provided by Tom in the third comment above.

    http://wottsupwiththatblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/misleading/#comment-10476

    As I said, when I read your OpEd, the first person who came to my mind was Pielke. My suggestion that you had him in mind was a mistake, obviously not true and poor wording. Though perhaps “high-profile scientists” wasn’t the best word choice in the OpEd if you were only thinking of Muller :-)

  56. Joshua:

    “This seems somewhat muddled to me. Calling someone a “denier,” to me, implies that someone is actively and willfully “denying” something that they know to be true.”

    Again we’re getting into your interpretation of words, which I don’t agree with. If a person is in denial that they have a drug or alcohol problem, do you think that’s willful? I don’t. Denial generally isn’t a willful act. It’s primarily a subconscious, defensive reaction.

  57. Barry Woods says:

    Hi Rachel, simplest thing is to tweet a correction, or update (say a blog link) (maybe with link to your own retweet/tweet.

    if you think you made a big error, a simple immediate apology/quick correction goes a long way.

    As an example, I gave Richard Black a hard time about one of his article about a report, that had got retweeted, and then I found out was year old(and was correct at the time)
    My only excuse was the tweet was on the exact same day and month ! (but not year).a quick sincere apology. and explanation, and an apology was acccepted.

    Knowing the person helps a bit as well (ie you get to know tone, sincerity, intentions) Richard had previously thanked me by email for defending him (and the BBC) after Joe Romm attacked one of his articles.

    anybody/everybody makes mistakes, it how they handle themselves afterwards that is often telling.

  58. Joshua says:

    Dana –

    The “misleading” was a quote from the OpEd, but as previously noted, only intended to specifically apply to Muller (and other unnamed “high-profile scientists”).

    Again, I think that misses the point. Saying that Muller is “misleading” will be interpreted by many as implying intent – particularly given the context of the climate wars, and particularly coming from you.

    At some point you have to weigh the outcomes from your actions against your intent. I have said he same to RPJr. and to Judith. Roger’s intent is to lessen the degree to which science is politicized. I’d say that his efforts in that regard are, in balance, quite counterproductive. Judith’s is to “build bridges” to careful science. I’d say that her efforts in that regard are, in balance, quite counterproductive.

    I would guess that your intent is to help people to accurately understand the risks of ACO2 emissions. So then you might consider the outcomes from this kind of bickering as measured against your intent. In my assessment, this kind of reaction was highly predictable. If you think that the outcomes further your intent, keep doing the same. I wouldn’t be in agreement, however, and think that you would be better served considering how to avoid these types of skirmishes in the future.

    I think that the overall trajectory of the debate will not be significantly affected by what you do or don’t tweet, or how people do or don’t react to what you tweet. The forces at play in influencing the outcomes of the climate wars are numerous and complex and many of them (like short-term weather phenomena) carry a great deal of their own momentum. But while what you do in these situations may not turn around the ship of climate change policy, you can still conduct a cost/benefit analysis of your own actions.

  59. Joshua says:

    er… “prescriptivist.”

    Good thing for me (at least sometimes) the correct dictionary definition is frequently not as relevant in the real world as how people interpreted my words independently of dictionary definitions. :-)

  60. Harold, thanks for the comment and the clarification. I certainly wasn’t implying that Roger’s testimony was wrong. I also, just to be clear, am certainly not claiming any intent to mislead. It does seem, however, that Roger’s statement with regards to Tornado intensity is not, strictly speaking, consistent with the evidence. Maybe a minor issue, but then that would imply an easy one to resolve amicably.

  61. nnoxks says:

    I hope this post survives moderation. My intent is not character assassination, but rather to point out what everyone seems to be tiptoeing about–that this sort of faux outrage is Mr. Pielke Jr.’s standard mode of operation. He walks the line carefully, making statements the implications of which are clear as can be, but then, if called out on those implications, invariably responds with “I never said that, you’re lying.” Many who have interacted with Mr. Pielke Jr. (as have many of the commentators here, I am sure) have had this experience. Stephen Schneider certainly did, and I have no doubt that his private correspondence regarding Mr. Pielke Jr. is familiar to many readers here.

    I disagree with many of the commentators here that DN’s initial text was even egregiously incorrect. In fact, it is logically defensible. If “A” says “B” is wrong, and “C” has said the same thing (or nearly the same thing) as “B”, and I tweet that “A” says both “B” and “C” are wrong, that actually seems a pretty defensible statement. Certainly not so misleading as to cause a blog kerfluffle on this scale.

  62. Joshua says:

    Dana –

    We are fast approaching the point of talking past each other – but I’ll offer this response in hopes it might change that trend.

    Again we’re getting into your interpretation of words, which I don’t agree with. If a person is in denial that they have a drug or alcohol problem, do you think that’s willful?

    That’s a complicated question. Is their failure to integrate information (say that they are alienating family and destroying their earning capacity) willful? Yes. In the sense that their operative intent is to maintain their addictive behavior. Is their “intent” to engage in a behavior that more than likely causes them great harm? No.

    So I don’t think there is a clear answer there – but beyond that, why is the question even useful? Is the analogy useful?

    What we know is that “skeptics” will interpret “intent” when you call them a “denier” or say that they are “misleading.” Hell, I would (and did) interpret your intent the same.

    For me, the distinction between a “skeptic” and a “denier” is that a “denier” is willfully denying something as an explicit act. That’s why I don’t use the term “denier” for anyone that I don’t know. Of course, that is my own personal outlook,.

    Do I actually know your intent? No. But I will interpret your intent, and in predicable ways. Unless we’ve personally interacted so that I get more information from you – I can only go on the basis of how I interpret the words you use.

    The way to eliminate any of these ambiguities – at least at a surface level, is to be careful to avoid ambiguous language and to state caveats explicitly. In particular given what you already know about this context.

    Whether you think that using the term “denier” implies intent or not actually becomes fairly immaterial if you know that is how people interpret your use of the word and yet you continue using it. That doesn’t mean that you should, necessarily, stop using the word. I don’t stop putting “skeptics” in quotes even though I know that some “skeptics” will think that means I am calling them liars. But the bottom line is that some actions have predictable outcomes. So then you weight the outcomes.

  63. OPatrick says:

    I largely agree with nnoxks’s comment, and indeed had a very similar one written that got lost before I posted.

    I also fear that William Connolley will have a lonely life trusting very few people if this is the level of standards by which he decides whether to trust people in the future.

  64. Jhan Deth says:

    nnoxks is spot on. The original paper may not single out RPj and literally say he is wrong but it does contradict his statements so by extension says he is wrong.

    Joe Schmo – “The Moon is made of cheese!”
    Joe Scientist – “This geologic study says you are wrong”

    Sure NASA probably does not directly say anything about Joe Schmo, but this is a pretty standard way of speaking in American English.

  65. > I would have much more confidence in what Roger presented if it didn’t always seems to rely on his own papers.

    In a more scientific setting, the technique is called “Pielke’s all the way down”:

    Note that we have a chain, Klotzbach Pielke Pielke Christy & McNider 2009 to Matsui & Pielke 2005 to Eastman Coghenour & Pielke 2001 to Mahrer & Pielke 1977.

    You can’t fool me Mr. Feynmann. It’s Pielke’s all the way down.

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.ca/2009/08/pielkes-all-way-down.html

  66. nnoxks says:

    OPatrick – seconded on the weasel’s trust issues. His comment struck me as a little eye-roll-worthy.

  67. William,

    *Before* you get into who-is-right, you start off with some RP-is-wrong stuff: “Of course, Roger’s work seems to never include any actual physics … then seems to imply that because there’s been no increase in damage/cost, there’s been no increase in intensity”.

    Okay, I can’t deny that this post is more on Dana’s side than on Roger’s. The above was really just to point out that in the time that I’ve been more closely aware of this debate, this seems to be the case (my impression, rather than something that I would claim to be definitively true). Torrential rain in Colorado, Roger pops up to point out the flood was only a 1 in 100 year flood, not 1 in 1000. Typhoon Haiyan, no link with global warming. Here, not many were actually making this case, but were using it as an example of what we might see more of. I’m not suggesting that what Roger says is technically wrong, but continually “correcting” any association between global warming and extreme events seems to be interpreted by some as implying that there is definitely no link, rather than it’s very tricky to show a link. I can’t claim that Roger’s work doesn’t contain any physics as I haven’t looked at it all, but I think everything I have seen seems to be simply statistical analyses of data.

