Who is John Collins Rudolf? And why is he questioning the shape of the earth?

Flat or round? Who is to know?

Apparently, he’s a free-lancer for the New York Times, a generally straight-up environmental reporter — and today, he is Ken Cuccinelli’s publicist.

Cuccinelli is Virginia’s wingnut attorney general, who has decided to make a name for himself by filing baseless lawsuits against climate scientists, running to the courthouse before the ink was even dry on the Affordable Care Act, and strongly suggesting — before walking it back — that President Obama was born outside the United States.

Today, for some reason, the New York Times has seen fit to profile Cuccinelli because of his lawsuits against climate scientists, and not until paragraph 24 do we find out that repeated investigations about the fake “Climategate” scandal have found absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing.  Instead, we get puff piece paragraphs like this:

Although cast by his foes as an angry ideologue, Mr. Cuccinelli, 42, was amiable and upbeat in discussing the litigation. He ruefully acknowledged the backlash against his investigation of Dr. Mann. “I can tell you that out of all the things we’ve done in this first year in office, none has attracted more vitriolic assault,” he said.

He described the inquiry as a legitimate function of his office. “I would expect any attorney general sitting in this chair to do the same thing,” he said.

Is what he says true?  Well, Rudolf won’t tell us: he will, however, tell us that “critics say” that what Cuccinelli claims is untrue.  And of course we get a whole lot of potted paragraphs speculating about the political impact of what he is doing.

He said, she said.  Cuccinelli says that climate scientists are misusing money; “climate experts” say that they are not.  Cuccinelli says that data from Russia concerning earth temperatures has been doctored; the head of the World Meterological organization says that this is wrong.  Who is to know?

Meanwhile, the planet melts….

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

61 thoughts on “Who is John Collins Rudolf? And why is he questioning the shape of the earth?”

  1. They can’t take sides, that would be biased. A real Neutral Reporter never points out the facts, that is not their job. As in, the well known Holocaust-controversy, Flat Earth-controversy, et cetera. They merely report, you decide.

  2. Brett: who cares if he can find a link? You’ll just find one that says he doesn’t question it, and then we’ll never know the truth.

    BTW: ‘investigating the matter’ = science. Turns out there’s a lot of science being done all the time. You’d just never know that it produces more reliable results than magical thinking and willfulness, reading pieces like the subject of this post.

  3. Speaking of Cuccinelli, Jim Hightower had a nice piece the other day about how the right has saturated the Federal courts with flat-earthers and birthers. He concluded with pointed jab at Virginia’s top kook:

    For example, in its effort to scuttle Obama’s healthcare reform, the right-wing has gone court shopping. They’ve filed their cases in the courts of judges who are known to be ideologically hostile to government regulation of health care corporations.

    Take U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia. On December 13, he ruled that a key provision of the new law is unconstitutional, a ruling at odds with 14 other federal judges who’d dismissed similar challenges. He had to resort to twisted reasoning to reach his decision and keep the right-wing’s flawed case moving. But, hey – you can’t let legal niceties get in the way of ideology.

    Peek under Hudson’s judicial robe, and you’ll find a naked partisan with a long career in hard-right Republican politics. A protégé of Ronald Regan and his detestable attorney general, Ed Meese, Hudson ran unsuccessfully for a Virginia congressional seat in 1991, then was given two GOP political appointments in the state before George W lifted him onto the federal bench in 2002.

    Even today, as he sits in judgment of politically-motivated cases, Hudson continues to draw annual income as an owner of a Republican political consulting firm. One of the firm’s successful clients in 2009 was Ken Cuccinelli, who was elected to be Virginia’s attorney general. Ken just happens to be the official who filed the right-wing’s case against Obama’s health care reform in Judge Hudson’s court.

    By the way, Hightower’s time has come again…
    A Democratic populist with a plain face and a cowboy hat going after the fat cats with passion.

    http://www.jimhightower.com/node/7370

  4. BB’s: By the way, could we have a link to where he questions the shape of the Earth?

    “The literal man litters reality.”

    That may be Aldous.
    Then again it could be Clarke…

  5. “I suppose nobody is to know, since investigating the matter constitutes “denialism”.”

