25 June 2010

A Reminder That Serious Engagement at Real Climate is Impossible

Will I never learn?


Jeff said...

I've been wondering that but I do still have hope for you. ;-)

f4king said...

Roger, I would suggest avoiding smiley faces in serious internet debates (no, seriously)... I think what you were going for was non-aggression, but they come off as pompous. They have a very thin, non-annoying use-- family/friends, and, like Jeff's comment above, in self-deprecating humor

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...


Thanks for the advice. People will read into a text what they want. I use smileys often on this blog and comments elsewhere.

The use of smileys hardly justifies the tone and style of response at Real Climate.

Thanks ;-) ;-)

Eric said...


We tend to disagree with you on many thing, but if we express exasperation with you sometimes, it can hardly be called "lack of serious engagement". As I have said to you before, when you are saying something that I agree with, I will not refrain from saying so. But I will also continue to call you out when I think you are wrong, or when I think what you are saying is misleading or disingenuous. Putting up a post saying that "serious engagement is impossible at RealClimate", but not explaining clearly the basis for such a statement is, well, misleading and disingenuous.


Eric Steig

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

The link in the post should go directly to #34, but if you are bored feel free to browse the RC reactions to Pielke Sr. and Jr.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...


Thanks for your comment. I am perfectly happy for people to read that comment thread and come to their own conclusions about my claim. I think Gavin's responses are juvenile and petty. That is my opinion. You perhaps have another, and that is OK by me.

But, so long as you are interested in engagement here, let me ask you a question about your comments about me over at Real Climate. You wrote that I am "dishonest or disingenuous with respect to the science" --- can you be specific about what you mean with this broad accusation?

jae said...

Well, I generally avoid RC these days, since I don't like forums that are selective about which comments are accepted and because of the overwhelming groupthink there. But I took an extra blood pressure pill and then read all the comments. It is fascinating that nothing has changed there in three years. Not the primary people posting, not the general demeaning and smart-assed (leftist)attitudes toward anyone perceived as not being "one of them," not even the strict adherence to such stupid logic as:

CO2 absorbs IR
Therefore, more CO2 causes more warming.

(Logical analysis:
If A then B
If B then C)

Roger, at least they didn't snip your comment. And they are paying VERY close attention, as evidenced by comments on your every sentence. LOL.

Eric said...


I can think of many examples. 1) Your treatment of me on the false 'plagiarism' charge, but your total silence on the thinly veiled accusations of fraud by the same players. This is mostly politics, but it is about the science, and help fan the flames of the view that my results were both wrong and fraudulent. 2) The way you deftly turned Stefan's post on sea level -- in which he clearly was making the point that IPCC was, if anything, too conservative -- into more evidence that the IPCC was 'flawed', while taking no responsibility for the fact that the question on the table was alarmist. 3) The way you answered Revkin's question about the CRU data, and then claimed that I offered "no evidence" of my point about why you were wrong, in spite of the fact that I provided a list of relevant papers.

As for Gavin being "petty", you are welcome to that opinion, but I would counter it is petty to bring it up, and to attribute it to RealClimate as a whole (and no, I am not implying I agree that Gavin is petty; I do not agree). The fact remains that Gavin's scientific points are correct.

Gerard Harbison said...


CO2 absorbs IR. Nothing 'if' about it.

I agree it does not immediately follow that CO2 should cause more warming. But the preponderance of scientific evidence indicates that it does.

But I agree about the groupthink on RC. It's the same, unfortunately, on many of the blogs that label themselves as being about 'science' but are more accurately 'sciencey' (c.f. 'truthy').

PaulM said...

Perhaps I will never learn either.
When Eric Steig falsely claimed that there was no evidence of skeptics being shut of journals, and I pointed out the climategate emails, his response was "Don't be an idiot", and he incorrectly claimed that the papers got published anyway. (Not true of the paper referred to in 1054756929.txt by a Korean and Someone from Berkeley, the paper that Ed Cook said would be difficult to reject because it was correct mathematically).

What these fools don't seem to realise is that by behaving in this way they are helping the skeptic cause.

eric144 said...

A perusal of Realclimate and the behaviour there would make me a climate sceptic for no other reason.

Another would be Pielke Snr and Schmidt wildly differing on basic issues. Some time ago, I checked out a few (more private) climate discussions between professionals and was able to ascertain that really fundamental aspects of the science are in dispute.

Settled ?

jae said...