    Then you post RP’s tweet, and follow it with “If one was being pedantic, one could argue that it’s not clear in what way what Dana said could be regarded as a lie with respect to Roger” which really reads like excuse-making to me. I think its easy to see how DN’s tweet can be interpreted as a lie; its certainly a plausible interpretation.

    I should probably have been more careful here. Using the term “pedantic” was meant to suggest that my argument was maybe not particularly strong. I do think it’s correct that what Dana got wrong was to claim that the authors “say”, rather than imply. Has Roger said some of the things that are criticised in the article? It certainly seems that way, hence it seems hard to argue that what Dana was intending to suggest was a lie.

    Then you say “Everyone seems to want Dana to apologise to Roger, but it seems that if he were to apologies to anyone it should be to the authors of the article for suggesting they said something that they didn’t.” Which is you defending DB against needing to apologise to RP.

    So it looks to me as though all your mood-music and more is pro-DN and anti-RP. That’s why I say it *reads* as though you’re trying to defend DN.

    On point 3, BTW, I think you’re definitely wrong: DN definitely owes an apology to RP, not weasel words.

    Okay, if it was me I would have apologised and tried to move on. Should Dana have apologised? Yes, maybe by stating that the authors had criticised Pielke Jr when they hadn’t is worthy of an apology. I’ll grant you that. I don’t think Pielke Jr helped matters, but that doesn’t mean Dana shouldn’t have apologised. I will say, however, that so few seem to acknowledge anything in this debate so that Dana’s still (in my opinion at least) ahead on that score – although, maybe that’s my bias coming through again.

    To be honest, I’ve ultimately found this all quite unfortunate. In retrospect, I’d probably rather have not written this post, but I have and so it’s there for posterity. I doubt that it’s helped in any way but I think it’s also shown that few are actually particularly keen to improve the dialogue. It all seems to be a bit tit-for-tat.

  68. BBD says:

    Conclusion: Twitter ye not!

    (With apols to F Howerd)

  69. I am researching infinitesimally small teacups for this, climate change induced, infinitesimally small tempest.

  70. BG says:

    BG,

    At this point, with all due respect, I think with this whole thread, we need to call upon that other William, the bard, as in “Much Ado About Nothing.”

  71. Rachel says:

    What nnoxks said and one more thing. I’m curious as to why the criticism is all directed at one side as always seems to be the case with these twitter spats. Roger replied to Dana’s tweet with this: “Rather than lying about me on Twitter….”. This is far more inflammatory in my view than Dana’s tweet. He could easily have said something like, “I think you’ve made a mistake”.

    I really don’t understand why this is a big deal at all. Someone tweeted something with a fairly innocuous mistake which was later corrected.

    BBD,
    Twitter is great. You haven’t read any of Boring Tweeter’s tweets.

    https://twitter.com/b0ringtweets

  72. I’m glad you wrote the post. Even if it’s biased in my favor, that would offset some of the massive pro-Pielke bias in Kloor’s post. At worst you’re restoring balance to the climate blogosphere. Plus this post reminded me to apologize to Brooks, so that was a positive outcome.

    I certainly don’t agree that Pielke deserves an apology. If he had simply protested “that article didn’t specifically criticize me”, he might have deserved an apology. I would have probably said “you’re right, my mistake, I’m sorry.” But after the number of times he’s called me a liar and worse over the past 24 hours, in my mind he’s forfeited any right to an apology. Maybe that’s petty of me, but that’s how I see it.

    While I agree with nnoxks et al. on substance, the real travesty is that my poorly-worded Tweet allowed Pielke and Kloor and the deniers to focus on the perceived offense, hence ignoring that substantively my point was accurate and the OpEd criticzed the exact sort of tornado comments Pielke has made in the past. He’s also made similar comments about hurricanes and other types of extreme weather, as Wotts notes always downplaying the human contribution and threat, implying that absence of evidence is evidence of absence. The big mistake was giving Pielke the opportunity to shift the focus away from the substance.

  73. > I don’t think Pielke Jr helped matters

    OK, since you’re being pretty good about this, I’ll talk on the other side for a moment, which is roughly “this sort of faux outrage is Mr. Pielke Jr.’s standard mode of operation”. I don’t think RP is showing any outrage, faux or otherwise. But he is being very deliberately hard-edged about it, as he often is. He’s taking a very hard determined literal interpretation of DN’s words (as he is fully entitled to; and in fact I think its exactly what he should do; but that’s me, and I can easily see that others would disagree). If he wanted to be soft and compliant, he could easily have accepted “oh, you didn’t really mean it” or somesuch. But its no good DN, or anyone else, trying to say RP should change his style: if you’re not hard enough, don’t come on over.

  74. > in my mind he’s forfeited any right to an apology

    No. That’s utter bullshit. It doesn’t matter what he’s said back to you, that’s irrelevant. If you owed him the apology in the first place (you did), if you would have owed him an apology had he been all-cute-n-fluffy, then you owe him an apology now. Man up, and stop making excuses.

    This reminds me of the WUWT post where some denialist said “oh yeah, it was all fine to break the IPCC embargo on the AR5, because I didn’t agree with the text of the report”, and everyone sane told him he was not a very nice person (note self-censorship).

  75. Oh and by the way:

    The quote being disscussed comes from here:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/worst-nyt-story-on-climate-ever.html

  76. BBD says:

    Well, everyone (Wotts, WMC, DN) has made their positions clear. Perhaps now we can take a deep breath and smile beatifically at each other?

    I know this call for peace and harmony is extremely uncharacteristic of me, but I do hate to see people I much admire gnawing on each other for little solid reason.

  77. Joshua says:

    So, WC –

    “He’s taking a very hard determined literal interpretation of DN’s words (as he is fully entitled to; and in fact I think its exactly what he should do;”

    Obviously you would agree, then, that RPJr. “owes” Dana an apology for his comment about “lying?”

    This is all beyond ridiculous = grown men acting like children.

  78. William says:

    Bbd,

    I know this call for peace and harmony is extremely uncharacteristic of me, but I do hate to see people I much admire gnawing on each other for little solid reason.

    Don’t worry , in the climategate emails they showed the behind the scenes gnawing.

  79. William

    But its no good DN, or anyone else, trying to say RP should change his style: if you’re not hard enough, don’t come on over.

    Roger seems to be tweeting to suggest that some people (myself and others I assume) are trying to discredit his work (which is not correct I would argue – I have no issue with his paper) and that these people (me and some others again I guess) are climate zealots. I agree that one shouldn’t expect Roger to change his style (although, to be fair, I’m only really just starting to learn what that is) but I’m not sure I’d equate it with being hard. I would expect tough people to respond better to criticism.

  80. Joshua says:

    ” I agree that one shouldn’t expect Roger to change his style (although, to be fair, I’m only really just starting to learn what that is) but I’m not sure I’d equate it with being hard. I would expect tough people to respond better to criticism.”

    Agreed. And at any rate, that looked like macho posturing to me.

    IMO, all this stuff about being “hard” or “soft” or who “owes” who an apology (which all seems like treating adults like little children with hurt feelings) is beside the point and so incredibly banal.

    The point is distinguishing fact from opinion and clarifying statements when people fail to hold that line.

    As BBD spoke to, people should be focused on the relevance of the science – not hurt feelings and handbag fights.

    At one level this is about a scientific debate, but it is so piled under with personality politics, ego spats, and finger-pointing, that the scientific debate mostly gets lost.

  81. Joshua, indeed it should really be about the science. One could argue that apologising and trying to resolve conflicts would aid the debate, but that would require both parties to want to do that.

    I was actually reading a bit more of Roger’s paper to see if I missed something. It seems fairly clear that it says

    However, we can definitively state that there is no evidence of increasing normalized tornado damage or incidence on climatic time scales.

    It also says (as I think others have pointed out)

    The degree to which this decrease is the result of an actual decrease in the incidence of strong tornadoes is difficult to assess due to inconsistencies in reporting practices over time. However, an examination of trends within sub-periods of the dataset is suggestive that some part of the long-term decrease in losses may have a component related to actual changes in tornado behaviour. Further research is clearly needed to assess this suggestion.

