Kind of Amusing

Sometimes you have to just take a minute out of your day and chuckle at something silly. A commenter responded to a new post by the blogger Anders by saying:

However I will say one thing, based on the first paragraph of ATTP’s article. Ridley has a PhD in zoology from Oxford. If that doesn’t qualify someone as a scientist, I don’t know what does.

Anders (also known as ATTP) responded by saying:

I didn’t say he wasn’t a scientist, but he’s not a practicing scientist.

This merits at least a microchuckle because Anders's post says:

What? I thought [Ridley] was a science journalist, not a scientist.

Which sure sounds like Anders saying Ridley isn't a scientist. One could argue Anders said he "thought" Ridley isn't a scientist, which is different from saying Ridley isn't a scientist, but that's weak tea.

Regardless, the real chuckling should begin with Anders's next sentence:

Why can’t he be a scientist and a science journalist?

Well, he could be, but he isn’t being. If he wants to be a scientist, do some science.

Which clearly indicates Anders thinks Ridley isn't being a scientist. I'm not sure how Anders keeps a straight face while saying Ridley isn't being a scientist, saying he thinks Ridley isn't a scientist and saying he isn't saying Ridley isn't a scientist.

Heck, I can barely keep the sentences straight.


  1. Hoi Polloi, the greatest part of that post is in the comments, Dana Nuccitelli says:

    Wait, what? I’m actually a scientist, whereas Ridley is a writer. I’ve actually published peer-reviewed climate science papers, whereas Ridley has not.

    I don't know what to say about that. Nuccitelli, a scientist?

  2. That blog is the gift that keeps on giving. Once he agreed that "science is the belief in the knowledge of experts" and spent the rest of the thread claiming that this is different from arguing from authority.

  3. Diogenes, I either didn't see that the first time, or I forgot about it. I recently discovered it (again?) when Brad Keyes made a tweet about it. It's hilarious. Keyes intentionally misquoted Richard Feynmann to invert Feynmann's argument, and Anders agreed with it.

    For anyone who wants to see for themselves, read the first two comments on this post by Anders:

  4. ATTP's identity is still an enigma, most claim he/she is a he (apparently drives the ball 300 yards at the golf link) but my first impression and now again, the more I read his/her blog, is that ATTP is a she.

  5. Hoi Polloi, I see no reason to think Anders is a female. Both he and his moderator Rachel have said he's a male, and I know of nothing which suggests they're lying. Even if they were lying, for whatever reason, I can't see why I'd care.

    I also can't see why I'd care about what his identity is. The university he's from is no secret, and it would be possible to use that to figure out who he is, but why bother? I can't see what would come from it. It's not interesting to me, and it's not like there's any practical value in the information. It's not like exposing people's real names has accomplished anything in the past.

    If someone really cares, they could probably figure out Anders's identity with some effort. If they couldn't, they could certainly pay a bit of money for it. I'm sure there's plenty of people who'd be willing to spend some time working it out for financial reward.

  6. Somebody who is facilitating his/her blog to constantly character murdering of at least 2 prominent known scientists should/will not stay anonymous, in my opinion. The venom is taking such a shape (and volume) that, I believe, ATTP's anonymous status will not stay hidden for long anymore. Everybody and their mother is flying in from all over the alarmist world like a climate conference and is piling on and ATTP is happy to join in. This situation can/will not continue, IMO.

  7. I don't know which scientists you think Anders is assassinating the reputation of, but Poptech has a post up in which he says Anders is a guy named Ken Rice. It seems likely he is correct given Rice's posts on his other blog just before Anders popped up.

    The sad thing is Anthony Watts and Barry Woods commented at Rice's blog, but neither seemed to make the connection. It's a pretty easy connection to make.

  8. He has confirmed it himself on twitter, and complained of emails from "nutters" and then gone quiet.

    I kind of feel sorry for the guy but I supoose it was inevitable.

    He says he is getting emails from "nutters" which is not good. Nutters are nutters no matter who they angrily email.

    I also live in Edinburgh, and could see his place of work from my lunchtime trip out from the office.

  9. Morph, when I was e-mailed about Poptech's post, one of the first things I said in my response is I don't get why anyone would encourage people to call or e-mail Anders. I think that's pathetic, and even if people support Poptech's efforts to discover Anders's identity, they should condemn him for doing something so disgraceful.

    I don't trust Anders's interpretation of who are "nutters" given the ridiculous misinterpretations he constantly comes up with, but the fact people are e-mailing him at all is stupid. I don't really feel sympathy for Anders, but I certainly feel disgust.

  10. I agree with Brandon that encouraging people to email him is a bad idea - it's pointless and will just give him the opportunity to play the abused victim card.

