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What is the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund?

Posted on 14 July 2012 by doug_bostrom

'Would gravity be overturned if we could see Sir Isaac Newton’s personal letters?' -- Scott Mandia

The Cavalry Arrives

A year ago Professors Scott Mandia and John Abraham witnessed with growing dismay burgeoning legal attacks on scientists performing climate related research. Mandia and Abraham had discussed for some time how they might help defray legal costs incidental to inconvenient research results being borne by scientists; the pair were catalyzed into action upon learning that Dr. Michael Mann was dipping into personal funds to defend himself against a litigious fishing expedition by the extremist anti-regulatory American Tradition Institute. Mandia and Abraham crystallized their thinking into concrete form and action with the inception of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF).

Launching the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund required a conjunction of several key parts: the idea of formally organizing a combat fund, initiative to put thoughts into action, and most importantly the right people to start the process. John Abraham is the celebrated veteran of a prolonged verbal skirmish with the eccentric yet CSDF Logocuriously influential Christopher Monckton. Scott Mandia shares with Abraham the distinction of being threatened with a lawsuit by Monckton, a campaign ribbon in the weird world war of climate reality versus climate fantasy.

Within 24 hours of Climate Science Legal Defense Fund's announcement over $10,000 dollars were raised for the cause of allowing Michael Mann to proceed with his research with less distraction and worry. This wouldn't have been possible without the bona fides brought to the project by John Abraham and Scott Mandia.

It wasn't long before a third participant applied elbow grease to CSLDF. Joshua Wolfe is a professional photographer, coauthor with NASA-GISS scientist Gavin Schmidt of a pictorial illustration of climate change. Wolfe has proven instrumental in driving CSLDF forward. Managing a prolonged fundraising effort with proper accounting, a 501(c)3 imprimatur for tax deductible donations and all the trimmings of a not-for-profit is a lot of work. Mandia and Abraham began their fund as a simple PayPal account but the response to their request for help was overwhelming; with day jobs as professors the two needed a way to scale the fund. Joshua Wolfe forged a partnership between The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER. Joining with PEER taps into a productive, efficient and nonduplicative structure, eliminating a lot of costly overhead. 

Joshua Wolfe also instantiated a highly successful fundraising module for CSLDF at the crowdfunding site RocketHub. The Climate Science Legal Defense fund RocketHub fundraising tool has found a warm reception, raising over $11,000 for the fund's work.

With over $50,000 raised in the year of its existence the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund has swiftly become an important bulwark protecting guileless scientists inadvertently colliding with powerful ideological and commercial interests.

Hitting the ground running, CSLDF helped defray Dr. Michael Mann's expenses incurred when ATI jumped Mann as part of a seemingly endless process of retailiation for Mann's elucidation of the famous climate "hockey stick."While Mann is still dealing with lingering costs from ATI's mugging, CSLDF was instrumental in defending him against ATI's pointless prying, transforming a lopsided fight into something a bit more fair.

More importantly for the long run, Mann's defense served as a test case for the utility of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, lighting the way ahead for improvements.

At the most recent AGU Fall conference the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund presented a session detailing lessons learned and suggestions for better equipping scientists and institutions with the tools necessary to counter increasingly frequent brushes with litigation mills disguised as "thinktanks." CSLDF is building a core of institutionalized knowledge about FOIA requests and other legal arcana for ready access by individuals and institutions and is developing a core group of legal talent familiar with the particular needs of CSLDF. 

Looking forward, the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund sees the need for more human resources devoted purely to protecting scientists from gratuitious lawsuits, institutional support via grants and-- not to put too fine a point on it-- simply more money to counter a fad for SLAPP-style offensive maneuvers showing no sign of diminishment. The organization wants to hire a suitable FTE to take the reins from the group of part-timers now juggling their time between professional and personal lives and CSLDF.

It's safe to say that for people who care about the integrity of climate science, money contributed to CSLDF is an excellent investment, a fine way to transform frustration into positive energy.

Warning: Science-free Zone

With all this time, effort and money being spent on defending scientists from extra-curricular actors the question naturally arises, 'what's it all about?' What's the connection between trawling for scientists' correspondence and financial records with science and healthy skepticism pertaining to scientific research findings?

Taking the American Tradition Institute as an example of organizations rooting around in stale email and dusty accounting records, we find no connection with science at all. Let's allow ATI to speak for themselves:

American Tradition Institute v. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (records of Dr. James Hansen, Freedom of Information Act Petition filed June 21, 2011)

On June 21, 2011 American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center filed a lawsuit in federal district court in the District of Columbia to force NASA to release ethics records for Dr. Hansen. The action followed NASA’s denial of ATI’s federal Freedom of Information Act request (PDF) with NASA, seeking records detailing whether and how ‘global warming’ activist Dr. James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) has complied with applicable federal ethics and financial disclosure laws and regulations, and NASA Rules of Behavior.

American Tradition Institute v. University of Virginia (records of Dr. Michael Mann, Freedom of Information Act Petition filed May 16, 2011)

American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center and Virginia Delegate Robert Marshall asked a Prince William County judge, under the Commonwealth’s Freedom of Information Act, to expedite the release of documents withheld by the University of Virginia that pertain to the work of its former environmental sciences assistant professor Dr. Michael Mann.

These cases are notably devoid of any connection with scientific research; ATI does not engage the published works of Hansen or Mann on a scientific level, ATI makes no attempt either to refute Hansen and Mann's scientific output or to extend or improve the published work of Hansen or Mann. So, no science and no scientific skepticism are visible; ATI is concerned strictly with matters of character.

These two cases stand as textbook illustrations of 'ad hominem' attacks on scientists; the target of ATI's thought and argument is not the scientific work of Hansen and Mann but rather their personalities.

Let's remember what Scott Mandia asked: 'Would gravity be overturned if we could see Sir Isaac Newton’s personal letters?' No, of course not; refuting Isaac Newton's observations and predictions would require an attack on his published findings, not on what chit-chat he wrote to whom on what date. In fact, even if Sir Isaac had not been Warden of the Royal Mint of England and instead had been a small time grifter during off-hours between bouts of inspiration such a fallibility would have left his science intact, open to legitimate attack only via scientific methods.

ATI has not found anything particularly intriguing in their fishing expeditions; we'd surely know by now if Hansen or Mann exhibited any juicy, gossipy character flaws to trumpet. No, ATI's trophy wall includes various breathlessly hyped tidbits about speaking fees, imaginative reinventions of climate scientists by ATI's senior litigator and much else. But no science-- ATI has no argument against the findings of any of the scientists in whose dumpsters it frolics.

Climate science is the foundation of ATI's entire legal fiasco. ATI offers no factual argument against climate science.