    So, as Tom points out, the latter part of Roger’s senate statement seems consistent with what his paper concludes.

    It also quote the IPCC and says

    The most recent review by the IPCC found no basis for claiming an increase (or decrease) in tornado incidence or intensity (IPCC, 2012).

    So, having looked at Roger’s paper again, I’m still failing to see how his senate statement is 100% consistent with his paper (with respect to intensity at least). Maybe, given what Harold says, we should just acknowledge that his senate statement wasn’t wrong and maybe this isn’t a big deal. If so, however, it would seem not a big deal for Roger to acknowledge that his paper doesn’t really address intensity. Anyway, that’s unlikely to happen.

  82. > RPJr. “owes” Dana an apology for his comment about “lying?”

    No, because as I’ve already said I essentially agree with RP’s comment.

    > Roger seems to be tweeting to suggest that some people (myself and others I assume) are trying to discredit his work…

    The only tweet of RP’s I’ve seen in this storm is the one you quote, which is clearly addressed to @dana1981, not you. Have I missed some others? Its entirely possible.

    > I would expect tough people to respond better to criticism.

    Well, RP has specifically offered to discuss the science under question on his blog, if you want to. I don’t think DN’s original twet can be called constructive criticism that could be responded to: it was simply a direct attack, and got the response it deserved.

    Just to be clear: while (as I said) it looks to me that you’re “on DN’s side” I don’t think you’re even close to the line of attacking RP or trying to discredit his work; and you remain (as usual) a voice of moderation and sanity in the comment thread. Your ability to reconsider what you’ve said and admit your interlocutor (note I didn’t say “opponent”) may have a good point is exemplary.

  83. William, to be fair to Roger, he’s been sending out isolated tweets (a few hours ago) with comments about climate zealots attacking his work. They’re not actually addressed to anyone, so maybe he’s not referring to this, but it seems reasonable to assume that he is. I am, however, not criticising him if he is. I can’t imagine that he’s very happy with my post and if that’s how he wants to respond, that’s fine with me.

    I know he’s offered to discuss things at his blog and I did consider going over there, but I can’t imagine I’d be all that welcome. The other point is that I don’t have an issue with his paper. My issue is whether or not what he says with respect to the paper is strictly speaking 100% consistent with what the paper claims. I know he says that can be discussed, but I suspect it will end up taking us back into the realms of whether or not Dana’s initial tweet had any merit (wrt to misleading statements at least) and I can’t imagine that that will end well.

    I’m also, I must admit, a little worn out :-)

  84. For what it’s worth, I never really understood the expression “you how X an apology”, unless the X has the same referent as “you”. That is, one should apologize for one’s own sake.

    It also helps to add a complement: one apologizes for something done and for consequences that this entailed. It may even be considered mandatory: showing specificity and empathy in the self-reflection that ensues is the key to a felicitous apology.

    Dana’s

    > If he had simply protested “that article didn’t specifically criticize me”, he might have deserved an apology.

    certainly does not abide by this way of understanding how apologies work.

    In our current situation, Dana’s apology would have the added benefit of shifting of rendering Junior’s flummoxed grandstanding quite moot and to shift the spotlight on the claim that some may still consider misleading.

  85. Joshua says:

    WC –

    “…and got the response it deserved….”:

    This is why I think this is all so counterproductive. People are searching for and focusing on some kind of vindication – for evidence of what is “deserved” or what isn’t “deserved.”

    If we interpret statements literally, as you suggested should be done, then both Roger and Dana spoke as a scientist shouldn’t – because they made certain statements about intent when they lacked supporting evidence to conclude intent.

    If we take an approach of trying to advance mutual understanding, and of focusing on the science, then we can get past handbag fights about what is “deserved” or “underserved” to recognize that there is actually a legitimate debate under all of that squabbling about who was “right” or who was righteous – which is banal and ultimately not something that can be determined in any conclusive way and simply will not advance the larger debate in any meaningful fashion.

    It should be so simple for people to discuss these issues on scientific terms. It’s fascinating that it turns out to be so incredibly difficult.

  86. > Roger… sending out isolated tweets

    I’m not very good at twitter. But OK, I’ve now found

    “@ReinerGrundmann Thanks, @keithkloor & @wottsupwiththat have blogged this sorry display. Lets see who actually wants to discuss tornadoes;-)”

    which I think looks good for you: in that he must be happy with KK’s stuff, and he’s grouping you with KK.

    And another: “It is flattering that the climate zealots think my work so important that they use every dirty trick in the book to try to discredit it.”

    That one is ambiguous, but I very much doubt he means you; I don’t think its possible to call you a zealot, or a user of dirty tricks.

    > at his blog

    I don’t think you should feel too guilty about not going over; he has a fairly poor record of venturing out of his home turf for this stuff (remember Prometheus!). He could talk here, if he wanted too.

  87. I still contend that Pielke’s testimony statement about tornado intensity not increasing is not correct (the rest of his tornado-related statements are probably fine). When asked if he would have made the same statement, Brooks said no (as shown above). However, Tom has identified better examples of Pielke on his blog making the exact types of arguments (claiming the most intense tornadoes are forming less frequently) that was criticized in the Brooks et al. OpEd. Confirming this, Brooks said the statement from Pielke’s blog was incorrect (as shown in my above comment). The Congressional testimony is just the first example I came up with, but this is the type of statement Pielke makes all the time (not just about tornados). We shouldn’t get too hung up on that one statement – there are many other better examples.

    I’m not commenting on his papers, which generally have important data quality caveats that he often omits in his public comments. I’m in no position to comment on the accuracy of his work either way. My criticisms (and those of Brooks et al.) deal with public comments that are (unintentionally) misleading.

  88. That one is ambiguous, but I very much doubt he means you; I don’t think its possible to call you a zealot, or a user of dirty tricks.

    That’s possible. Maybe I have mis-interpreted that one. Admittedly, I’ve been called many things simply because I happen to accept/understand the science associated with AGW, so it’s sometimes hard to tell :-)

  89. Joshua says:

    willard –

    Let me try to understand:

    “> For what it’s worth, I never really understood the expression “you how X an apology”, unless the X has the same referent as “you”. That is, one should apologize for one’s own sake.”

    In other words, if one is “sorry,” about an offense having occurred, they should be “sorry” for someone else taking offense, not for whether or not their “offense” was “deserved?”

    It reminds me of a dynamic I find occurring in arguments with my girlfriend.

    I sometimes find myself saying something on the order of: “I am sorry that you are unhappy and feel that I acted like a shithead, but I felt that my actions were justified.”

    I am inspired to try to say something more like: “I am sorry that you are unhappy and feel that I acted like a shithead, and accept responsibility for the actions that caused you to feel that way. I could have and should have acted differently to avoid that outcome, because I could have anticipated that you would have felt hurt.” (And to myself I am inspired to say: “Next time, stay focused on taking a more productive course of action instead of pursuing an illusory sense of vindication.”)

  90. tlitb1 says:

    @William Connolley December 5, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    You said:

    ———————————————————————————
    > Roger… sending out isolated tweets

    I’m not very good at twitter. But OK, I’ve now found

    “@ReinerGrundmann Thanks, @keithkloor & @wottsupwiththat have blogged this sorry display. Lets see who actually wants to discuss tornadoes;-)”
    ———————————————————————————-

    I think the reason RPJ pipped up again and started sending “isolated” tweets again on this subject was prompted by seeing the comment Dana Nuccitelli made on this blog above at December 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm.

    RPJ tweeted in response to that comment a couple of hours before the one you found. He said the following:

    “Please stop. @dana1981 “Brooks does agree that Pielke’s testimony was wrong” @hebrooks87 “I wouldn’t say that Roger’s testimony was wrong””

  91. > In other words, if one is “sorry,” about an offense having occurred, they should be “sorry” for someone else taking offense, not for whether or not their “offense” was “deserved?”

    “Sorry” might the best way to feel justified having done something one regrets. It reminds me of “Sorry, but I lost all respect for you”.