"I agree it does not immediately follow that CO2 should cause more warming. But the preponderance of scientific evidence indicates that it does."

Can you direct me to that preponderance? Don't just cite Arrhenius or Kiel and Trenberth. Why hasn't it warmed for 15+ years? Why does the only empirical evidence available (ice core data) show that the warming causes the CO2 levels to rise, not the opposite?

I don't thing there is a preponderance, although it's a nice hypothesis.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...


Interesting choice of examples, none of which have anything to do with science on my blog (which is what you were discussing).

1) I understand that you were aggrieved by my opinions. But they were opinions and they were sincerely held. We've both had our say on this (several times), at some point lets move on.

2) My concerns with this IPCC were not about the direction of errors. Rahmstorf did not agree with the IPCC's presentation of sea level rise, surely we can agree on that. I accurately represented SR's concerns.

3) Don't know what this references, but it sounds like we offered two different points of view and agreed to disagree, no? That happened off this blog, right?

Any other evidence that I am "dishonest or disingenuous with respect to the science"?

This is a common trait that I see at RC -- you turn honest disagreements and differences of opinion into claims of "dishonesty or disingenuousness" in order to delegitimize their views.

At best, what you have shown is that we have different opinions on things that reasonable people might disagree with. To show "dishonesty" you need to should that I am lying, to show "disingenuousness" you have to show an intent to deceive. I categorically reject both accusations that you have made at your blog.

That you disagree with me meets neither of these thresholds.

RC gives a distinct impression of brokering no dissent to any held views and these comments reinforce that impression.

Eric said...

I have not read the paper you are referring to, but if Ed Cook said it will be hard to reject even though it was correct mathematically was presumably because the conclusions reached by the paper did not follow from the math. I don't know. I'm just speculating. So are you. That's not the same thing as having evidence. I do not claim that the peer review process is perfect. I have no doubt that many good papers get rejected when they shouldn't, and that many bad papers get published when they shouldn't. But the question is whether there is any actually evidence to support the claim that papers by 'skeptics' are getting rejected on shakier grounds than other papers. Reading the climategate emails might give that impression to you, but that is doesn't mean it is true. The fact remains that if someone has a really good argument, even if people don't like it, it will get published. It is worth pointing out again that both James Hansen (on the 'left') and John Christy (on the 'right') have complained that they can't get their work published. if there is any bias, it is a bias towards convincing arguments.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...


I agree that calling your commenters "idiots" does not suggest an environment open to engagement.

You idiot. ;-)

(Just trying it out, doesn't really feel right here!)

jae said...

"This is a common trait that I see at RC -- you turn honest disagreements and differences of opinion into claims of "dishonesty or disingenuousness" in order to delegitimize their views."

Hmm, sounds familiar: identify, isolate, freeze and escalate...

lkdemott said...

Over at the Air Vent Blog, he has an open thread asking his readers about their backgrounds. Although the thread is not about RealClimate, many people mention their experiences at RealClimate. The thread makes for interesting reading about how a group of people with technical backgrounds have reacted to RealClimate. http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/reader-background/#comments

Gerard Harbison said...


I don't think this thread or this blog is really the place to debate the science, but look at the Huntsville satellite temperature record, if you don't like the problems with the UAE or GISS data sets. There's an upward trend over the duration of those measurements. You can apply a hundred different statistical tests to those data, but using the analysis of an experienced and unprejudiced eyeball (in fact, I'd far prefer it if AGW were a myth) I don't see a break in the trend over the last 15 years. What I do see is a huge spike in 1998, which some people have attributed to el Niño. Also, the theory predicts pronounced warming at the poles, which we do see; and stratospheric cooling, ditto.

For all the rhetorical and behavioral excesses of the pro-AGW crowd, qualitatively they're right. Quantitatively, I'd put the forcing at the bottom end of the IPCC range. I'm not a climate scientist, but I do have quite a bit of experience with the molecular physics of gases, and in looking at lousy data trying to figure out what is real and what is hope.

Eric said...


I won't argue the other points, since there is no reason for me to try to argue that what amounts to libel is not okay, even when it is a 'sincerely held opinion.'