    Brett, I think wikipedia’s description of denialism is reasonable:
    “Denialism is choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid an uncomfortable truth: “[it] is the refusal to accept an empirically verifiable reality. It is an essentially irrational action that withholds validation of a historical experience or event”. In science, denialism has been defined as the rejection of basic concepts that are undisputed and well-supported parts of the scientific consensus on a topic in favor of ideas that are both radical and controversial”

    There are many areas of science in which people hold fringe views. The difference is A)they are experts in their field, and B)there is generally no larger politics at stake, or ideological reason to hold such a radical view. So, people who doubt that birds evolved from dinosaurs are fringe, but likely not “denialists”. Whereas opponents of evolution, or vaccines certainly are.

  6. I wonder if part of the issue is that the science section of the paper is not treated as hard news: it’s like arts, or style, or home design. A story about whether human civilization is threatened in the short term by greenhouse gas pollution gets the same softball treatment as the discovery of a new species of sloth in Argentina.

  7. Brett, you are being more obtuse than usual. But if it’s merely ignorance, ‘Shape of the Earth, opinions vary’ refers to the journalistic style of quoting arguments from both sides of a controversy, but making no judgments about which side is actually correct. If journalism is only about accurately quoting the claims of various people, I can find the guy claiming the 12 galaxies are our to get us.

  8. You can look to JZ’s previous post, for an example of the alternative to “he said, she said” journalism: simply confirm the talking points and flatter your sources. But, if you are doing “he said, she said” a nice touch is to grant anonymity to one half of the dialogue, so that a few pithy slanders can be inserted, without accountability.

  9. From the article: “He did “basic reading,” he said, and became convinced that scientific proof linking industrial emissions to warming was lacking.”

    When asked which books he basically read, he responded “All of them.”

  10. (Jonathan): “Cuccinelli is Virginia’s wingnut…

    I understand that this will cause you as much discomfort as quitting nicotine cold turkey or losing twenty pounds in a month and keeping it off, but try making an argument without insults, for once.

    (Jonathan): “…attorney general, who has decided to make a name for himself by filing baseless…

    This assumes the conclusion. As with the raw climate data, if there’s no wrongdoing, why not release the data instead of fighting (as UVA is doing)? Mann is a government employee. His work product is public property.

    (Jonathan): “…lawsuits against climate scientists, running to the courthouse before the ink was even dry on the Affordable Care Act, and strongly suggesting — before walking it back — that President Obama was born outside the United States. Today, for some reason, the New York Times has seen fit to profile Cuccinelli because of his lawsuits against climate scientists, and not until paragraph 24 do we find out that repeated investigations about the fake…

    I recommend the skeptic blog Climate Audit for a different view.

    (Jonathan): “…“Climategate” scandal have found absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing.

    a) Phil Jones escaped prosecution for FOIA violations through statute of limitations considerations.
    b) The investigations did not call any opposition witnesses. They whitewashed the account.

  11. I recommend the skeptic blog Climate Audit for a different view.

    *chuckle*

    On a related reality-based note, did you notice how the drrrrrty liberals have suppressed all the news stories reporting that on the day after…erm…”climategate” broke, the glaciers started advancing, birds started nesting to the south, butterflies went south, plants returned equatorward, the alpine creatures moved back down, the temperatures cooled, the sea levels receded, the corals unbleached, the Arctic ice returned, spring started coming later again, no longer was there a mismatch between flowers and pollinators, ocean temps cooled, tundra started unmelting, the atmosphere shrank, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 returned to preindustrial levels, the…

    I crack myself up sometimes.

  12. Wow, Dan. I think you’re on to something. Inventing “climategate” is a brilliant plan.

    I have an idea. There’s a secret conspiracy called “I-don’t-have-a-million-dollars-in-my-bank-account-gate”! Look, I’m a millionaire!!!!!

  13. I read the article in the paper today, and I have to say that it hardly read like a PR fluff piece. If it’s meant as PR, I don’t think Mr. Rudolf is going to be generating a lot of walk-in business by it.

    “Even dedicated opponents of climate action concede that hauling climate scientists before Congress and challenging their findings could easily backfire, as many representatives lack a sophisticated grasp of climatology and run the risk of making embarrassing errors.

    In the process, his critics say, he has not only made mistakes, but also twisted facts to bolster his case against the climatologist, Michael E. Mann, now a professor at Pennsylvania State University.

    ‘I find no logical explanation for spending taxpayer dollars on this politically designed, headline-grabbing pursuit of his,’ said [former GOP rep. Sherwood] Boehlert, whose panel in 2006 investigated nearly identical charges by climate skeptics that Dr. Mann had falsified results but found no evidence of wrongdoing.