    For all practical purposes, sorriness makes one lose all sex appeal, unless it leads to this transactional game: A mistreats B and feels sorry, then rewards B and makes B wins until A mistreats B again, etc. It is a destructive relationship where the equilibrium is reached by two different dominant states.

    ***

    Other than that, I think you’re right: what matters is how we connect, not who wins.

    Dudes abide.

  92. That particular Tweet from Pielke in tlitb1’s comments was rather out of context. The next sentence said “Or at least he wouldn’t make the statement Pielke made” and I then provided the Brooks Tweet saying exactly that. Pielke left out some rather important information in that Tweet. One might call it misleading.

    It’s also a bit odd that Pielke was reading the comments here and then Tweeting about bits of them out of context rather than commenting here, where anybody can see the full context.

  93. Joshua says:

    WC –

    You say:

    I don’t think its possible to call you a zealot, or a user of dirty tricks.

    Hmmmm.

    “Paul Matthews says:
    December 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm
    I haven’t looked at your blog for ages, but this post confirms my previous assessment of you.
    If you were an honest scientist you would acknowledge that what Dana said wasn’t true.

    Many things are possible in the climate wars.

  94. Tom Curtis says:

    A lot of discussion to catch up with over night. I shall limit myself to some small points:

    1) Dana, the Stoat (WC) is right on one point – whether you should apologize or not does not depend on the subsequent behaviour of the person you offended against. Of course, subsequent behaviour may make the apology stick in your craw.

    2) Joshua, “misleading” says nothing about intent. If you want it to say something about intent, you stick the word “deliberately” in front of it. Many, or most people may over interpret the word, but it is perfectly acceptable to simply respond to them that they have over interpreted the word. Insisting that you change the meaning of the word to correspond with their misunderstanding simply bastardizes the language, limiting what was previously sayable. (The same is true of “denier”, which asserts somebody denies something, not that they lie in doing so.)

    3) Stoat, it is inconsistent to criticize Dana for “misleading” but not Pielke for “lie”. In fact the tornado expert article does indirectly imply that things Pielke has said on his blog at least are equivalent to the things said by Muller and criticized as “misleading”. Further, it is a standard shorthand to use “says” for “implies” or “indirectly implies” as neatly illustrated by Jhan Deth above. Therefore the greatest offense Dana can be reasonably accused of in the initial tweet of being inadvertently misleading, in that his form of words suggested something was said directly, when it was only indirectly implied. To call that a “lie” is offensive, more so that Dana’s comment in that “lie” definitely implies intent. To insist on calling it a lie after clarification is just Pielke’s standard, offensive and dishonest MO. And yet you say Pielke doesn’t need to change his style, but apparently Dana does? Give me a break.

  95. Tom Curtis says:

    Wotts, I would not regard it as possible to discredit Pielke’s work as his work IMO is not creditable in the first place. He still insists on using a normalization procedure for hurricane damages, for example, which treats 19th century wood, brick, late twentieth century hurricane resistant, and reinforced concrete construction as all equally susceptible to hurricane damage. The result is a trend in normalized damages which is almost certainly an artifact of defects in the normalization procedure.

  96. BBD says:

    Dudes abide.

    Inchoate, but oddly persuasive.
    ;-)

  97. Sou says:

    Isn’t it interesting how a single short tweet in a fast-moving stream of tweets can be the cause of so much discussion, in order to avoid the subject matter of testimony to the US government.

    Speaks to the relative importance of each, I suppose. Or at least the relative importance in the mind of some commenters :)

    And does anyone take KK seriously? He’s a lightweight lukewarmer journo (and a Curry sympathiser) who trades on disagreement – if it’s not there he foments it to get people to read him.

  98. nnoxks says:

    Mr. Connolley, certainly you are welcome to your own opinion of Mr. Pielke Jr.’s style. But it seems to aggravate even you from time to time. ;-) http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2013/04/01/rp-jr-is-a-tosser/

  99. Pingback: Nuccitelli’s Steisand Moment – Shub Niggurath Climate

  100. Sou says:

    To clarify my previous comment – this is an issue between two people which everyone else is jumping in on. Surely they can sort it out between themselves. Tweets are not science. Twitter is a fast moving stream and, although I can understand someone being upset if they believe they’ve been unfairly maligned, it’s also easy to use a tweet to distract from issues that are more important (to all but the person feeling aggrieved).

    This spat has been picked up on several blogs, like tweets have a habit of doing. Seems to me it’s done to distract from the main issue, which in this case was an op ed about a comment in another op ed about what will happen to the frequency of tornadoes. It wasn’t about a scientific paper. It was originally an op ed about “he shouldn’t have said xyz” in his op ed.

    It all seems a bit ridiculous to have numerous blog articles devoted tweets about an op ed about a comment in an op ed. Even the second op ed was about a small aspect regarding future climate, except for people who live in areas where the most important weather is tornadoes I suppose. And I guess for people who live in countries where tornadoes are common, since they have to bear the cost of preparedness, response and recovery.

    There are all sorts of storms. Perhaps someone can write a paper on whether storms in teacups are going to get more frequent and more intense as global warming kicks in.

  101. NikFromNYC says:

    Rats in a box.

  102. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    Here’s a dichotomy some people may find interesting. Dana Nuccitelli claimed Roger Pielke Jr. was misleading the American public. Remarks like this one are cited:

    Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950, and there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.

    The argument appears to stem from the fact while there is no evidence frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950 has increased, we can’t be sure it hasn’t. That’s true of most things. No matter how confident we may be of a conclusion we can rarely (if ever) be completely sure of it. That raises the questions 1) How sure do we have to be to use the wording Pielke used? 2) How sure are we?

    I don’t know. What I do know is Skeptical Science recently posted this article which promotes an upcoming television show. From it:

    Sure, SkS regulars may take issue with the 99% analogy used by James Cameron, rather than the 97% which frequently appears in the scientific literature, including our study, Cook et al (2013). And with the claim by Weintraub that hurricanes are twice as bad as they ever were (they’re not). Aside from these slight flaws it is encouraging to see one of the greatest filmakers of our time turn his talents toward communicating the urgency of combating climate change.

    Dana Nuccitelli is not Skeptical Science, but he is a major contributor there. As such, it seems reasonable to compare treatments. The trailer linked to in this article massively overstates results (that hurricanes are twice as bad as they ever were), and it gets labeled a minor flaw. Pielke used language that was imprecise and exaggerated to some (unstated) extent, and he gets accused of “misleading the American public.”

    In one case, a massive misrepresentation of science gets labeled a minor flaw, the source is excused, and its work is promoted. In another case, what is perhaps a mild exaggeration is enough to warrant going out of one’s way to attack a person not even tied to the material being discussed.

    I find the dichotomy interesting.

  103. Rob Painting says:

    “a massive misrepresentation of science gets labeled a minor flaw”

    Errr no, a slight flaw. It’s even in the text that you copied. Sheesh, with such horrendous misrepresentations why should anyone take you seriously? (LOL).

    Just so we’re clear; Weintraub is a non-expert and makes an unsubstantiated (and wrong) claim regarding climate. That’s very, very naughty. But a supposed expert, Roger Pielke jnr, makes unsubstantiated claims on a topic with which he is supposed to be familiar, but that’s not naughty. In fact that appears to be okay with you?

    Curious.

  104. > you say Pielke doesn’t need to change his style, but apparently Dana does?

    I didn’t suggest anyone change their style.

    > Mr. Connolley, certainly you are welcome to your own opinion of Mr. Pielke Jr.’s style.

    Dr Connolley to you. Or, if you’re incapable of getting titles right, just don’t use one at all. Ditto for RP.

    And why are you so obsessed by “style”? You’re not (I hope) a buch of teenage girls. Can’t you just read the words?

  105. I was going to make a general comment that also relates to Brandon’s comment.

    A number of people here have been quite critical of Dana, some of it fair, some maybe a bit harsh. Dana’s taken it on the chin and made perfectly reasonable responses. Overall, it seems as though it’s been reasonably constructive. I would like to think, therefore, that noone would conclude that this has been a Dana love-fest – I’d probably be wrong though.

    Brandon chooses to highlight a situation in which Sks categorically state that something in a video is wrong, but then criticises them for not concluding that this implies a major flaw. I haven’t seen the video, but if every documentary with an error was regarded as fundamentally flawed, I don’t think there’d be anything left to watch on TV.