But for you to suggest that you 'accurately' portrayed Stefan Rahmstorf's views on sea level and IPCC is exactly the point. I never said you were not accurate. You are brilliant at being accurate, while totally misleading at the same time. You used Rahmstorf's point about the IPCC to further highlight the point that the IPCC conclusions can be argued with. That's fine. But nowhere in the article -- least of all in the title -- did you plainly make clear that this particular issue had the precisely opposite implications about IPCC from all the other 'IPCCgates' that were being discussed at the time. To pretend that this is not relevant is disingenuous, full stop. That you seem unable to see this is exactly my point. And with that, I give up, as many of my colleagues have told me many times that I ought to do.

Frontiers of Faith and Science said...

RC has become a sad parody of what it claims to be.
And the diea that somehow the claims that RC promotes are OK, even if the means they use to justify rationalize and market them are questionable is a conclusion not supported by history or fact.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...


You write: "And with that, I give up, as many of my colleagues have told me many times that I ought to do."

Which of course gets us right back to the title of this post.

I am not playing your silly game of believers vs. skeptics, sorry if this makes you mad. My focus on the IPCC has been on errors regardless of which "team" the errors favor. Sorry!

Anyway, enjoy the weekend and the big game!

dljvjbsl said...

After reading the comments on RealClimate, my respect for "climate scientists' has reached a new depth. I am sincerely puzzled as to what they think that they are accomplishing with their behavior. Do they really think that the whining and whinging juvenile tone that they exhibit will change anyone's mind in their favour?

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-21-Sorry, typo, Eric

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

In case anyone wants to see what Eric is complaining about, see this:


Note whose views are featured at the top of the post ... Eric's!

jae said...


You get an upward trend during the last 15 yr. from this?


Come on. If you "don't count" 1998, you cannot count 2009-10, either.

And you gotta show me the warming at BOTH poles.

Harry said...

Eric's post highlights a problem that I perceive with many climate scientists.

There seems to be a belief amongst many in that community that if scientist A makes the case for statement B as part of a larger argument supporting view C, then it is somehow unethical to use statement B in support of another view D which is perceived to be inconsistent with view C.

This strikes me as anti-scientific. If statement B is true, then it is true in general. It is not ONLY true when used in support of view C. And its validity is not compromised by failing to repeat view C.

[All this ignores the basic reality that NOBODY who was at all informed about the issue could have read what Roger wrote and believed that Rahmstorf thought the IPCC was being too alarmist].

EliRabett said...

Ok, you're a monkey. Now, did you have something serious to say about Real Climate?

dgg said...

Eric, keep posting. I enjoy reading your comments.

judith said...

I just posted this on collide-a-scape, on a thread that is probably dead, so i thought i would post over here (tho this thread may be dead also):

"I think I am developing some insights into RC. See specifically #135 Gavin’s statement: “Let’s go to the tape shall we?” (and my reply in #136). And also this comment at RC. Well, take your victories where you think you find them. If I’m wrong, I cheerfully admit it. In the meantime, I will continue to try to have a dialogue and a discussion to explore the complex and important issues that Keith is raising. From my perspective, I declare winning by participants (myself and others) asking questions, providing arguments, further developing an argument in response to other arguments, learning something, and possibly changing your mind about something. Its about the dialogue, I’m not interested in takedowns. So if I seem to be playing a different game than some other climate researchers in the blogosphere, well I am."

Some further words: to those bloggers that only swat at the low hanging fruit in terms of a put down, your blogging skills are getting flabby. Try engaging in the dialogue at climateaudit or collide-a-scape (and also at roger's site!), it will help sharpen your skills and increase your effectiveness

Judith Curry

Sharon F. said...

thanks for the link. I found those stories fascinating.

Judith: Your statement should be posted prominently on every discussion blog
"From my perspective, I declare winning by participants (myself and others) asking questions, providing arguments, further developing an argument in response to other arguments, learning something, and possibly changing your mind about something. Its about the dialogue, I’m not interested in takedowns."

EliRabett said...

These things, as they say, have a history, and Prof. Curry, coming into the middle of a debate with a question that has been asked, answered and beaten to death, does not advance the ball but rather moves it backwards.

In the course of years, Eli has commented here, there and pretty much everywhere, and you know, Climate Audit, Roger, and Keith, they edit out comments (they don't appear to edit the comments, merely leaving them on the electronic shelf) while complaining that others do so.

Climate Audit, as a matter of fact, disappeared an entire forum with hundreds if not thousands of comments, not that Eli would complain, it's just a fact. The mobbing over there is legendary if you disagree with the proprietor.

Larry Geiger said...

"I think Gavin's responses are juvenile and petty."

Roger, you are very kind and gracious!

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