Global Cooling of Speech

Barren of useful results with Hansen and Mann, ATI now entirely abandons any pretense of interest in the practice of science. As covered in the press ATI has announced a new campaign of litigious aggression to be inflicted on scientists who dare communicate their anxiety about the increasingly urgent problem of climate change. These efforts on ATI's part are plainly naked of any connection with research. ATI openly acknowledes what many of us suspected all along: this persistent litigation campaign is about ideology, politics and-- ultimately-- preserving status quo in the energy sector.

Cues to acceptable freedom of speech vary widely. In Canada scientists bringing uncomfortable facts to the public square have been muzzled by the Harper government in a way that is quite transparent; Canada's government has made it policy that scientists must communicate with the public via 'public relations specialists' or minders, their expert words filtered by persons reporting to political appointees. In the US despite past half-hearted attempts no such policy has been made practicable. However there are alternatives for imposing silence on concerned citizens; one such means is to create instructively punitive examples of what happens when scientists convey the 'wrong' information containing uncomfortable facts to journalists.

We see from the absence of science in its legal agenda that ATI either doesn't understand or does not care about the scientific topics with which it's interfering. Knowing so, when ATI seeks to invade communications between scientists and journalists we must dismiss any notion that ATI is attempting to improve the state of science and instead consider other motivations. As described in the Guardian two scientists are presently being harassed by ATI thanks to their temerity in communicating with journalists. In the absence of other reasons we have to consider that ATI is using professors Katharine Hayhoe and Andrew Dessler as teaching tools for the rest of the scientific community. While Prof. Dessler himself speculates that ATI is mainly intent on seeking damaging information, any scientist watching this process will naturally wonder if keeping clam against journalist contacts would be the wiser course. 

ATI's wasteful invasion of Hayhoe and Dessler's work is exactly the style of extra-curricular, unscientific and ad hominem attack on scientists that the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund is intended to ameliorate.

It's easy to lose perspective on just how bizarre a pass we find ourselves with regard to climate research. Let's view this situation from a slightly different angle.

We've established that unchecked climate change due to reckless fossil fuel combustion is a threat to public health. Forgetting geophysics and climate for a moment and thinking of this instead as a public health problem, imagine that a virologist had an important finding affecting public hygiene and communicated that to journalists. We'd consider it folly to have that researcher then tied up with unproductive friction having nothing to do with virology, inflicted by some oddly pro-epidemic faction of society. We'd be happy if there were an organization dedicated to protecting virologists from enthusiasts of unchecked plague. That's where we find ourselves today; scientists communicating their concern about a ballooning public health threat are encumbered by people with reckless disregard for the hazards they're promoting, but happily there's an organization in place to deal with the problem.

With each of our days measuring 24 hours in length and time being money, FOIA safaris such as ATI's impose a real cost on the productivity and efficiency of scientists and research instituions. Dr. Dessler estimates that some 20 hours of his time was pointlessly dissipated dealing with ATI while his institution (Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University) was forced to devote many more hours playing ATI's gotcha game. This is time and money that could be expended on productive work.

Fruitless waste of time is a factor for researchers to consider when wondering if they should engage the public square with their expertise. Their hesitancy becomes our loss; we support research with the expectation that findings important to the public good will be made known to us. To the extent ATI silences that process waste is compounded.

As with the imaginary public spirited virologist, with Hayhoe and Dessler vs. ATI we have a case of scientists attempting to communicate findings of vital import to journalists only to have their email exploited for op-ed fodder and their personas rebranded as suspect 'activists' by silver-tongued lawyers. For conveying facts, the persons and characters of these scientists are being smeared not on the merits of their communication but for daring to communicate. This is an entirely new low in ad hominem attacks and one that needs to be vigorously rebuffed. The Climate Science Defense Fund was created to fill exactly this need. 

Everybody Has A Hand On the Dial

In the torrid atmosphere of the climate blogosphere we read and write endless passionate words about commitment to science and the importance of science. Most of us play peripheral bit parts in the central climate science drama; we're not researchers, we're not hired guns with law degrees and we're not titans of industry. Pipsqueaks we may be but if we remember one key fact our roles easily upstage those of the leading members of the cast.

The weightiest part open to most of us witnessing this novel struggle to acknowledge facts-- the universal script for significantly affecting our future climate-- is that of readily opening or closing our wallets at appropriate moments. ATI's preoccupation with protecting outmoded industries shows us how the bones of our fortune will be cast; the ebb and flow of money will set the temperature of the world going forward.

Long ago I worked in public radio here in the US. One of my preoccupations with this work was fundraising; workers must be paid and transmitters fed with electrons and most of the money for doing those things came from listeners. Obtaining money from listeners is not easy; the fate of workers in the US public radio industry is to enjoy enthusiastic feedback from listeners for about 340 days of the year, only to have most listeners fall silent when it came time to pay for their pleasurable listening. Talk is cheap, as the saying goes.  

In the US public radio arena we considered ourselves to be doing well if 15% of our listeners contributed to the station of their choice. We can't expect better in this online world but we're left to ponder that if a small fraction of people who are angered by ATI were to contribute to the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund a powerful message would be sent to ATI and its ilk.

If each time ATI launched a character assassination attempt on another scientist they found they were once again filling the coffers of a fund dedicated to defending the very scientist in their crosshairs, what would happen? I suggest that that not many people would need to participate with CSLDF before ATI became tired of kicking the ball into their own net.

Who are the people who can change ATI's expectations? Here's a hint: don't look for them to your left or right; paradoxically, for the system to work you must assume you're the only person participating. Why not pay the Climate Science Defense Fund a visit today and make a contribution?

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 200:

  1. See this statement from the ATI's David Schnare as quoted by Popular Science:

    David Schnare heads the Environmental Law Center at the ATI, which since its inception in 2009 has sued the employers and former employers of a number of climate scientists, including Mann and James Hansen, the outspoken head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The ATI wants the researchers’ correspondence and research records. “We are not a venal organization,” Schnare says. “Our law center seeks to defend good science and proper governmental behavior and to expose the converse. Citizens have the right to know how government money is spent. Scientists who feel they shouldn’t have to respond to these requests shouldn’t be working in a government institution, because this is the price of entering.”