    Brandon seems to acknowledge that what Roger said with respect to Tornado intensity may not be, strictly speaking, quite correct and yet chooses not to criticise Roger one little bit.

    That’s the kind of dichotomy that I find interesting.

  106. geronimo says:

    “I’m certainly not trying to defend Dana, as such…” If you’re not trying to defend Dana then why are you running his defence. He wrongly said that RP’s work had been castigated by experts which soon became apparent wasn’t true, so he switched his argument to RP’s testimony to Congress, so as to get himself off the hook, which to be honest isn’t a very mature way of dealing with a mistake, now with a passing nod at Dana’s libel of RP you go on to support the idea that his testimony to Congress was misleading in a 43 paragraph post. If you’re not defending him why are attacking his victim?

  107. Geronimo,

    He wrongly said that RP’s work had been castigated by experts which soon became apparent wasn’t true,

    True, and I’ve said that, as has Dana.

    If you’re not defending him why are attacking his victim?

    If you’d actually read the post, you would note that I’m not attacking Roger. Since you seem so keen on complete honesty and acknowledging errors, would you care to retract that suggestion?

  108. Tom Curtis says:

    WC:
    On why Dana should apologize:

    “I think you’re wrong here. “Tornado experts say @RogerPielkeJr and Richard Muller are misleading the American public” is simply wrong, by DN. He could simply have admitted it was an error, and withdrawn it.”

    On why Pielke has no need to apologize for calling Dana’s claim a “lie”, and ignoring corrections:

    “I don’t think RP is showing any outrage, faux or otherwise. But he is being very deliberately hard-edged about it, as he often is. He’s taking a very hard determined literal interpretation of DN’s words (as he is fully entitled to; and in fact I think its exactly what he should do; but that’s me, and I can easily see that others would disagree). If he wanted to be soft and compliant, he could easily have accepted “oh, you didn’t really mean it” or somesuch. But its no good DN, or anyone else, trying to say RP should change his style: if you’re not hard enough, don’t come on over.”

    It’s very simple, William – if style justifies all sorts “hard edged” commentary, ignoring of the fact that you have overstated you case in an offensive way etc, as Pielke typically does for Pielke, then it equally justifies Dana. And if expecting Pielke to respond reasonably and to apologize is asking him to change his style, then so also is asking the same thing of Dana. I know you like to have it both ways, but I expect a little more consistency. Either your criticism of Dana was hypocritical, or your exoneration of Pielke was without basis. There is no middle ground on this one.

  109. Tom Curtis says:

    First some background on Brandon Shollenberger:
    1) He is a regular commentator at WUWT; and
    2) He is an occasional guest author at WUWT.
    From this we can reasonably say that just as Dana is closely associated with SkS, so also is Shollenberger associated with WUWT. However,
    3) When Watts presented the slideshow of Murry Salby’s Hamburg lecture, Shollenberger makes not comments. In particular, he corrects no errors and he certainly does not correct the dishonest manipulation of scale ratios in his presentation.
    4) I have raised the issue of Salby’s dishonesty before in Shollenberger’s presence, and he indicated he could not have “passed over the issue in silence” because he did not know about it. That was long before the WUWT post, so now we know that he passes over dishonesty that suites his cause in silence, even when he knows about the issue.

    So, when it comes to the issue of correcting errors, Shollenberger has form – or rather he has clear form of not correcting the errors of his own side. In consequence, his challenge above is nothing if not hypocritical.

    Second, I think errors in popular presentations of science are a serious issue. I would be very disappointed with SkS if, having informed people of the program, they do not also inform people of errors in the program that come to their attention. Should they not do so, Shollenberger would have something of substance to raise. As it happens, however, SkS has already raised the issue of two errors from the trailer alone. So in addition to not practicing as he preaches with respect to SkS, Shollenberger is condemning SkS when it corrects the errors.

  110. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    Rob Painting, I have no idea what you’re trying to say in the first part of your comment. I didn’t use quotation marks so I had no obligation to use the same wording as you. That means the only issue is whether or not “minor flaw” is a fair portrayal of what you actually said: “slight flaw.” I can’t imagine anyone would say it is unfair to say minor as opposed to slight. Am I missing something?

    Just so we’re clear; Weintraub is a non-expert and makes an unsubstantiated (and wrong) claim regarding climate. That’s very, very naughty. But a supposed expert, Roger Pielke jnr, makes unsubstantiated claims on a topic with which he is supposed to be familiar, but that’s not naughty. In fact that appears to be okay with you?

    I quoted one remark, the remark I’ve seen repeatedly made an issue of. I explained how the one unsubstantiated claim in it was imprecise. I then raised two questions we’d need to answer in order to determine whether that imprecision was “wrong,” stating I don’t know the answer to them.

    How does that make it appear I’m okay with him making many unsubstantiated claims? I discussed only one claim. I left the question as to whether or not the claim was “wrong,” freely stating I don’t know. My point holds whether or not one feels Pielke was misleading so I didn’t see a point in delving into whether or not he was.

  111. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    wottsupwiththat, you’ve misunderstood my intention. You say:

    Brandon chooses to highlight a situation in which Sks categorically state that something in a video is wrong, but then criticises them for not concluding that this implies a major flaw. I haven’t seen the video, but if every documentary with an error was regarded as fundamentally flawed, I don’t think there’d be anything left to watch on TV.

    My intention wasn’t to criticize Skeptical Science for anything. I take no issue with what was written in that piece. I have no problem with it.

    My discussion was about Dana Nuccitelli’s behavior. Specifically, I discussed an apparent difference in standards he holds two sources to. My comment is based on the idea if Nuccitelli feels imprecision like Roger Pielke Jr’s is enough to be misleading, it is reasonable to expect him to speak up when the group he is part of promotes material with a far less accurate statement.

    I’ll try making the point again. This time I’ll only discuss Nuccitelli so it’s clear who I’m criticizing. A few months ago Nuccitelli wrote this article. In it, he said:

    President Obama even Tweeted about our results to his 31 million followers.

    The tweet was not actually from Obama, but that’s not the important point. The tweet falsely claimed the Cook et al paper, of which Nuccitelli was an author, shows 97% of scientists agree climate change is dangerous. Nuccitelli was obviously aware the paper showed nothing of the sort. Despite that, he felt no obligation to correct the tweet even while promoting it.

    Nuccitelli argues Pielke misled the American public by saying there is no increase “in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950″ rather than saying there is no evidence of such an increase. He apparently felt it was important enough to go out of his way to attack Pielke on the subject. I think it is fair to say that is dichotomous with him writing an article in which he promotes material he knows massively exaggerates the results of his own work.

  112. Brandon, I didn’t actually state your intention at all. I simply commented on your choice of criticising Sks for actually correcting an error (but not strongly enough it seems) while choosing not to explicitly criticise Roger.

    Let me make something very clear. I’m really not that interested in some lengthy exchange about this particular point. You’ve made an observation. I’ve made an observation. Others have commented. If the comments (from yourself and others) start to focus too much on this one minor issue, I just won’t approve them.

  113. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    Tom Curtis, I think you need to check your facts. You say:

    First some background on Brandon Shollenberger:
    1) He is a regular commentator at WUWT; and

    I am not a regular commentator at WUWT. I’ve only commented on a couple posts aside from the posts I authored or contributed to. I’d guess I’ve commented on a dozen posts there in the span of several years, and there has been no regularity to it.

    Off of factual matters:

    2) He is an occasional guest author at WUWT.
    From this we can reasonably say that just as Dana is closely associated with SkS, so also is Shollenberger associated with WUWT. However,

    This is silly. Dana Nuccitelli is a frequent author at Skeptical Science. He is listed on Skeptical Science’s team page. He is a moderator. He participates in the Skeptical Science forum. He is often described by his affiliation with Skeptical Science.

    I am none of those things.

    3) When Watts presented the slideshow of Murry Salby’s Hamburg lecture, Shollenberger makes not comments. In particular, he corrects no errors and he certainly does not correct the dishonest manipulation of scale ratios in his presentation.
    4) I have raised the issue of Salby’s dishonesty before in Shollenberger’s presence, and he indicated he could not have “passed over the issue in silence” because he did not know about it. That was long before the WUWT post, so now we know that he passes over dishonesty that suites his cause in silence, even when he knows about the issue.