    It's not particularly interesting to know his name. However I do think it's significant that he ran a left-wing politics blog for a while, at which he started writing about climate science and criticising Anthony Watts, then started a completely new blog specifically targeting WUWT, without making any link with the previous blog. Particularly since he's accused skeptics of being politically motivated.

    I also agree that it's a bit strange that those who had commented at his political blog didn't make the connection, since the style is so similar and very distinctive. I suppose it's easy to see this with hindsight.

  11. Paul Matthews, exactly. Even if one didn't think it is wrong, it's strategically stupid. I guess it could be kind of interesting to know more about the kind of person Anders is... if anyone still cares? He's shown enough of his character that I don't really need to know more about him, but maybe others would be more interested.

    Barry Woods, sorry about that. For some reason I have trouble keeping your names straight when I type.

  12. I agree, the link between the different websites and twitter accounts would have been enough - we didn't need to know exactly who ATTP is - but doing so unfortunately does release the nutters amongst us all, and they do exist on all sides and none of this debate.

    I haven't see any comments from WUWT about this or from Richard Tol - both named as helping with the "outing" in the poptech post - although that might just be a reference to comments made elsewhere over time. I have read tweets or comments from Tol stating something like ATTP is an academic at a scottish Uni .

    Also there are no comments (at least non published) on the Poptech posting.

  13. Here's his link:

    Looks like an astronomer not a physicist, if this is really the same guy as Anders.

    3000 citations is a very good number for RIce's field. I don't think Michael E Mann, for all of his fame, has that many more that that.

    By the way, I totally agree with Brandon when he says: I think that’s pathetic, and even if people support Poptech’s efforts to discover Anders’s identity, they should condemn him for doing something so disgraceful.

  14. To add to previous comments.

    I have no problem with "Anders" expressing his views. I do have an issue with his name-calling so I stopped reading his blog at that point - which meant of course his ability to "influence" me ended. (I'm tending towards the lukewarmer argument if that matters).

    I do also have an issue with his (potential, I don't know this for certain) role in teaching.

    What if a student for whatever reason expressed some doubt or challenge to the CAGW idea - would Anders immediately assume that the student was "just wrong" as he often does via twitter and/or his blog ? Or would be look beyond that and look at the student's ability to argue and research the point they may have ?

    Based on his science I would be happy. Adding in his politics I wonder.

    I'm also not against his left wing leanings, I'm an ex-Gaurdian reader myself and have lefty politics in my nature - that doesn't automatically make one a believer in CAGW - Graham Stringer MP for example is a very left leaning MP but also a skeptic on the UK Commons energy and climate change committee for very valid left wing reasons - if you are going to make poor people poorer you had better have a bl00dy good reason to do so...

  15. Morph, I have no problem with telling people Anders's identity. The topic doesn't interest me, but people can discuss whatever they want. The thing which bothers me is Poptech posting Anders's e-mail address and phone number, telling people to contact take advantage of them.

    Carrick, I was tempted to read some of Anders's papers and see what they're like. He's repeatedly failed to grasp simple technical points while discussing global warming, so I'm curious if he does better in his actual field (and in more formal work). I decided not to because I don't care to familiarize myself with a new field at the moment.

  16. I just found out about this. I sort of lost interest in following the ATTP blog recently; got busy with other things. Oddly, if Anders himself hadn't mentioned it on his blog I'd never have known. Of course, I don't particularly care and never really did care what his identity was. Mostly I cared to discover whether he was blowing smoke about being a professor with a physics background.

    I think that’s pathetic, and even if people support Poptech’s efforts to discover Anders’s identity, they should condemn him for doing something so disgraceful.

    Amen. It is disgraceful.

  17. Judith Curry links to Poptech's site about ATTP in her weekly blog.

    My view is that Rice chose to be an anonymous keyboard warrior so he could continue with his character assasination and allow/participate to a great volume of venom comments, especially directed at Watts, Tol, Ridley and Curry, whilet blocking opposing views. That's why I imagined it would not take long to identify ATTP, it's open visors now, let's see how it goes from here. What goes around comes around.

  18. Mark Bofill, I'm actually interested now that Poptech has added this to his post:

    There has been some confusion about who is largely responsible for this article likely due to the acknowledgements of assistance (now reworded) from Anthony Watts and Richard Tol. Without question I am the one almost entirely responsible for all of this, as both will surely attest to. My technical skills and resources allowed me to narrow him down to Scotland then Edindurgh within a few days of starting this project.

    I have no idea what "technical skills and resources" Poptech is talking about, but it took me less than 10 minutes to find a person talking to Anders saying what university he was at (or rather, what e-mail he uses, which is given by the university). I don't know why Poptech would have to narrow anything down to Scotland rather than just skip straight to the university, but even if he did go that route for some reason, why would it take him "a few days"?