    The whole thing could basically be re-worded as "Anybody thinking of getting into climate research had better get used to our legal harassment!"
    Given their inability to assess the scientific content of any communications that fall into their hands, they clearly aren't able to live up to Snare's description of the mission. The whole operation is pretty transparently about intimidation and the threat of harassment through the courts rather than making sure scientists aren't trying to pull a fast one. The message is clear: get into climate research and they'll try to make your life harder for it.
    So we've had Jim Inhofe publicly call for investigations of climate scientists (and succeeded in at least one case), Ken Cuccinelli (now a gubernatorial candidate) leading the way with baseless fishing expeditions, and obsessed lawyers picking up where he left off.
    This is what it's come to for climate scientists today; death threats from the peanut gallery; persecution from legislators and state AGs; a crusade of self-styled litigious vigilantes. All putting their cross-hairs on any researcher who speaks openly to the public somehow, regardless of how impeccable their scientific output (which should be all that matters). Something to remember whenever fake skeptics try to claim the plight of oppression for themselves.
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  2. The link in first and in the third-last paragraph is missing a '/'.
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    Moderator Response: Thank you for pointing that out-- several other URLs were also mangled.
  3. This is a very welcome initiative. The threats of legal action and FOI requests are not just occurring in North America. In Australia, I have just received a threat of legal action from Steve McIntyre in Canada and am currently dealing with 6 different FOI requests.
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  4. I'm very sorry to hear that, David.

    Presumably the instinct to dig into your dumpster means McIntyre's argument with your science is equally as nonexistent as ATI's beef with Mann, Hansen, Hayhoe, Dessler, etc.?

    I remember that McIntyre's feelings were hurt because he felt he wasn't properly credited with noticing a fault in a recent paper you coauthored but surely he's not taking out his resentment in such a drastic way? Does he offer any clue as to what's motivating his waste of your time?
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  5. doug_bostrom @4, McIntyre's hurt feelings are entirely unwarranted. It was not he, but one of his commentors that noted that there may be a problem; and the commentor did not identify the problem. They merely indicated that they could not reproduce the results without specifying what they had done, or what part of the results she could not reproduce. All the heavy lifting in actually identifying the problem was done by the authors.
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  6. dkaroly @3, very sorry to here about the continued harassment of Australian Climate Scientists.

    My vague understanding of Australian Law is that a fee to cover the costs of an FOI request can be charged. If that is the case, I hope you are carefully documenting all costs involved in satisfying McIntyre's frivolous requests so that for once, he can at least pay part of the true cost of his harassment.
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  7. dkaroly:

    Some FOIAs are designed to waste researchers' time or be giant fishing expeditions.

    Others are actually simple requests for easily-findable information, as for code about code used in a certain well-known report to Congress, and whether or not a Congressman got a truthful answer when he asked for it. He didn't.

    Presumably Steve McIntyre will add his voice to demands that this code will be released by Ed Wegman or whoever has it. After all, it was almost certainly his code in the first place.
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  8. Has anyone considered countersuing for litigious harassment, or "abuse of process" as the British call it?
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  9. Monkton has threatened lawsuits, but there is no history or suggestion that he intends to follow through with his threats. He is undoubtedly aware that any hearings will expose him as the fraud he is.
    No scientist (or friends) should have to spend a penny defending themselves against the ignorant. Though maybe a good court case is exactly what we need to get publicity for the antics of the deniers!
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  10. Doug,

    Thank you for the excellent article. In addition to the formal session linked in the story above, at this year's AGU in December 2012 CSLDF and AGU will be hosting three daytime legal workshops. We will also have an attorney available on several days for one-on-one sessions with any scientists who have legal questions.

    AGU should be applauded for helping to make this happen. It is critical for large scientific bodies to send the message that these types of witch-hunts will not go unanswered.
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  11. dkaroly "In Australia, I have just received a threat of legal action from Steve McIntyre in Canada"

    Stephen McIntyre has said that this is not true - that he has not made any threat of legal action. He is calling this "Another untrue allegation by Karoly". Please could you (Dr Karoly) offer some support for what you have said here.
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  12. I have also read the letter and do not believe that Dr. Karoly received a legal threat from Seven McIntyre, at least in this letter. If there is a separate letter where a legal action was actually threatened, Dr. Karaly should publish this, otherwise he should admit that he has once again dishonestly represented the words and actions of another person.

    Beyond that, Karoly should admit to his prior misrepresentations of Steven McIntyre's work and for failing to acknowledge the role that Climate Audit played in uncovering the error in his and Gergis' paper, that forced the withdrawal of this paper, and admit that it was errors and misrepresentations of other people's works that led the withdrawal of his book review by the editors, no doubt in part because of concerns on their part for the legal exposure related to unsubstantiable accusations made in that review.

    Two withdrawals in two months. Is that as record?

    That said, I agree with Mashey that Wegman's code should be released. Same for Nasa's AQUA code which they have not released, same for Roy Spencer's code, and so forth.

    Any code or data related to public policy decisions that is paid for by the public should be seen as publicly owned. Period. Researchers who fail to live to this standards shouldn't have to worry about FOIAs from people requesting access to their code and data, but cut off from federal funding and loss of tenureship for their failure to meet minimum standards of academic behavior.
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  13. Dr. Mandia: We will also have an attorney available on several days for one-on-one sessions with any scientists who have legal questions.

    Strange times we live in.

    I've just read the letter from Steve McIntyre (coincidentally posted today by McIntyre) to Dr. Karoly. McIntyre's assertions are twofold.

    First, McIntyre believes that he's innocent of conveying misinformation:

    I request that you either provide me forthwith with specific examples of the “misinformation” that you allege that I’ve promulgated or withdraw the allegation with an apology.

    Begging the question, "Or what?" What happens if Karoly ignores McIntyre?

    In any case one only has to go back a few days to find McIntyre correcting himself on his own site, attempting to undo what reasonably might be called "misinformation":

    In particular, I observed that Ellen [Thompson] had archived nothing from the 15 expeditions to Greenland and Antarctica that, according to her CV, she had led.

    A few words later, we read:

    Despite Thompson’s claim, no data whatever is archived for many ice cores.

    "Many," or "none?"

    McIntyre is making this explanation because he claimed Ellen Thompson had archived none of her ice core data but was subsequently corrected by Lonnie Thompson. Many paragraphs of explanation ensue, but stripping away all the handwaving it appears McIntyre got it wrong in this post and published his misunderstanding to his audience.

    Second, McIntyre's feelings are still wounded over what he thinks was mistreatment over the Gergis paper. Of this he says:

    I do not believe that you identified the error independently of the discussion at Climate Audit and accordingly it is my opinion that your failure to acknowledge Climate Audit in your public statement constitutes the use of ideas and/or work derived from Climate Audit without the appropriate acknowledgement.

    It's not unreasonable to interpret "...your failure to acknowledge Climate Audit in your public statement constitutes the use of ideas and/or work derived from Climate Audit without the appropriate acknowledgement..." as legal-speak.

    True, it's not an explicit legal threat. But then neither is it the case that McIntyre's extended examination of sexual molestation of minors at Penn State in connection with star academics at Penn State has anything to do with the Penn State researcher with whom McIntyre is most interested. No, a person who didn't understand this fight wouldn't know that, but everybody with a clue about McIntyre versus Mann will instantly recognize the winking smirk of the essay.