    This is both baseless and offensive. I have never seen whatever post you are referring to. I rarely read WUWT, and I haven’t read any such post. Unless you’re resorting to mind-reading, you have absolutely no basis for this.

    Additionally, while you quote me as saying “passed over the issue in silence,” you don’t provide any reference for it. This is problematic as I know I’ve never said that before. I don’t think I’ve even seen it said before.

    So in addition to not practicing as he preaches with respect to SkS, Shollenberger is condemning SkS when it corrects the errors.

    As I’ve told our host, my intention was not to criticize Skeptical Science’s article. I take no issue with it. I discussed it to try to highlight something I see in Dana Nuccitelli’s behavior.

    I get my comment was poorly written, but your descriptions of me are not accurate.

  114. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    wottsupwiththatblog, I’m confused. I specifically told you, “I take no issue with what was written in that piece. I have no problem with it.” How could I make it more clear I wasn’t intending to criticize that piece?

    To make myself clear, I did not intend to criticize Skeptical Science. I do not have any problem with what was written in that piece. If it appears I have said otherwise, that was inadvertent, and I’m sorry for it.

  115. BBD says:

    Perhaps you forget, Brandon, that your commentary at Curry’s is also in the public domain?

  116. Brandon, I’m also confused. Let’s leave it at that.

  117. It is amusing to take the names of some posting here and slap them into Google and see what transpires. Some have outrage stuck on stun.

  118. Joshua says:

    Yes willard – good point about “sorry.” I’m sorry that you to read what I wrote. :-)

  119. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    BBD, I have no idea what you’re trying to say. Of course I know what I post at Judith Curry’s site is in the public domain.

    wottsupwiththatblog, alright.

  120. > Dr Connolley to you.

    Unless in a professional setting, “Mr.” is to be preferred:

    http://www.emilypost.com/forms-of-address/titles/96-guide-to-addressing-correspondence

    And even then, when used in a conversation, “Dr.” is oftentimes restricted to designate a person who studied (and practices) medicine.

    “Professor” Connolley would be proper, if not factually correct.

  121. Joshua says:

    Tom –

    ” Many, or most people may over interpret the word, but it is perfectly acceptable to simply respond to them that they have over interpreted the word. Insisting that you change the meaning of the word to correspond with their misunderstanding simply bastardizes the language, limiting what was previously sayable.”

    As I see it, you have two choices:

    (1) Knowing full well from past experiences that many or most people will misinterpret what you will say in a predictable way, say it anyway and then tell them that they over-interpreted the word, (and then later give them the dictionary definition of the word) or…

    (2) Knowing full well from past experiences that many or most people will misinterpret what you will say in a predictable way, change what you say and/or put in caveats.

    #2 seems more logical to me. You can still get exactly the same point across.

    You’re not going to bastardize the language by changing what you say or adding caveats in order to prevent misunderstandings and food fights. Wotts writes about not giving “skeptics” ammunition… well, saying that RPJr misleading or calling people “deniers” and then holding up dictionary definitions as if they provide some answer for inherently subjective interpretations is giving “skeptics” ammunition, IMO. This pattern repeats over and over.

    Dana says above that he could have simply said something along the lines of “Brooks’ findings are not consistent with RPJr.’s testimony.” I would guess that if he had just worded his comment in that fashion, RPJr. might have disagreed but not called Dana a “liar.” Maybe Keith wouldn’t be hand-wringing about “character assassination.” And maybe, perhaps, the discussion might have moved more quickly to the matter of science and not all this Peyton Place nonsense.

    Why defend the use of the term “misleading” (or “denier” for that matter)? It’s absolutely pointless, IMO. Learn from past mistakes and move on. Or don’t. If you think there is some benefit to be gained from using that language rather than accommodating to the predictable reactions, that’s your choice. But surely you must know that it will amount to same ol’ same ol’?

  122. > I think the reason RPJ pipped up again and started sending “isolated” tweets again on this subject was prompted by seeing the comment Dana Nuccitelli made on this blog above at December 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm.

    Dana Made Junior Do It.

  123. Mapleleaf2 says:

    Now, you all stand by Dana, you hear?
    The earth is doomed right now!

  124. > http://www.emilypost.com/

    I’m English. We don’t use your weird colonial rules.

  125. Tom Curtis says:

    Joshua, if you control the language, you control what can be said, or thought. Deniers know that. That is why they trump up absurd claims that when they are called “deniers” it is an attempt to associate them with holocaust denial, rather than a simple descriptive term indicating that they deny basic science. It is also why they call themselves “skeptics” even though they are not. As a matter of principle and of strategy, you can’t leave the definition of terms to them. If you do so, you will find that those terms always brand the scientific position as being fraudulent and false.

    If that were not enough to resist careless redefinition, the fact is that if you allow “mislead” to be defined as “intentionally mislead”, then you will soon find yourself unable to say “unintentionally mislead” without great circumlocution. You will find yourself with a language with a thousand synonyms for “lie” and no way to say that somebody simply created a a mistaken impression due to a poor choice of words (or whatever).

    Finally, there is no need to go into dictionaries. Anybody can see and acknowledge that “intentionally mislead” is not redundant, and “unintentionally mislead” is not a contradiction in terms. If they acknowledge that, they are if capable of reason forced also to acknowledge that “mislead” does not by itself speak to intention. And for those who choose not to reason, and hence cannot see this – well reason will never persuade them anyway.

  126. > We don’t use your weird colonial rules.

    These weren’t rules, but factual observations, e.g.:

    Holders of doctorates who work outside academia or research typically don’t insist on Dr. Neither a PhD in finance at a Bank & Trust Company nor a PhD in American history working for for Xerox is likely to insist on being addressed as Dr.

    http://www.formsofaddress.info/Doctorate.html

    Since Mr. Connolley’s PhD provides no authority for our current discussions, there is no obligation unless enforced by his whim. And even then, it works only once. After the first address “Mr.” or “Madam” is good for everyone. If that rule suffices to speak to the Queen, it ought to be enough for Mr. Connolley.

    ***

    We might wish to distinguish kinds of titles, types of settings, and channels of communication, but let’s not digress.

    If he insists, we’ll call Mr. Connolley our Stoatness.

  127. BBD says:

    Which is why WMC works best for me. There is guidance on this.

    I try to avoid offending people until I want to offend them. Then it’s okay.

  128. Ian Forrester says:

    Tom C, Lewis Carroll must have met a few deniers in his time, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to write about Humpty Dumpty so accurately:

    When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.

  129. > Mr. Connolley’s PhD

    [Mod : Okay, so the whole Dr. thing is getting a bit out of hand. I thought it was just a bit of a joke. Could we all just agree to drop it. It’s not really relevant. Just for clarity, I’ve removed, here, part of WC’s response to Willard which made it clear he wasn’t particularly pleased with Willard’s previous comment.]

    And I haven’t got a PhD.

  130. Jhan Deth says:

    This entire conversation has become tiresome and repetitive.

  131. nnoxks says:

    Try to be formal, end up not formal enough. Alright, sorry. I will just stick with “WC” “Stoat” or “the weasel” in future. Since I am American, our strange rules do apply to me; also, being American, it sticks in my craw to call anyone “Dr.” outside a lecture hall, classroom, or hospital. Although, “Your Stoatness” is pretty awesome; I could definitely use that form of address, if you prefer.

  132. chris says:

    The “Dr” thing is quite interesting. Although I’m a Dr I certainly don’t use the term in my day life. After all If I’m on a flight and someone starts having palpitations the last thing I want is some gay flight-attendant shaking me out of my slumber to attend the patient.

    I’d say that “Dr” in more common parlance should be used as a sign of respect. However if the person who has done some research of publishable quality for 3 years, written a thesis and made it through a viva, acts like a knob in any particular instance then perhaps they’re not deserving of the “Dr” appellation at that moment.

    So having perused this fascinating thread (with quite a light touch, so I might not have picked up every nuance) I suggest that it’s quite appropriate that Wm Connolley be devested of his “Dr” appellation for the duration…if he starts to make grown up arguments then the situation can be reconsidered.