    I actually regret not digging up Anders's identity now, just because it's silly how easy he made it to identify him. With had admin rights at WUWT (so I could look at commenters' IP addresses), it would take less than half a day to figure it out.

  19. Hoi Polloi, it's remarkable how easy it would have been to figure out Anders's identity. If I were Anthony Watts or Barry Woods/Brad Keyes* and had commented on Ken Rice's blog, I'd have suspected his identity right away. The timing of him creating his current blog is too convenient, and his writing style is so obvious. I don't know how people missed it. I missed it because I follow WUWT so I never saw Anders comment there. I'm not sure what their reason is.

    *I keep mixing up these two names when discussing which person commented at Rice's blog. I think I know which name is right, but I'm on my phone right now, and that makes it a pain to do any research. I'd rather be overly cautious than make the same mistake again.

  20. Brandon,

    Yeah, I remember you identified the University of Edinburgh here. The 97% consensus that he wasn't a physicist I guess turns out to be incorrect? I'm not 100% clear on whether or not he's more an astronomer or a physicist, I don't really know what astrophysicists are all about. Anyway, I thought it was a fun and interesting puzzle, but not one to be solved in order to harrass anybody. That's a really scummy thing to do.

  21. Mark Bofill, that much was easy to figure out. I think I spent all of 10 minutes trying to figure out Anders's identity in my entire life, and in that little time, I figured out that much. I probably would have figured out more if I had cared. I just don't. Secret identities mean so little to me, and Anders isn't important enough for me to care about.

    I've never had a thought on whether or not Anders was a physicist or not. I've always assumed he was since he said he was, but I've also never cared. There are incompetent physicists just like there are incompetents in any other field. Why should I care if Anders is yet another example of a bad educator? There are millions of such across the world.

    As for the puzzle, I have way too many other things I ought to be working on. I'd have figured out Anders's identity if someone offered to pay me to do so, but otherwise, it seems too boring to care. There are about a million other things I'd rather spend my time on. It's a shame since it turns out the puzzle was so easy to solve. Oh well. I'm okay with letting people like Poptech deal with these petty, unimportant issues. It's about all they can handle, as demonstrated by behavior like that in this tweet of Poptech's:

    Whiny little twerps can be petulant brats if they'd like. I'd much rather focus on something useful. For instance, I've written over half of my formal complaint to the IPCC regarding Richard Tol's abuse of the IPCC report. I'm hoping to get it finished today. I should have gotten it finished months ago, but since nobody seems to care about the issue, it's been hard to find the motivation.

  22. Mark Bofill, as it happens, astrophysics and physics don't have a huge amount of overlap, except on the theoretical side. So not a practicing physicist at any rate.

    You can see his CV here. He graduated from the University of Natal, Durban. My guess his anonymity is the result a mild concern on his part that some jerk would try and turn what was probably a unique and interesting learning experience into a negative.

    What Brandon says is right though. Plenty of incompetent physicists out there. The degree doesn't matter, nor where you obtained it, as much as what you do with it.

    But if Ken Rice wants to claim any special technical expertise in physics, though, I sure don't see it on his resume.

  23. "Yeah, I remember you identified the University of Edinburgh here."
    Yeah, but Brandon knew his IP adress (same comment), so he had an advantage 😉

    All I know is that Rice spends too much time on his blog/comments, answers almost everybody within minutes, even when his wife asks him to get up and do some shopping....

    Also too much Policor on Rice me thinks, when not used to the heat stay out of the kitchen or, as we say here, who bounces the ball can expect it back in his face.

  24. Hoi Polloi, I actually didn't use Anders's IP address to figure out what university he's from. It was only after I found out what university he was from that I looked up what IP address he had used when commenting here. I had assumed his IP address would just tell me his general location. I didn't realize he'd commented from his university's network.

  25. I just saw the greatest belieavalist boob i can imagine. The uptight physicist and staunch scientivist Arthur Smith the mormon published this:

    One reason I haven't felt an urgent need to write has been a couple of excellent new entrants in the climate blogosphere:

    English physicist and pseudoynmous blogger "...and Then There's Physics" at
    Amusingly sarcastic Australian blogger "Sou" at

    Arthur Smith undercuts his credentials instantly. Not that they ever seemed very strong.

  26. Graeme, thanks for providing an interesting quote. Do you happen to have a link handy?

    Arthur Smith is a strange character. He acts though he is reasonable and willing to examine issues, but when people actually try to get him to, he stalls and finds any excuse to not listen to what people have to say. I'm used to that, but what's baffling is he'll then turn around and claim nobody ever explains the skeptic arguments he ignored, even in the presence of the people who explained them to him. I suppose it's no surprise he thinks Anders and Sou are great.

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