    Presumably the FOI requests Karoly has has received are to do with establishing "ownership" of the Gergis correction. Not that McIntyre necessarily has anything to do with those FOI requests, of course; I don't know that and just mention it in the same spirit as the Penn State post by McIntyre.
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  14. It seems to me that Rashomon should be required viewing for anyone rushing to claim dishonesty or wrong-doing in others - we are all masters of self-delusion, it is part of human nature.

    We shouldn't need the CSLDF, it is a sad indictment of our society that we apparently do.
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  15. The Legal Defense Fund is excellent. Shame it's needed, but that's the way life is.

    Re the McIntyre letter, if I received that I would take it as potentially the first step in a legal action (here in Australia) and view as apt the description as a 'legal threat'. (If that's what Prof Karoly was referring to.)

    It's an abuse of the law to use FOI requests to harass scientists. Does FOI law apply to requests from non-taxpayers (ie people residing overseas)?

    As many of us are well aware, McIntyre 'not believing' something doesn't make it not so.
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  16. Mr. McIntyre says,

    "I request that you either provide me forthwith with specific examples of the “misinformation that you allege that I’ve promulgated”

    Sorry, but this is a ludicrous statement by Mr. McIntyre, and does not hold up to even the most superficial or cursory investigations. Dr. Karoly would hardly know where to begin with all the misrepresentations, misinformation and [accusation of dishonesty snipped] that Mr. McIntyre has engaged in over the years. Or is McIntyre limiting himself to only that misinformation directed at Dr. Karoly?

    Anyone who has been closely following Mr. McIntyre's antics over the years should be very dubious of his claims, his beliefs or his opinions.

    It is very troubling that scientists have to have a legal defence fund set up for to defend their rights, integrity and academic freedoms. That the "skeptics" have to resort to witch hunts and vendettas only goes to show that their position is void of substance and instead they have to resort to vexatious and [accusation of dishonesty snipped] actions such as Mr. McIntyre has repeatedly done. What is more, I would argue that such actions by "skeptics" should be treated as criminal in nature. To their credit the scientists have indeed exercised maximum restraint in not pushing back or taking them to task, but one has to wonder for how much longer they can do so in light of the increasingly desperate actions of the "skeptics"...

    As for McIntyre's letter to Dr. Karoly, my interpretation of the language used is styled to a) intimidate and b) contains implied threats of consequences should Dr. Karoly note capitulate to Mr. McIntyre's demands. As sour notes, I too would view this as a first step by McIntyre to threatening or pursuing legal action.
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    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] Please can we all try and stay within the comments policy. This is a thread that is likely to provoke responses that sail close to the wind. Staying away from the boundaries makes fair and equitable moderation much easier.
  17. Doug @13 gives us but one very recent example of why we should be dubious and skeptical of claims/assertions made by Mr. McIntyre.

    As for Carrick claiming "Two withdrawals in two months. Is that as record?",
    that sounds equally applicable to Mr. McIntyre. Moreover, correcting errors in papers is hardly an offence. That scientists strive to correct mistakes shows that they are interested in the pursuit of truth. That fact should be lauded, not used to suggest or infer that they are being incompetent or anything else having negative connotations.

    In contrast, "skeptics" rarely if ever retract or correct mistakes/misinformation in their scientific papers, rather they seem content to let their errors and misinformation stand. McKitrick (2004), Loehle (2005) and McIntyre and McKitrick (2007) and McShane and Wyner (2010) come to mind.
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  18. re: 17 retractions
    How about McIntyre's absurd claims, shortly after the Wegman Report problems started getting noted at USA Today:
    Bradley copies Fritts
    and
    Bradley copies Fritts 2

    wherein he somehow didn't notice the pages of permissions in Bradley's book, and also revealed clear lack of knowledge of textbook construction.
    Google: bradley copies fritts
    to see how widely this spread.

    I contacted Fritts, who was certainly quite angry about all this ... but not at Bradley.
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  19. [Inflamatory snipped]
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    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] Posting here is a a priviledge, not a right. Such an overly inflamatory tone is not conducive to rational discussion. Please moderate your posting style and familiarise yourself with the comments policy.
  20. So, if climate science is so solid, and this blog so sceptical, [accusation of dishonesty snipped], and why do so few or the "sceptics" pull him up on it? McIntyre made no threat at all of legal action. He has stated so. Yet there are few comments on this and no correction of a serious misrepresentation.

    [accusation of dishonesty snipped]

    The problem you have is that the sceptics are actually honest. [accusation of dishonesty]
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    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] Accusations of dishonesty are explicitly forbidden by the comments policy.
  21. doug

    "But then neither is it the case that McIntyre's extended examination of sexual molestation of minors at Penn State in connection with star academics at Penn State has anything to do with the Penn State researcher with whom McIntyre is most interested."

    The person who was supposed to investigate Mann at Penn State failed to investigate a paedophile at the university. McIntyre's point is that if someone can allow a man to rape children so as to have a winning sports team, the same man might whitewash Mann to keep the rapid flow of research funding. Since the investigation looked very much to any objective observer like a whitewash, this was a relevant point.

    As for Ellen Thompson, correcting a small error in the very next post is hardly misinformation, is it? Let alone misinformation on the scale indulged by Mann, Jones, Briffa and so on, is it? [accusation of dishonesty snipped]
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    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] Note that parts of your post were not snipped. Please use this as an indication of the boundary of an acceptable posting style.
  22. response to moderator

    Hahahaha
    [Moderation complaint snipped]
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    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] This is your final warning, comply with the comments policy and we will engage with the points you raise. Fail to comply and your posts will be deleted. Note moderation complains are off-topic and are deleted, after reading.
  23. Carrick @12,you said:

    Any code or data related to public policy decisions that is paid for by the public should be seen as publicly owned. Period

    That's an incorrect statement. And an indication that you, like most climate science deniers who try to harass the scientists, do not understand the limitations of FIO.

    In many cases, the code those sicentists work with, is the intellectual property of the institutions where they work. In such case, the affected scientist cannot comply with the frivolous FOI request to release it, as it would be a breach of IP.

    Only the data supporting the results of public policy research, and the detailed description of the algorithm (e.g. in the form of a patent that a person skilled in the art can implement) to reproduce the rsults must be disclosed.

    Certainly, anyone can file any FOI requests. However, when such requests are demanding information constituing an infringment, then the receipient of such FOI can file a harasment lawsuit, which would have a very good standing. I excpect, in the coming years, the scientists who have been given legal advice by AGU, will become bold enough to start filing such lawsuits. Good luck.
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  24. Then any result of the code is not science. If it is not repeatable and testable it is not science. If these people wish to participate in real science they should negotiate different terms for intellectual property.