    Mr. Cuccinelli’s conservative views make him no stranger to controversy. Before his election as attorney general in November 2009, he served nearly eight years in the State Senate, where he was known for his hard-right stances on illegal immigration, same-sex marriage, gun control and abortion and for clashing with moderates within his party.

    Climate experts also sharply question claims of fraud cited in Mr. Cuccinelli’s lawsuit against the E.P.A.

    Mr. Cuccinelli could not say how he had verified the accuracy of the report, which is written in Russian, but said that his legal complaint had been ‘heavily researched.’ The research did not consist of consultations with scientists, however, he said.”

  14. (Foster): “Mr. Cuccinelli’s conservative views make him no stranger to controversy. Before his election as attorney general in November 2009, he served nearly eight years in the State Senate, where he was known for his hard-right stances on illegal immigration, same-sex marriage, gun control and abortion and for clashing with moderates within his party.
    Do you equate “hard right” and “conservative”?
    If “conservative” describes defense of the status quo, where does privatization of the 220-year-old Post Office and the 170-year-old government school system fit into your political taxonomy?
    Historically, the union-oriented Democrats opposed open borders and the big business-oriented Republicans supported open borders. How is a restrictive immigration policy “hard-right”?
    Where would advocacy of legalization of abortion to the end of the fifth trimester (think about it) and compulsory abortion after three kids fit into your political taxonomy?

  15. Malcom, can you link us to the articles from the furrin press that the intrepid truth-telling Climate Fraudit published that detail the instances whereby after day 0 of ClimateGate, the glaciers started advancing, birds started nesting to the south, butterflies went south, plants returned equatorward, the alpine creatures moved back down, the temperatures cooled, the sea levels receded, the corals unbleached, the Arctic ice returned, spring started coming later again, no longer was there a mismatch between flowers and pollinators, ocean temps cooled, tundra started unmelting, the atmosphere shrank, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 returned to preindustrial levels, the…the…the…

    I’m tellin you, I crack me up sometimes.

  16. Go here:”The UK Information Commissioner said that “more cogent” prima facie evidence of an offence under the FOI Act was impossible to contemplate, but noted a statute of limitations limited their jurisdiction. The UK Parliamentary Committee asked Muir Russell to investigate. Muir Russell refused. Muir Russell pointed out to the Committee in his evidence last fall that asking Jones about delete emails might result in the identification of an offence.

  17. I am familiar with the trope, “‘Shape of the Earth, opinions vary”. I’m also familiar with the habit of invoking it concerning matters that are far less settled than the shape of the Earth. It’s almost as much of a joke as invoking “basic physics” in the context of climate modeling.

  18. Malcolm, I soooo wish you would have linked to articles on Climate Fraudit that detail the instances whereby after day zero of ClimateGate, the glaciers started advancing, birds started nesting to the south, butterflies went south, plants returned equatorward, the alpine creatures moved back down, the temperatures cooled, the sea levels receded, the corals unbleached, the Arctic ice returned, spring started coming later again, no longer was there a mismatch between flowers and pollinators, ocean temps cooled, tundra started unmelting, the atmosphere shrank, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 returned to preindustrial levels…

    But maybe the Koch boys are still compiling them, to be distributed soon by Astroturf. To prevent policies to create a one-world government to rule the subjects and take away their freedom, don’tcha know. Wink, wink.

  19. @Malcolm – I was quoting from the NYT article that Mr. Zasloff was objecting to. I have no clue what you’re talking about in referring to “fifth trimester abortions” etc.

  20. “Meanwhile, the planet melts?” Seriously? In the 130 years since 1880, the highest temperature rise for any single 30-year period was 1.9C per century, in 1974-2003. All other 30 year periods were lower, some much lower.

    Global warming is real. We need to do something about it. That something does not include scare talk about the planet melting.

    What Cuccinelli is doing is flat out wrong. Someone should kick him in the seat of his pants.

    What Michael Mann did was wrong.

    I guess a third wrong gets us back on the freeway.

  21. (Dan): “Malcolm, I soooo wish you would have linked to articles on Climate Fraudit…
    Here’s my first contribution to this comment thread:

    (Jonathan): “Cuccinelli is Virginia’s wingnut…”
    I understand that this will cause you as much discomfort as quitting nicotine cold turkey or losing twenty pounds in a month and keeping it off, but try making an argument without insults, for once.