    Personally speaking I think quite a few of the posters on this thread should spend some time on the naughty stool.

  133. andrew adams says:

    For those who complain about people here “defending” Dana, I think that pretty much everyone has accepted that his Tweet was badly worded and erroneously gave the impression that the article criticised Pielke personally, and no one has defended this.

    But I think it’s reasonable for people to argue in his defence that he did not mean to give this misleading impression and to recognise the argument he was trying to make, and to defend it if they think it is a fair argument. And of course if people don’t think it fair they are obviously entitled to criticise him on that basis.

    But this was a comment on Twitter, probably made in haste and subject to the usual restrictions of the medium and its lack of room for subtlety and nuance. So yeas, RP may have been entitled to be a bit pissed but it wouldn’t hurt people to be a bit charitable in their interpretation.

  134. it wouldn’t hurt people to be a bit charitable in their interpretation.

    That, in my opinion, pretty much sums up the whole global warming/climate change debate.

  135. andrew adams says:

    …and every other argument on the internet. GW/CC is not the worst.

  136. Andrew, indeed. But, seriously, GW/CC is not the worst? :-)

  137. BBD says:

    I’ve inadvertently puzzled Brandon Shollenberger:

    BBD, I have no idea what you’re trying to say.

    I’m trying to say that you are prone to confusion and error, Brandon. Which causes me (and others) to discount your commentary rather heavily. I had thought that was obvious, but since you ask, this is intended as clarification.

  138. BBD says:

    If I might say (hopefully) the last word on the naming and entitling of WMC, he has been the target of endless buckets of vitriol over the years, which might explain why he has fixed views on appellation. As Andrew rightly suggests, empathy and understanding are in all-to short a supply on the battlefield.

  139. Joshua says:

    “This entire conversation has become tiresome and repetitive.”

    Unlike what usually takes place in the climate blogosphere!

  140. How odd. The doctorates I know in the UK regard the use of Dr, for anyone outside the medical profession, as pretentiously American. I shall stick with “Oi! You!” in future.

  141. nnoxks says:

    “[H]e has been the target of endless buckets of vitriol over the years, which might explain why he has fixed views on appellation.”

    I would like to think that most of the commentators on the Dr. issue are prodding WMC in a gentle and relatively friendly manner. All due respect to the mighty Stoat, who has indeed been at the front lines for a long time.

  142. verytallguy says:

    Per Chris above,

    Off to your naughty steps.

  143. John, except in America you typically aren’t given a title outside of your job. And Professor – for example – is not a title in most American universities. Professor is typically a job description and the title given to a Professor would still be Dr. (within the university at least). I should say, this was my experience, so maybe it’s not true across all US universities.

    nnoxks – indeed, I had thought it was just some friendly ribbing. It was my impression that Dr Connelly ;-) is held in high regard by most commenting here.

  144. Rachel says:

    But, seriously, GW/CC is not the worst?

    You obviously haven’t been to any women’s discussion forums and seen what happens when the topics of child birth and breastfeeding come up. It’s not pretty.

  145. BBD says:

    The horror of Mumsnet…

  146. andrew adams says:

    I can well imagine Rachel. And compared to arguments about Israel/Palestine the AGW “debate” is like a mutual love-in (it’s a subject I steer well clear of myself). I certainly remember a couple of particularly vicious arguments I was involved in just after the last election, and those between supporters and opponents of the Iraq war have been quite intense. In general the level of debate on many political blogs is at least as “robust” as it is on those related to climate change.

  147. BBD says:

    Sadly, the anti-nuclear movement has been where I have hit the worst. I’ve lost friends over this.

  148. andrew adams says:

    It’s a shame when that happens, but it’s preferable to a world where people don’t care about stuff that much.

  149. And Greg Laden has a recent post too. Suddenly there seem to be many people saying that we can’t actually make any statements about tornado trends. Hmmmm, interesting.

  150. > And I haven’t got a PhD.

    This is false since, since according to Thy Wiki, William Connolley holds a DPhil from St Edmund Hall at the University of Oxford for his work on numerical analysis, and that “DPhil”:

    Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as PhD, Ph.D., D.Phil., or DPhil in English-speaking countries and originally as Dr.Philos. (for the Latin philosophiae doctor or doctor philosophiae), is in many countries a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DPhil

    Unless the information on Thy Wiki is incorrect, our Doctor philosophiae might consider a retraction and perhaps even an apology.

  151. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Tom and Joshua,

    regarding the definition of what words mean, I think both of your approaches have things going for them. If you want to make an argument somewhere, but don’t want to be bogged down in definitional issues or want as many people as possible to hear what you are saying, then you go with the approach of Joshua in order to minimise hostility by avoiding words that are known to rile up ‘the other side’.

    This does not mean you would leave the definition of words to ‘the other side’. If they use words out of their context (“skeptic”) you can still clearly explain to them why you think this is wrong. Same with someone complaining about being called denier, simply explain denier is not a term for someone who wilfully tries to deceive other people, but instead is someone who chooses not to see evidence and is rationalising this choice for him-/herself.

    Usually, however, (if you haven’t been too offensive in the first place) when someone takes issue with a word because they take it differently from how you meant it, a clear explanation of what you actually meant suffices. One important point, if someone takes issue with a certain formulation, don’t immediately assume they are taking the piss. Think before you answer. Try to figure out what they mean first (however idiotic it may appear to you), not all people on ‘the other side’ are evil!

    Some will try to pick you up on a certain formulation in order to argue away from the point you were trying to make. This is easily recognised. Just tell them they are pedants and to come back with something with substance if they want to engage in a conversation/discussion.

    I have enjoyed reading along here today, thanks to you all for the interesting discussions going on!

    P.s. If some “skeptic” says all “warmists” (the right word for activists trying to stop AGW would be anti-warmists 😉 ) are singing for the same hymn sheet, then one can point to this discussion.

  152. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    BBD, you suggested I might not realize my comments at Judith Curry’s site are in the public domain. You now link to some random blog post about a book review I wrote. I have no idea what any of this is supposed to do with anything I’ve said here.

    As for how people may judge me, if someone chooses to believe the things Frank O’Dwyer said in your link, or the things Tom Curtis has said about me here, that’s their call. If they want to do so without even considering any responses I might have, that’s their call. Both sources have posted blatantly inaccurate things – things so obviously untrue even the most basic of investigation would show them false, but people can choose to believe what they want.

  153. >> And I haven’t got a PhD.
    > This is false since, since according to Thy Wiki, William Connolley holds a DPhil

    [Mod : Removed a part of this comment that wasn’t going to help. Let’s stop the discussion about PhDs/DPhils etc. I was hoping the comments about “gentle ribbing” would help. Seems not.]

  154. I’m surprised so much hot air has resulted from the discovery of Dana being caught out doing what he & his cronies have always done.

    Skeptical Science was set up to try and impugn the reputations of scientists with contrary views. Those of us with memories longer than fruit flies will well remember their original side banner headings of “Christy Crocks”, “Lindzen Illusion’s”, “Spencer Slip Ups” etc.

    These were dropped, of course, as they bean trying to represent themselves as serious academics in the field.

    IMHO the really fascinating outcome of this spat has been something else.

    As I understand it – Roger Pielke has been roundly criticised by certain folks here for telling the US Senate he thinks he has detected a change in the climate resulting in fewer extreme weather events.

    Vocal players in the climate debate such as Connolley, Laden, Dana & our host here are now rushing in to claim that there really isn’t evidence to prove this and the record simply isn’t accurate enough to claim any such change in the climate.

    Seems to me they’ve all suddenly become climate change deniers.

  155. OPatrick says:

    Foxgoose raises a question – just how many wrong ends of a stick is it possible to grasp?

  156. andrew adams says:

    Skeptical Science was set up to try and impugn the reputations of scientists with contrary views. Those of us with memories longer than fruit flies will well remember their original side banner headings of “Christy Crocks”, “Lindzen Illusion’s”, “Spencer Slip Ups” etc.