    Ridiculous. Your standard for what constitutes science is what can be shared through a FOI request and what can be kept behind an IP paywall? [Inflamatory snipped]

    There are many ways to reproduce a study. You can ask the original researchers who created the data for it. You can ask the authors who used it in their own study for it. They can sometimes give it to you, sometimes you must go through a license, or they can refuse to share it for whatever reason and tell you go get your own data and do your own work. It doesn't even have to data or analyses of the kind that were used, as long as it can reasonably demonstrate that the findings of the researchers are not invalid. Cross-checking different lines of evidence, different data, and different methods are all ways that a conclusion can be verified in science.

    "Repeatable and testable" does not stop at "doing the exact same analysis with the exact same data and exact same code." Often such exercises are a waste of time anyway. One or all of those things can be different and the claim you've investigate can still be perfectly scientific.
    When several bloggers around these parts wanted to check the validity of NASA'S GISTEMP (I think it was), they went to the publicly available data and assembled their own subset, different from NASA's, and developed a method to average temperatures over the world over time, different from NASA's. There was no need to use the exact same data and same methods.

    I recommend you take a step away from the self-styled "auditors" and get some perspective from the broader scientific community about what constitutes acceptable standards.
    0 0
    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] Please can we all keep the discussion calm and resonable, whatever the percieved provocation.
  25. "You can ask the original researchers who created the data for it."

    The whole reason for the need for FOI requests is that they refused to give the data!

    ""Repeatable and testable" does not stop at "doing the exact same analysis with the exact same data and exact same code.""

    No, and I never said it did. However it often will require that, especially in many of the cases of climate data where other researchers have not been able to come up with the same results even with the full data set at some point in processing.

    I was taught at the age of eleven to record my observations and method in enough detail to reproduce my results, and with any reasoning needed to come to whatever conclusion I gave. That stood me in good stead through not only a science degree but my current job too. Have researchers really all forgotten these basic principles?

    I don't know what you mean about self-styled auditors, but the people who trained me, the people who employ me and the regulators style me an auditor, as that is part of my job. I can tell you that all branches of science need auditing, medical and climate sciences the most urgently.
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  26. [Moderation comment snipped]
    0 0
    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] You can discuss transparency without discussing motives. Most of the other posters on this thread seem to be able to manage it, although often sailing close to the wind. I am factoring it into the moderation of the discussion, however your inflamatory agressive tone makes it very difficult to maintain a rational discussion and hence invites moderation. The comments policy at SkS means that it is not a good venue for the usual unproductive rhetorical arguments that dominate many other blogs and why the discussion is more science based. People post here because they like the atmosphere that the comments policy helps to create, so if you want to post here, the onus is on you to fit in.
  27. Doug and DK,

    DK, sorry. I'll try harder to stay within the guidelines, it is difficult though when certain people continue to make such ludicrous accusations.

    Doug, it is the actions by people like Mr. McIntyre that have necessitated the formation of the legal defence fund. I find it so very sad that in the 21st century climate scientists are being harassed, persecuted and reviled for simply doing their jobs. That this is happening is totally unacceptable and disgusting.

    This is the statement that McIntyre took offence to:

    "Commentators with no scientific expertise, ranging from politicians such as Republican congressman Joe Barton from Texas, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, or Republican Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma, to blog writers Stephen McIntyre and Marc Morano, have repeatedly promulgated misinformation and sought to launch formal investigations into Mann’s research, claiming professional misconduct or worse, even though it had been peer reviewed and confirmed by other scientists."

    1) It is true that Mr. McIntyre is not a scientist and has no paleo climate expertise. Dr. Karoly spoke the truth.
    2) It is true that Mr. McIntyre is a blog writer. Dr. Karoly spoke the truth.
    3) It is true that Mr. McIntyre has repeatedly promulgated misinformation and sought to launch formal investigations into Mann's research. Dr. Karoly spoke the truth
    4) It is true that Mr. McIntyre has made claims of misconduct by Dr. Mike Mann , including other climate scientists. Dr. Karoly spoke the truth.
    5) It is true that the misleading claims made by Mr. McIntyre are about a sub-set of peer-reviewed papers (i.e., papers by by 'skeptics' pretty much get a free pass), he especially holds disdain for Dr. Mike Mann. Dr. Karoly spoke the truth.

    Let it also be noted that Mr. McIntyre has and repeatedly made mountains out of molehills, or other "skeptic" blogs have used his blog posts to do the same.

    So, in my opinion, the facts demonstrate that Dr. Karoly has nothing to retract or apologize for. The same, however, apparently cannot be said for Mr. McIntyre.
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  28. RandomUK @25:

    1) For the most part, instances of data not being supplied on request to Mr McIntyre have come about because the particular researchers did not own the intellectual property rights to the data, or where the data was being retained to secure priority of publication on information relevant to the data. Mr McIntyre has shown himself wholly uninterested in such trivial matters as to who owns the data and has a right to distribute it, and has frequently insisted that researchers should violate legal contracts to provide to him data.

    2) On at least one instance Mr McIntyre has maintain he was not granted access to data which was freely downloadable from an FTP site.

    3) On at least one occasion, Mr McIntyre has continued to make FOI requests for data that was not owned by the person to whom he made the requests, while in possession of the data, having received it from the person who owned the data, and to whom he had been referred upon making his original request.

    Facts (2) and (3) make it quite plain that McIntyre's primary purpose in his FOI requests is harassment rather than obtaining of the data.

    Further, I reject completely the silly notion that scientists should make their data and code freely available to anybody who requests it. Nor, in fact, do you accept (or anyone else, who is reasonable) accept that standard. You, and everybody else pushing this false standard, always make exceptions for scientists working in private industry - as they must if private industry is to employ scientists for profit. However, if private (or defense) scientists are to be exempted from this standard, it is not a standard for the proper practice of science.

    What is required of all scientists is that their published work fairly represent the data that they have; and that their work be replicable. For that purpose, it is necessary that they describe how they collected their data in sufficient detail that other competent scientists could gather equivalent data if required; and that they describe how they analyzed the data in sufficient detail that others can repeat the analysis.

    As it happens, the work of the Hadley Center and the University of East Anglia CRU was replicated by NASA GISS, and by the NCDC, and now by multiple others. None of them required Hadley's original data sets or algorithms to do so. On the contrary, they developed their own data sets and algorithms.

