Sunday, April 14, 2013

One of the Worst Cases of Global Warming Derangement Syndrome Ever Seen

[Skeptics are] taking these words totally out of context to make something trivial appear nefarious ~ Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State, responding to the "climategate" email controversy of November 2009. According to climate change critics stolen emails (from a hacking incident at the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Britain) show that global warming is a scientific conspiracy. These skeptics allege the emails show scientists manipulated climate data and attempted to suppress critics.

You know the subject is suffering greatly from this malady when he posts on the topic multiple times a day! And that is what we have here, folks, with blogger Willis Hart... a fanatical global climate change denier, er "skeptic" (as he calls himself).

In a post titled, "On Mike's Nature Trick", the GWDS-afflicted individual quotes one of the "climategate" emails that "prove" those dastardly scientists have been trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the innocent oil-consuming public, in a conspiracy aimed at [1] having a hearty laugh at our expense, and [2] enriching "Big Green".

The specific email in question was from Phil Jones (the director of the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Britain) and reads as follows...

I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith to hide the decline.

(The "trick" in question was described in an article by Michael Mann in the journal Nature. "Mike" is Michael Mann and "Keith" is Keith Briffa, climatologist and deputy director of the Climatic Research Unit).

Following is Mr. Hart's response to this email.

Willis Hart: TO HIDE THE DECLINE! Please, somebody explain to me how this is somehow benign. These folks were using some sort of a gimmick to hide the fact that the bristlecone pine tree-rings were not, NOT, reflecting the actual temperatures and that they therefore could not have been even remotely accurate going back multiple centuries. This is abject dishonesty, folks, pure and simple, and the fact that there are seemingly people out there who want to mitigate it is disappointing and a sad, sorrowful state of the science. (Post: On "Mike's Nature Trick"... 4/14/2013 AT 8:29am).

I would explain to Mr. Hart how this is completely benign, but he banned me from his blog, due to his intolerance for dissenting opinions. I will instead explain here (on my blog) what Hart's denialism is causing him to ignore... even though he will not read this post, and does not really want anyone to explain to him "how this is somehow benign" because he THINKS he's asking a rhetorical question. He THINKS it is self-evident that the majority of the world's climate scientists are trying to fool us.

Willis is convinced (or he is trying to convince his readers) that by "trick" what Phil Jones meant was, "a crafty or underhanded device" instead of "a clever or ingenious device or expedient" (which is how he actually was using the word).

As for "hiding the decline" Skeptical Science (a climate science blog that examines the scientific support of the most common skeptic arguments) explains what was really meant with that phrase...

Tree-ring growth has been found to match well with temperature. Hence, tree-rings are used to plot temperature going back hundreds of years. However, tree-rings in some high-latitude locations diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960. This is known as the "divergence problem". Consequently, tree-ring data in these high-latitude locations are not considered reliable after 1960 and should not be used to represent temperature in recent decades.

So, what Phil Jones is talking about (in the so-called climategate email) is using Michael Mann's "trick" to solve the "divergence problem". The "trick", according to a 2/15/2010 Nature article was to do the "analyses using other methods - proxy temperature markers from ice core samples, for example", and that using this "trick" shows "much the same temperature change over the past 1,000 years, backing up Mann's hockey stick".

The "hiding" was the discarding of the inaccurate tree ring data that seemed to suggest temperatures were declining - even though we have ACTUAL READINGS that prove otherwise Willis, you dope!

Question is, is this is abject dishonesty from the Hartster, or just ignorance? Whichever the case, bloggers with severe GWDS like Willis Hart spreading misinformation on such an important topic is disappointing - and a sad, sorrowful state of affairs - people believing Big Oil propaganda over scientists!

IMO suggesting that human-caused global warming is a vast conspiracy in which an overwhelming majority of the planet's scientists are participating is patently absurd... and I question the intelligence and/or sanity (or motivation) of anyone peddling this fiction.

SWTD #133, wDel #17.


  1. Lately, Will seems to have a tendency to cherry pick statements (without references) that support minority positions and often misrepresents the point he is trying to make. In my opinion, his credibility has slipped significantly, and with it, the attention I pay to his blog.

  2. Hi, this is John Cook from Skeptical Science - I wrote the article explaining the meaning behind "Mike's trick" and "hide the decline". Your explanation of that quote isn't quite right (if I didn't explain it clearly enough, I apologise). "Mike's trick" has nothing to do with "hide the decline". Mike's trick is merely the technique of plotting the instrumental temperature record (e.g., thermometer measurements) on the same graph as reconstructed past temperature (e.g., from tree rings, ice cores, etc). This is a way of putting modern global warming in the context of climate change over thousands of years. Simple as that.

    "Hide the decline" is the more complicated divergence problem you refer to. The divergence problem is an issue that has been well documented in the peer-reviewed literature since the 1990s. Climate deniers had no need to steal scientists' private emails to find out about it - it's all there in published research.

    On another note, I would recommend against questioning the intelligence and/or sanity of climate deniers. Research has shown that for higher education levels, Democrats are more accepting of climate science while Republicans are more likely to deny the science. In other words, education and scientific literacy aren't the main predictor of climate denial. Political ideology is.

    It's a universal human condition that when scientific evidence conflicts with our ideology or our cultural identity, our ideology biases how we process the evidence. In the case of climate change, the solutions to mitigate global warming require regulation of polluting industries. This is threatening to those who believe in unregulated free markets. But rather than come up with a market based solution to global warming, they are more likely to deny there is a problem in the first place. In other words, they reject the scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming.

  3. So basically John is saying when the facts conflict with the closed minds of extremist right wingers they refuse to accept reality and just make things up ......

  4. Thank you John Cook for your response to my blog post. Unfortunately I am not certain how I didn't get the explanation of the quote quite right. The stolen "climategate" email says, "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith to hide the decline".

    Doesn't this email suggest that Mike's trick does have something to do with "hide the decline", in that Phil Jones (the author of the email) completed the "trick" to "hide decline"?


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