    Pleae try be civil. And try make sense. I’m at a loss how to address the combination of malice and broad satire you present as argument.

  22. You can address it, Malcolm, by linking to articles that catalog the reversal of natural processes once nature discovered that a few climate scientists were controlling a worldwide conspiracy. Shouldn’t be hard, because intrepid bloggers and…erm…journalists…like Tom above have been keeping breathless notes on the global conspiracy. A bonus would be links to scholarly journals that empirically demonstrate the manipulation, and alternative reconstructions that show how Mann was wrong. Not one paper in a non-peer reviewed journal, of course, unless your contention that the conspiracy is so vast that no one can be trusted…

  23. (Foster): “@Malcolm…I have no clue what you’re talking about in referring to “fifth trimester abortions” etc.
    “Legal to the end of the fifth trimester” means kids have the legal status of pets until six months after delivery. Broad political labels, like “conservative”, “liberal”, and even “libertarian” admit a lot of slop. It’s often better to dispense with the labels and argue the merits of a policy without any reference to the labels for the people who take sides.

  24. FWIW, I personally do not believe in a conspiracy to control either political or public discussion of climate change.

    What I do believe happened was a small group of scientists acted unethically in advance of the IPCC AR4 report to advantage their agenda and disadvantage opponents. Sadly, they went far over the line when they presented evidence in a Summary for Policy Makers that improperly concealed data that showed how uncertain their reconstruction of paleoclimatic temperatures in fact was. When they realized the scope of their error, they illegally attempted to delete references in the email trail of what they did before receiving an FOIA request. As they knew the FOIA request was coming, they had a duty not to delete the emails.

  25. (Tom): “What Cuccinelli is doing is flat out wrong.
    Why? If Mann deliberately misrepresented the statistics on temperature change over time, in support of a policy that would inflict billions in costs, he deserves academic exile at least, and taxpayers deserve to know. If Mann is on the up and up, why is UVA dodging?

  26. (Malcolm): “…try make sense. I’m at a loss how to address the combination of malice and broad satire you present as argument.
    (Dan): “You can address it, Malcolm, by linking to articles that catalog the reversal of natural processes once nature discovered that a few climate scientists were controlling a worldwide conspiracy.
    I give up. As I said: “Try make sense”. Nature doesn’t “discover” anything.

  27. A DA judging science? Dunno about that. What Cuccinelli is after is not (or only peripherally) related to Climategate. Mann wasn’t really a big player in that. What Cooch is after is related to bad use of funds. Which at the end of the day is Cooch saying your science is wrong so you defrauded the public.

    I don’t think we want to take away the right to be wrong. Not from scientists. Not from anybody.

  28. (Tom): “I don’t think we want to take away the right to be wrong. Not from scientists. Not from anybody.
    We have laws against fraud and medical malpractice. If Mann misrepresented his data and hid evidence of his misrepresentation, that’s not a mistake, it’s fraud.

  29. Mann was wrong. He used improper statistical methods that made the shaft of his hockey stick flatter and the blade more extreme. But he talked about his methods, which of course is how people found out he was wrong. He didn’t publish his data, but a lot of climate scientists don’t–which is probably why there are so many skeptics.

    Mann was wrong. He chose to analyse the data and present findings in the only way that would confirm his hypothesis. That’s not fraud. It’s just unfortunate.

  30. I give up. As I said: “Try make sense”. Nature doesn’t “discover” anything.

    So the man-made warming continues, even though the global conspiracy was outed? Wow. I thought it would have reversed itself, seeing as it was all a conspiracy.

    ——————

    Nonetheless, we see the last dregs of the public flailing about for anything to discredit so there is delay in enacting needed policy. There’s not much left there anymore. Fortunately, the energy companies are continuing their massive funding of Congress to ensure needed policy is delayed. They don’t need astroturfers and willing ideologues gaming public discourse any more. We see API has a new funding scheme, and we also didn’t hear much about Obama scaling back EPA rules on polluters. Polluters continue to not pay fees to dump in our airfill. We pay fees to dump in the landfill, no fees in the airfill.