    Scientists often share data and algorithms as a courtesy, but it is always a courtesy, not a right. As such, scientists have every right to not extend that courtesy to those they have good reason to think will abuse it, such as McIntyre.
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  29. Albatross mentions 5) It is true that the misleading claims made by Mr. McIntyre are about a sub-set of peer-reviewed papers (i.e., papers by by 'skeptics' pretty much get a free pass), he especially holds disdain for Dr. Mike Mann. Dr. Karoly spoke the truth.

    That seems fairly clear; I don't believe anybody searching McIntyre's site could disagree about Mann being a particular topic of fascination for McIntyre.

    4) and 5) are a little more problematic. For instance, you can easily find McIntyre using the word "fraud" in association with discussion of Mann but I'm not sure McIntyre has said words to the exact effect of "Mann has committed fraud." We've a particularly rich language in English so we've words to describe the situation; "aspersion by innuendo" is one possibility. Accusation overshoots the mark but on the other hand McIntyre is a skilled rhetorician so he successfully steers us to conclusions without needing to make baldfaced pronouncements.

    ATI also has shown a particular interest in Mann, as well as Hansen. There is a unifying theme to researchers chosen for harassment; it seems for the most part the selection process is more about which researcher's work has generated more publicity about global warming as opposed to which researcher's work is more likely broken. Gergis et al is a nice example. As it happens there was a problem with the Gergis paper but that wasn't what attracted the attention of McIntyre and Crew; Gergis enjoyed unusual press coverage so eyeballs swerved in the direction of the paper. Of course it almost goes without saying that Mann and Hansen are the right in the bull's eye.

    RandomUK is among many who are very concerned with obtaining ice core analysis data. To a layman such as me, the focus on the analytic data as opposed to the cores themselves suggests suspicion of incompetence or worse. The first mention of Lonnie Thompson by McIntyre I can find is in connection with Mann; to a bystander Thompson seems to have been found guilty of some form of misbehavior through his work being associated with Mann. Clouded thinking.

    What about a fresh analysis of the ice cores themselves? Seems to me that a complete redo would be the best way to go, assuming there's some reason to doubt Thompson's results. Can anybody point to something in Thompson's actual publications justifying such an investment? That is to say, limiting one's power of imagination to exclude assumptions about nefarious behavior and looking at the publications themselves, is there a red flag? What's been offered in that way?

    There's an awful lot of pure process in the work of ATI and for that matter McIntyre. ATI's griping is purely about paperwork and McIntyre's not far behind.
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  30. RandomUK:

    The person who was supposed to investigate Mann at Penn State failed to investigate a paedophile at the university. McIntyre's point is that if someone can allow a man to rape children so as to have a winning sports team, the same man might whitewash Mann to keep the rapid flow of research funding. Since the investigation looked very much to any objective observer like a whitewash, this was a relevant point.

    Which person?

    Here are the people who handled Mann's case:

    Composition of the Investigatory Committee:

    Sarah M. Assmann, Waller Professor
    Department of Biology

    Welford Castleman, Evan Pugh Professor and Eberly Distinguished Chair in Science
    Department of Chemistry and Department of Physics

    Mary Jane Irwin, Evan Pugh Professor
    Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

    Nina G. Jablonski, Department Head and Professor
    Department of Anthropology

    Fred W. Vondracek, Professor
    Department of Human Development and Family Studies

    Research Integrity Officer:
    Candice Yekel, Director of the Office for Research Protections


    Were all of these people in on the "whitewash?" How exactly did they all participate in the coverup?

    Details, please, or how about an apology? You don't know any of these people but that doesn't mean you're free to drag them through the mud willy-nilly.

    The briefest of searches reveals other, easily available and more appropriate illustrations of research misconduct investigations. Perhaps it was an accident but McIntyre somehow chose the most inflammatory and nasty example possible and one that I'll add had nothing to do with scientific research.
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  31. For those with access to the NY Times, here's the ultimate audit of scientists.

    Exactly where ATI would like to be. OK with everybody?
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  32. doug_bostrom asked at 03:30 AM on 15 July, 2012

    "Begging the question, "Or what?" What happens if Karoly ignores McIntyre?"

    Well, for one thing, if Karoly ignores McIntyre's request, then a reasonable person might think that Karoly is not an honourable man, and ignore everything he says in the future.

    In my world, if you accuse someone of something then you should be able to back it up, or be man enough to apologise, and not bleat about non-existent threats of legal action.
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  33. doug z @32, I am glad, then, to hear that you will be ignoring Anthony Watts, Jonova, Christopher Monckton, David Evans, and the host of so-called climate skeptics who make repeated accusations of fraud against climate scientists without a shred of evidence, and without even the good grace to correct their errors when proven wrong.

    I believe McIntyre also belongs on that list, but at least he gives the appearance of backing up his claims so that he has a fig leaf to hide behind.
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  34. Doug z, see Albatross' helpful point-by-point above. It's not at all obvious that David Karoly has said anything for which he need apologize. The least definite is Albatross' point 4, which depends on whether one believes repetitious mention of the word "fraud" by McIntyre in connection with Michael Mann is a "claim of misconduct."
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  35. doug_bostrom @30,

    I back you up and care to add, that any case of "paedophilia at the university" has nothing to do with climate science and anyone's alleged incompetence in such matters does not affect his/her ability as climate science investigator/expert.

    I don't need to add that such argumentation qualifies as ad hominen attack prohibited by the comment policy. The person who brought this argument (RandomUK) has shown numerous other policy breaches (in his/her earlier heavily moderated posts), this one is just a top of a pile.
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  36. Chriskoz, to be fair I myself brought up the situation at Penn State, by way of illustration of "plausible deniability" of what you correctly identify as ad hominem attacks not addressing research concerns.

    RandomUK did help provide an example of how plausible deniability works, so perhaps it's all to the good.
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  37. I don't believe anybody is going to get to the bottom of McIntyre vs Mann on this thread.

    Equally, I'm not sure how much point there is in debating Dr Karoly's assertion that McIntyre "repeatedly promulgated misinformation" because Dr Karoly himself appears to have withdrawn the entire review in which he made it, rather that provide any instances. I would much prefer that he had backed up the misinformation allegation - especially if he was referring to the role McIntyre's blog played in the withdrawal of Gergis et al (about which he has close knowledge). However, Dr Karoly appears not to be standing behind that.

    What we might usefully do here is get to the bottom of Dr Karoly's assertion that: "I have just received a threat of legal action from Steve McIntyre in Canada."

    That is a very specific allegation - and very on-topic, in a thread about the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.

    It's not an allegation of "potentially the first step in a legal action" or "a first step by McIntyre to threatening or pursuing legal action" - as some here have said they would interpret McIntyre's email.

    Can people stop trying to reframe what Dr Karoly said and focus on what he actually did say? Is there anything to support the actual allegation?
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  38. chriskoz:
    That's an incorrect statement. And an indication that you, like most climate science deniers who try to harass the scientists, do not understand the limitations of FIO.