    There is nothing wrong with pointing out where people have consistently made incorrect arguments. If it’s damaging to the reputation of those individuals then they only have themselves to blame. Yes, I can see that there is a danger of seeming to over personalise the issue, which is maybe why they dropped those links from their sidebar, but it’s not wrong in principle. It would be equally legitimate for any “skeptic” blog to put Dana’s or John Cook’s public statements under the spotlight.

  157. Foxgoose, maybe this is an opportunity to show that my first impression of you was wrong. Certainly in my post, my only issue was with the statement “Tornado intensity has not increased”. Similarly, in the comments many have indicated that they have no issue with Roger’s statement about the possibility that Tornado intensity may have decreased (it is consistent with his paper and is quite suitably qualified). So, it would appear that now would be a time to acknowledge that your understanding, illustrated by the comment below, is indeed incorrect

    As I understand it – Roger Pielke has been roundly criticised by certain folks here for telling the US Senate he thinks he has detected a change in the climate resulting in fewer extreme weather events.

    Also, I would appreciate it if you didn’t associate people who comment here with the holocaust (okay, I know that almost certainly wasn’t your intent, but what’s good for the Goose is good for the gander).

  158. Rachel says:

    I’m surprised so much hot air has resulted from the discovery of Dana being caught out doing what he & his cronies have always done.

    What exactly do you mean by this, Foxgoose? If it’s that Dana made a mistake which he later acknowledged then this is an admirable thing to do. Somehow I don’t think that’s what you meant.

    Wotts,
    I’m confused by your last comment. I thought the original article which sparked this whole saga was that tornado experts say we can’t say whether tornado frequency has increased or decreased?

  159. Rachel, indeed that is true. However, Roger’s paper does indeed indicate that there is downward trend in normalised tornado damage which is argued is consistent with a possible downward trend in tornado intensity. Therefore, the latter part of his comment

    there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.

    seems fine. There is some evidence (his paper, for example) to suggest they may have actually declined. As Tom points outm there may be issues with his normalisation (it doesn’t take into account changes in building codes, tornado warnings, etc) but that doesn’t change that it provide some evidence. The problem I have is with the first part of his comment Tornadoes have not increased in ….. intensity which appears to neither be consistent with his paper or with any other evidence (as you indicate, most would argue we can make no strong statements with regards to trends in tornado intensity).

  160. Joshua says:

    “(okay, I know that almost certainly wasn’t your intent, but what’s good for the Goose is good for the gander).”

    Ouch!

    Not to belabor the point, but it is always interesting to me that some “skeptics,” ….

    (1) Consider the use of “denier” to be a comparison to a holocaust denier.
    (2) Then turn around and use that very term to describe other people.

    At least “realists” can offer the explanation that when they use the term, they don’t consider it to be a comparison to holocaust deniers. “Skeptics” actually have no such excuse. You’d think that “skeptics” that find holocaust denier comparisons offensive would be the last people to then use that term.

    It’s almost enough to make me think that when “skeptics” object to the term, they are actually exploiting holocaust denial for the purpose of scoring points in the climate wars. Otherwise, as a matter of principle, they’d eschew the term.

    Thoughts, Foxgoose?

  161. To be fair to Foxgoose, I have no evidence to suggest that he does indeed associate the term “denier” with holocaust denier, but many with whom he associate certainly do make the claim that using it is an implicit attempt to associate climate skepticism with holocaust denial. To be honest, the end of my comment was just meant to be a bit of a dig that also illustrated the point that you (Joshua) have made above.

  162. Joshua says:

    wotts –

    “…(it doesn’t take into account changes in building codes, tornado warnings, etc)….”

    I’m not sure that is an accurate statement. RPJr. asserts that changes in building codes, building materials, advances in forecasting, etc., have not had any impact in reducing damages. I think that his argument in that regard is unconvincing, but he does present an analysis that he feels supports his contention, and I’m not sure that it’s accurate to say that he doesn’t take those factors into account.

  163. Joshua, you may be right – although I did say “may be issues” :-). I was basing what I said partly on Tom’s comment and partly on what is said in the paper that Roger refers to

    the GDP-based normalization, county population and county income-based normalization, and the county population and county (1970–2010)/national (1950–1969) housing unit-based normalization.

    I can’t find any explicit mention of the other factors in the paper, so either I’ve missed it, they’re part of one of the normalisations and I just don’t realise, or you’re referring to another bit of work. So, it’s unclear how these are taken into account in this paper, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been addressed elsewhere.

  164. Joshua says:

    wotts –

    Fair enough. A while ago I had some back-and-forth with RPJr. about the impact of building codes, materials, etc., on his normalization analysis. As I recall, I think that he referenced some stuff from some other papers that he feels justifies why their normalizations don’t have a statistical input to control for those factors. I’ll try to take a look.

  165. Joshua says:

    an oblique reference here:

    http://www.blogger.com/profile/04711007512915460627

    a discussion w/o links here:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/11/loss-normalization-methodologies.html

    another discussion here, with some links:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/11/a-summary-of-sandy-discussions.html

    the link he offered:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/01/not-getting-better-all-time.html

    In rereading that discussion, I can’t help but notice that he never answered my question about the incongruity of time periods between the data he uses for his normalization analysis and the data he uses to determine that building codes, improved building methodologies and materials, etc. have had no effect.

    If anyone else (had the endurance for pain needed to read that thread and) can help me gain some clarity on that issue, I’d appreciate it.

  166. Joshua, thanks. I’ve read few of the comments. Roger’s not alone in this, but there do seem to be a number of people who’s response to questions that query their methodology is to suggest that the person querying doesn’t really understand something and should go and do some reading. Strange that. Maybe it’s just to complicated to explain.

  167. > I have no evidence to suggest that he does indeed associate the term “denier” with holocaust denier […]

    Foxgoose is more into the business of proselytizing good humor:

    Mixing victimization with sardonicism can become a PR Dutch book..

  168. dana1981 says:

    Personally I’m very skeptical of Pielke’s normalization procedures, but I don’t have the expertise to appropriately evaluate them, so I limit my criticisms to his public comments that are inconsistent with his research and that of others. I think he’s carved out a bit of a niche combining climatic data with socioeconomic data that most scientists probably aren’t very comfortable scrutinizing or trying to replicate. Hence other than Pielke’s frequent self-references, I see very little discussion of his material (either pro or con). I’d love to see some scientists with suitable expertise scrutinize some of his work.

    In any case, particularly for hurricanes I think no trend in normalized damages (if accurate) would be a bad sign. Surely with improved building codes, technologies, and hurricane predictions and warnings, normalized damage should have decreased over time. A similar argument could be made for tornadoes. But that’s a separate topic. The point here is that Pielke’s public comments (not just to Congress, but moreso on his blog) regarding tornado intensity have been inaccurate, and the criticisms of Brooks et al. apply, even though I was wrong to say they were criticizing him directly.

    It should go without saying, but obviously SkS wasn’t created to “impugn” contrarian climate scientists. It was created to evaluate what the peer-reviewed research says about various widespread climate myths. We have sometimes created pages specific to contrarians who frequently repeat many of these myths, but that’s their own fault for constantly repeating long-debunked myths to begin with.

  169. Classic Dana “I’m very skeptical of Pielke’s normalization procedures, but I don’t have the expertise to appropriately evaluate them”

  170. Classic Richard, implying something negative from a comment that is both reasonable and honest.

    In my opinion, if all those who were “skeptical” of climate science actually had the expertise to appropriately evaluate the evidence, they would no longer be “skeptical”.

  171. Rob Painting says:

    Wotts – climate change skepticism is deeply rooted in ideology. It’s not that they can’t think logically, it’s that they refuse to.

  172. Rob, but you can think logically and still not have the expertise :-)

  173. Barry Woods says:

    Rob- Looks like too many people have been listening to Lewandowsky!

    Motivated reasoning and ideology, if that is your thing, can be applied both ways… Dana’s John Cook (John arguing with his father/father in-law, and railing against Inholfe, and I would agree with John about Inholfe’s view of climate science!), Lewandowsky and somebody like Dr Adam Corners, blind spots and motivated reasoning will I think be a goldmine for future psychologists. I would argue that theirs is Much stronger than mine (not that I think I have any ideology to speak off. and please don’t guess my motivations.)

  174. I’ve changed the name of my blog to And Then There’s Physics. If you want to continue commenting on this post, you can do so here.

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