  31. I’m not sure it’s worth commenting here, given that mostly this thread is just people yelling insults at each other, and not listening to each other. But one thing that’s important to point out is that what Cuccinelli is doing here, like Inhofe before him, is Death By Subpoena. If you go to a research lab and demand that it hand over every record it’s generated in the last five or ten years, and that you want to watch them carefully and audit them while you do it, and then there will be some adversarial investiagative process, you’ve killed their career. Just finding and collecting every scrap of paper in a suitable fashion is probably months of work, not to mention all the time spent meeting with lawyers, politicians, activists, lobbyists, etcetera to prepare for the kangaroo court being prepared against you. If you’r responding to such a sweeping subpoena, you’re not doing your other work, especially your research (because, after all, any classes you teach can hardly wait), and if you’re not doing your research you’re watching your career die. It’s also quite likely to be very expensive – your institution may not pay for a lawyer to help you, and even if they do pay, that lawyer might defend the university’s interests in preference to yours.

    Now, if there were a serious accusation of fraud, it might be different. I’m hardly upset with the amount of effort Bernie Madoff has to spend on preparing his testimony and complying with subpoenas (though he also has the money to pay people to do things for him). That Korean researcher who faked the human-cloning work (and forced female students to donate ova, a surgical procedure) can and should spend an awful lot of time meeting with lawyers. But this isn’t such a case. All these guys have done is to offend the sensibilities of an anti-environmental, anti-scientific far right wing of the public discourse. It’s sadly a very large far right wing, but the sort of legal pressure they’re bringing to bear on these scientists is only appropriate if there’s a reasonable suspicion of massive fraud and nefarious conspiracy – and, the ravings of Limbaugh et al aside, there just isn’t.

  32. Malcolm, I certainly don’t know what UVA will reveal. But Cooch declared what he was looking for–evidence of fraudulent grant requests.

  33. (Warren): “Now, if there were a serious accusation of fraud, it might be different…But this isn’t such a case. All these guys have done is to offend the sensibilities of an anti-environmental, anti-scientific far right wing of the public discourse.

    No. That’s not all.

    (Warren): “It’s sadly a very large far right wing, but the sort of legal pressure they’re bringing to bear on these scientists is only appropriate if there’s a reasonable suspicion of massive fraud and nefarious conspiracy – and, the ravings of Limbaugh et al aside, there just isn’t.

    The e-mails from UEA demonstrate a conspiracy, literally. That is, they conspired to hide evidence (delete emails) and fudge evidence (use “Mike’s __Nature__ trick” to “hide the decline”). If they deliberately overstated the confidence which their thin data allowed (see the Climate Audit discussion of Yamal dendrochronologies), then that’s scientific fraud, not an innocent arithmetic mistake. If they used this exaggeration to support grant applications, that’s fraud against the taxpayer.

  34. Exactly right, Warren. Intimidation and delay. And wasting time and money while he’s at it. I guess Montana is going to legislate climate science truth next. That’s how they roll. They can’t marshal facts so they intimidate. And write breathless books on cherry-picked stolen e-mails. Lots of money in the denial industry. The new direction is in ‘Persona Management Software’, right guys?

  35. Mr. Staley, those emails were indeed harvested. That’s not the same as cherry-picked. Whoever leaked them looked for incriminating evidence of what they were doing. They found it. I’m sure Bernie Madoff wrote thousands of innocent communications to investors, families and friends. Is the evidence against him ‘cherry picked?’

  36. Look: the idea that the entire world community of climate scientists have concocted a fraud upon everybody is just risible. The emails that were stolen prove only that people talk informally and sometimes flippantly with their friends, and that jargon can sound ominous if deliberately misconstrued. This has been investigated into the ground, and there just is no significant reason to believe anything malign has occurred. Continued, invasive, persecutive investigation serves only to make the subjects suffer and to propagate the partisan nonsense that blowhards like Limbaugh and Cuccinelli feed off of. Contrary to Malcolm, there really is nothing nefarious about sharing a “trick” that will help with your data analysis, not unless the “trick” is itself fraudulent. This is a “trick” in the same way that pumping the gas pedal was a “trick” to help old-fashioned cars start. Contrary to Tom Fuller, they didn’t find “incriminating evidence”.