    Chris, it's not an incorrect statement actually, because I'm an active researcher (not in climate science) and this is my position on the sharing of code and data.

    As to labeling me a "climate science denier"... simply because I don't agree with Karoly's obviously erroneous claims about being legally threatened doesn't suddenly make me a climate denier. What part of climate science am I supposedly denying?

    Only the data supporting the results of public policy research, and the detailed description of the algorithm (e.g. in the form of a patent that a person skilled in the art can implement) to reproduce the rsults must be disclosed.

    That's your position, it's not one I agree with nor one that most US funding agencies agree with. But in any case, Karoly's data and method fits into this narrow definition, which is the reason I worded my original comment the way I did, to suggest the same idea.

    In any case, you mistake me for somebody without any experience in this area. I actually have inventions that are owned by my university and licensed out as products, so I fully understand the concept of intellectual property.

    At least in the USthe funding agency has "first dibs" on the any software, data, etc., they have to cede that right before the university can assume it. And they have strict rules about what the university can rightfully own. You might be interested in the US NSFs position on this.

    Neither Karoly's methods nor data are themselves commercializable products, so in my opinion upon publication of his paper they should be made publicly available so that any interested party may test the reproducibility and robustness of his results. These are good scientific practices, and ones that we should encourage all scientists to follow.
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  39. Dubious: What we might usefully do here is get to the bottom of Dr Karoly's assertion that: "I have just received a threat of legal action from Steve McIntyre in Canada."

    That is a very specific allegation - and very on-topic, in a thread about the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.


    Yes, particularly inasmuch as having the conversation wander about in that fashion beautifully illustrates the degrading effects of veering off into "meta-science" and perusal of all sorts of things about science but not actually science.

    By so doing, we change the topic from the science and any useful information it may convey and turn instead to an endless rotation of voyeurism and titillation, akin to the old "General Hospital" soap opera here in the US. For readers not in the US, "GH" was notionally about a hospital and the practice of healing but the daily plot involved scripted gossip having to do with which doctor was sleeping with which nurse, etc. Absolutely nothing about medicine could be learned from the program but of course there's an entirely human and magnetic fascination in being able to rummage through other people's private business.

    ATI understands the power of changing the subject very well; don't look at the science, look at James Hansen's compensation!
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  40. Penn State got sent an inchoate mass of complaints. Normally, such junk just gets thrown out, but they gave them the benefit of the doubt and combined them into 4 complaints that could fit the rules. They followed the rules, did an inquiry. Three complaints were eliminated as lacking evidence. The fourth was vague enough to have them form the investigation committee listed in #30.

    All this was done in the open, with reports published, following the standard rules.

    Most of those complaining about the PSU process seem people who obviously lack even minimal experience with academic misconduct proceedings, have no idea of the OSTP / ORI / NSF rules, have never filed a real complaint, obviously don't have associates who are misconduct experts, but do have clear opinions. If any of them want to be taken seriously, they can say who are they are and enumerate their relevant experience so we can assess the worth of their opinions, the way such works in the real world. As it happens, as a PSU grad, I actually know some of the people involved in this, think they are honorable, and know why universities guard their reputations carefully by running proper investigations. If someone has not pored over sources like ORI cases, or NSF's ... they need to.

    Recall that NSF also exonerated Mann. Is NSF part of PSU? I don't think so. Does NSF regularly investigation and take serious action? Yes.

    By contrast with PSU, see See No Evil at GMU, where they started with a weak, opaque process and couldn't even follow their own rules, then misled people about it and even denigrated the complainant, after a 2-year process that yielded obvious contradictions.

    There is more to come on that story, likely worse.
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  41. In retrospect, perhaps Mr. McIntyre should proceed with legal action, if indeed such action is even plausible/possible. Because if he did, the discovery stage of proceedings would be, shall we say, very enlightening and damning, and by that I mean against the plaintiff, Mr. McIntyre.

    Remember, even the attorney general of Virginia (Ken Cuccinelli II) could not, even with all his influence and power, mount a credible and convincing case against Dr. Mann. But what his vexatious actions did seem to do were a) harass and intimidate Dr. Mann, b) by extension intimidate other climate scientists, c) feed/fuel conspiracy theories of "skeptics". Same goes for Republican Senator Inhofel's list of 17 climate scientists who he wished to bring to trial. Again, that went nowhere, but the message to climate scientists was very clear.

    Moreover, Christopher Monckton has repeatedly threatened legal action against climate scientists and those defending them but has not once followed through. Again, one has to wonder why? I'm seeing a clear pattern here. Threaten, intimidate...draw back...repeat.

    Despite all the fallacious accusations, the rhetoric, the threats of legal action against climate scientists nothing has come to fruition. No, that is not the result of some grand conspiracy, but the fact that the people making these claims and accusations ultimately have nothing.

    Keep in mind that in the past Mr. McIntyre has used his influence and his blog to mount/head a campaign of vexatious FOI requests against climate scientists.

    The comment's policy prevent me from speaking to motive for the actions of McIntyre, Inhofe, Cuccinelli and Monckton, but I'm sure that by now reasonable people reading this thread have some pretty good ideas of their own what is going on here and why.

    It is this steady stream of this baseless and mendacious acts by "skeptics" and deniers of the theory of AGW that have necessitated the formation of the legal defence fund. That is what the OP is about readers, please ignore the chaff being floated by those defending these heinous actions.
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  42. I feel I have to voice a comment as an Aussie on data etc.

    When a researcher is being paid by the Australian public, is using equipment bought for him/her by the Australian public, stores the data on a computer paid for by the Australian public in an office funded by the Australian public, then he doesn't own the data.

    If he doesn't wish to share, then I suggest he goes out and raises his own funds or buys his own satellite. But when it is my money paying for things then I get to see what my money has been spent on.

    I have no problems with any researcher being given first publication rights, that is only fair. But once published, I expect everything to be archived, including code.

    But if you don't want public scrutiny then don't ask for public money. It really is that simple.

    As for Dr Karoly, unless he can produce a letter from Mr McIntyre where legal action is threatened, his claim is BS. As the person making the claim it is his responsibility to provide proof.
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  43. JohnB, so we don't lose the plot, are you speaking of a specific Australian researcher or just making a general point?

    Regarding Karoly, call me a weenie but if I received that letter I'd assume it was the first step in a progression, so to that extent I'd consider it a threat. I've been through a situation that began mildly and went to "formal" so perhaps I'm afflicted with PTSD. Reasonable people can disagree on this and still remain together under the reasonable tent.
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  44. I would like to point out that what people really mean and how others interpret his words are not always the same.

    For example, take the e-mailed threats we have seen in the last few months. Some can plausibly deny specific examples are threats of a violent nature ("it is just a warning" or similar excuses), but the receiver may equally plausible consider those same examples threatening in a violent way.

    The situation may well be the same in the case McIntyre-Karoly. Steve McIntyre may well have plausible deniability in claiming he did not utter a legal threat, while David Karoly may well have plausible reasons to interpret it as such.

    I specifically think of this comment of McIntyre:
    "I do not believe that you identified the error independently of the discussion at Climate Audit and accordingly it is my opinion that your failure to acknowledge Climate Audit in your public statement constitutes the use of ideas and/or work derived from Climate Audit without the appropriate acknowledgement"

    It does not state: "and I will take appropriate action to make you acknowledge our contribution" or similar. However, the statement itself constitutes a claim of plagiarism, which McIntyre fully knows to be legally actionable. Thus, Karoly has plausible reasons to consider a claim of scientific misconduct to be a threat of legal action.
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  45. JohnB +1, as another Australian taxpayer.

    doug_bostrum. Why on earth would you consider a request for an apology as a first step in a progression? An apology has been asked for, if it is provided there will be no progression. Obviously someone, somewhere thought there was something wrong with Prof Karoly's review in the ABR because it has been withrawn. Any ideas about who did it and why?

    This will be my only post on this issue. It's been said somewhere before but I'll quote it again -

    "We will not be entertaining any further correspondence on the matter."
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  46. GrantB, I refer to my own experience (nothing to do with McIntyre!) in making that judgement ("progression") as well as to the specific language used by McIntyre. It's easy to mistake the vector of a disagreement, particularly when one has no visible face or audible voice for cues in a conversation.

    I find a lot of McIntyre's stuff on his site pretty counterproductive in terms of being a basis for forming a better functioning collegial relationship with the research community. Even so, presuming I was his subject of the day I might well feel different even as his target if I could see the expression on his face and the tone of his voice while he was talking about my connection with fraud, scams, coverups, etc. Perhaps the supercargo of descriptive language piled on McIntyre's scientific opinions is in jest.

    Your own words convey the possibilities w/regard to Karoly and answer your own question to me: An apology has been asked for, if it is provided there will be no progression. (emphasis mine)

    No problem w/no further reverberations; it's hardly an earth-shaking matter, at least for us rubberneckers.
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  47. @JohnB - a couple of points.

    1. No, your don't as a matter of course get to see the data that you 'spend your money on' - whether it's research, cabinet papers, defense documents or a myriad of other data. Neither the spirit nor the actuality of FOI legislation is intended for you to look at the detail of anything you please. There is a lot of research paid for from government sources (or jointly funded by government and industry) that is not freely available to the general public, whether for reasons of security, its commercial nature, the fact that the data is being used in ongoing research or for whatever reason.

    (AFAIK, McIntyre has never paid one cent towards the cost of scientific research done in Australia, except perhaps indirectly paying licence fees on commercially developed applications (like wifi technologies developed by the CSIRO) - so if he is provided research data from anywhere other than Canada, it is because of the generosity of the relevant country).

    3. It may well be that there would be disagreement among lawyers, let alone among laypersons, as to whether or not that letter constituted a threat of legal action. It's a moot point because it's my understanding that McIntyre has since said it doesn't, which could be taken to mean that he will not be pursuing the matter through legal channels. (In any case, assuming it's just another one of the multiple attacks on scientists, there is much more likelihood of 'success' by blog innuendo and 'outrage', whereas he would not be likely to win in court.)

    4. Your post wrongly implies that government-funded researchers do not make data available after publication. Even though IMO describing the method is much more relevant and important (can the research be replicated), climate scientists are among those leading the way in terms of making data not only available but very accessible. There is a huge amount of data that you don't even have to pay for, provided to you freely, requiring virtually no effort on your part, courtesy of scientists from all around the world (and the taxpayers, businesses, organisations, philanthropists etc that pay for that research, whether it's you or more often, given the relatively small size of Australia, people in another country).
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  48. doug_bostrom: you get upset about the thread "veering off into... all sorts of things about science but not actually science" and then introduce General Hospital (if that is not veering off, I don't know what is).

    This whole thread is not about the science. It is about the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. Dr Karoly's claim of "a threat of legal action" was considered on-topic enough to have people commiserating him. Is it too much to ask him to support that specific allegation?

    I'm trying to gauge Dr Karoly from his behaviour. So far, he has said McIntyre has "repeatedly promulgated misinformation" and then withdrawn the claim (without apology) rather than justified it or even explained what he was referring to (as I said, I would be very interested to know if he is referring to the Gergis paper, about which Dr Karoly has very specific knowledge). He then claims "I have just received a threat of legal action from Steve McIntyre" without justifying it.

    I could well understand that the Marco's "the statement itself constitutes a claim of plagiarism" carries academic implications for Dr Karoly, but that is not what Dr Karoly has said here.

    Incidentally, Dr Karoly could easily address the plagiarism side of things by explaining how his team came to realise the mistakes in the paper, and what part (if any) McIntyre's blog played in it. As far as I can see, the radio silence on that is entirely self-imposed.
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  49. Don't worry, dubious. I was upset when I first read of Hayhoe and Dessler being wasted on ATI's sideshow but I'm over that; $250 contributed to CSLDF was cheaper than psychotherapy and I was permitted to do the "talk" part here, for free!

    Yeah, you get my point about the thread: it's not about science. ATI's clearly not about science. I'm less sure about McIntyre. There seems a correlation between the public profile of research and what research McIntyre finds objectionable and his language is freighted with self-defeating insults directed to the people he wants to cooperate with him; those are not features that suggest science as his main interest. The frequent resorts to FOI and sternly worded letters as opposed to the much simpler method of being polite and not running off at the mouth on his blog are also puzzling. Maybe his readers egg him on too much? He doesn't seem to get much science done but does talk a lot.

    May I ask what scientific progress is being advanced by counting coup over who identified what problem with the Gergis paper? And where's the scientific advance in demanding an apology from Karoly for perceived slights in a book review? Paleotemperature reconstruction any better as a result of the peripheral jangling? Looks like another "science-free zone" but perhaps I'm missing something.
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  50. Tom Curtis wrote at 11:03 AM on 15 July, 2012
    "doug z @32, I am glad, then, to hear that you will be ignoring Anthony Watts, Jonova, Christopher Monckton, David Evans, and the host of so-called climate skeptics"

    Tom, I will ignore anyone and everyone who refuses to back up accusations, including all those you listed if you can name specific instances where they have done that.

    Given that we are discussing a specific instance where Karoly has done exactly that, then I take it that you agree with me that his credibility is in jeopardy unless he puts up or has the decency to apologise.
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