    This is all about my whole “reasonable suspicion” point, above. If you’re Glenn Beck, then the Socialist Realist art at Rockefeller Plaza proves the existence of a plot by New York Financiers (read: Jews) to impose Communism. This is craziness, of course, but if you enter into an investigation knowing the result, and are willing to interpret any findings to prove this result, you can convince yourself. If you’re sane, the same evidence just proves that Socialist Realist art was fashionable in the 1930s, even among rich folks. No-one who knows anything about the way science works believes there is any reason other than persecution for these incredibly intrusive, incredibly burdensome with hunts.

  37. “You can address it, Malcolm, by linking to articles that catalog the reversal of natural processes once nature discovered that a few climate scientists were controlling a worldwide conspiracy. “

    Hmmm…

    After the dubious nature of the claim that Himalayan glaciers were melting at a terrifying pace was exposed, it did develop that many of them were growing. But it’s not like they started growing at that time, let alone in response to the exposure. They’d been doing so all along, and a fraud had simply been exposed.

  38. Warren Terra,

    “Nov 20, 2009 … Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? … Phil Prof. Phil Jones Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090 …”

    That’s against UK law.

  39. chuckle

    Whatever it takes to maintain your self-identity I guess.

    Nevertheless, the world’s glaciers retreat, human societies and adults continue to craft policy to adapt to and mitigate man-made climate change while a few % quibble at the fringe and wail about conspiracies. The world moves on, despite persona management software, journalists flailing about for play, and the carbon industry sinking millions into DC to purchase delay.

  40. Tom Fuller,
    So, to be clear, you’re alleging that Cuccinelli is investigating a Virginia professor over an alleged violation of UK law committed by someone else?

    In addition to the climate not warming on your planet, is the sky a different color? How many moons are there?

  41. Warren Terra, at least pretend to read the thread. I’m not alleging anything of the sort. Check back here after you actually read what’s written above.

  42. (Warren): “Look: the idea that the entire world community of climate scientists have concocted a fraud upon everybody is just risible.

    Perhaps, but that’s not the claim. Nobody has all the expertise needed to detect a signal from the noisey historical temperature record and the problematic proxy temperature record. No one has all the expertise needed to select among various hypothetical explanations. Much science depends on trust. “The entire world community of climate scientists” does not have to participate in this fraud; just a few at critical choke-points (data archives and journals).

    For years physicists added digits to the published figure for the speed of light, refining the precision of the measurement past the thirty-fifth decimal point. Then it was determined that all estimates were off beyond the twentieth decimal point (I’m making up the specific numbers here, but the point remains). How? Was this a conspiracy involving multi-billions in research money? No. Just academic reputations. Once someone with a reputation made a claim, other labs subjected estimates that differed from Mr. Big Shot’s estimate to more scrutiny than they applied to estimates that accepted and refined Mr. Big Shot’s estimate. Scientists are not immune to self-hypnosts. The corrective is open data and trust. Jones, Mann, Briffa, Trenberth, Henson, et. al. have forefeited that trust.

    (Warren): “…there just is no significant reason to believe anything malign has occurred.
    False. Jones asked people to delete emails, in anticipation of FOIA requests. They leaned on journals to remove editors friendly to skeptics. They withheld data in violation of FOIA laws.

    (Warren): “ Contrary to Malcolm, there really is nothing nefarious about sharing a “trick” that will help with your data analysis, not unless the “trick” is itself fraudulent. This is a “trick” in the same way that pumping the gas pedal was a “trick” to help old-fashioned cars start.
    No. The “trick” was substituting instrument temperature data for proxy temperature data when the proxy data moved in the opposite direction from instrument data. The issue here relates to the validity of proxy (tree ring) temperature data. If tree ring data do not serve as a reliable proxy for instrument data now, why suppose that tree ring data give a valid measure of past temperature?

  43. (Warren): “All these guys have done is to offend the sensibilities of an anti-environmental, anti-scientific far right wing of the public discourse.
    Are you a fan of Matt Ridley? Read Genome, The Agile Gene, The Red Queen, The Origins of Virtue, (I have) and this.
    You might reconsider.

  44. Dead-enders still stroking a hockey stick? Wow! Who knew there was still amusement possible from the fringe?!

  45. Mr. Staley, you might glance outside at the real world occasionally to see the effect of those you call ‘dead enders.’ Or perhaps ponder why so much effort and time is being spent/wasted trying to deligitimize those who criticize those who pasted together disparate data streams to consciously fool policy makers about their confidence in the historical temperature record.

    There’s a bit of cognitive dissonance involved in casually dismissing what they say while spending so much on attacking their existence, one would think.

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