In Process Review of "A Disgrace to the Profession"

As you may know from a few recent posts, I had some problems arise due to PayPal decided to take money for a couple purchases out of my bank account instead of my PayPal account. They've all been cleared up thanks to PayPal's Twitter customer service team (which solved the problem quickly when the phone line people couldn't accomplish anything), and in a few days money transfers will go through and everything will be back to normal.

In the meantime, a reader kindly purchased a copy of Mark Steyn's new book, A Disgrace to the Profession, a response of sorts to a lawsuit Michael Mann filed against him. I had been wanting to read this book, but I couldn't buy it when it was released due to my online accounts having issues, and that's when the reader contacted me to offer to purchase it for me.

Anyway, I got it in the mail yesterday, and I started reading it. If you saw my last post, you know I was not happy with what I saw. Because of that, I've decided to do something I haven't done in half a year. I'm going to do a "live" book review. That is, as I read the book, I will write my thoughts and reactions in the comments below. That'll give me a place to post all my thoughts so I don't have to keep making new post after new post.

If you want to know what to expect, I did this once before on this site for a book by Steven Mosher and Thomas Fuller named Climategate: The CRUtape Letters. I also did it once before in the comments section of another site, for Michael Mann's book about the hockey stick debate. That live review is what eventually led to me writing a short eBook to give people an easy introduction into the hockey stick debate (and its follow up).

As those eBooks will show, I am no fan of Michael Mann. My decision to review Steyn's book has nothing to do with a desire to defend Mann against Steyn's criticisms or to make Steyn look bad. I actually wanted to like this book. I just can't make myself ignore the many serious problems the book has. And hey, I was given a free copy of the book. Reviewing it so people know what I think seems like like something I should do.

Plus, I can't resist it since Steyn includes this entertaining bit near the end of the introduction of his book:

One quick bit of business: In the pages that follow, the source for each scientist's quotation is footnoted. However, because of the extraordinary level of paranoia about "doctored quotes" that attends the climate debate, we've retained the various spellings - British, American or the often charming English of Swedes and Finns - and made only a few punctuation changes.

What makes this remarkable is I'm pretty sure Steyn's book has more misquotations than any other book I have ever seen. A lot of them are trivial, as I mentioned in my previous post, but some of them are more serious. For instance, over at Judith Curry's blog, some people noticed she had misquoted a source and criticized her for it. It turns out that same error can be found in Steyn's book. It may well be she copied the mistake from his book. As I explained at her site:

I was flipping through Mark Steyn's new book, and a passage happened to catch my eye. Steyn references a YouTube video of a presentation given by Richard Muller, now best known as the head of the Berkeley Earth (BEST) group. Steyn says:

What Professor Muller could not have foreseen was that hockey-stick science was not just "phony" but corrupt. Six years later he wrote:

Now this was a speech, but there was a Powerpoint presentation with text on the screen, so that does make sense. What followed, however, is wrong:

What they did was, and there's a quote... "Let's use Mike's trick to hide the decline."

There's quite a bit more text, but that wasn't anything Muller wrote on his presentation. That's something Muller said, out loud. It's understandable he might not include the ellipsis while speaking because he wasn't necessarily using quotation marks while speaking, but when Muller wrote it on the screen, he wrote:

as published, using "Mike's trick" to "hide the decline"

So Steyn did get the quote wrong, by creating a transcript of Muller's speech that created a false quote then claiming it was written text by Muller rather than spoken words. Judith Curry may well have copied the text straight from Steyn's book, trusting that he would have gotten the quote correct.

That was on page 26, well ahead of where I actually am in this live review. I hope you'll forgive me for jumping ahead a bit. I just thought it was hilarious how I hadn't thought a thing about doctored quotes prior to picking up Steyn's book, but then he went out of his way to mock the idea... while doctoring quotes.


  1. So... yeah. I'm not sure how to begin the review since I already pointed out the problems of the introductory sentence in my previous post. Long story short, Steyn begins his book by quoting a guy as saying:

    Over the last 10,000 years it has been warmer than today 65 per cent of the time.

    And pretending he was talking about the planet's temperatures when the guy was really just talking about the temperatures as estimated via three glaciers in one mountain range. Steyn then immediately turned around and in, a stupifying fit of hypocrisy, condemned Michael Mann for drawing conclusions about the planet's temperatures via a small number of trees from one portion of North America.

    There's about a page and a half of rhetoric for this part. It makes me want to fall asleep. Apparently some people really like it though. I've never understood the appeal of Steyn's writing style, but if you like it, this introduction is great for you because he sure lays it on thick. Then he says:

    He was obliged to withdraw the false claim to be a Nobel Prize recipient

    That line wakes me up every time I get to it because, and I know this doesn't really matter, but... grammar? The book is rather well written when it comes to grammar so I don't want to assume this is a mistake, but I can't figure out how "to be" works in that line. Oh well, it's the next part of the sentence where things begin to matter:

    but not the defamation charge - over my description of his hockey stick as "fraudulent". I'll stand by that. It does not prove what it purports to prove.

    Is... that it? Steyn will stand by his description of the hockey stick as "fraudulent" because it "does not prove what it purports to prove"? That's the standard he's going with? Not that it's dishonest, or that it's completely wrong, but that it doesn't prove what it purports to prove?

    I feel like that can't be the standard Steyn wants to advance, but immediately after this he goes right back to condemning Mann for relying on little data from one area. So... I guess that's it. If your work doesn't successfully prove what it purports to prove, Steyn will call it fraudulent.

    Hope you never make a mistake folks. Apparently if you ever say you've proven something when you really haven't, you've committed fraud...?

  2. I made a passing remark about something in my last post, but I want to devote a little more time to it here. On page iii, Steyn says:

    I wonder how many of those who regard it as an authoritative graph of global climate across the centuries are aware that its hockey-stick shape for the entire hemisphere depends on two clumps of trees: some California bristlecones, and some cedars from the Gaspé Penisula – or rather, for the years up to 1421, just one cedar from the Gaspé Penisula. Quick, hands up, who knows where the Gaspé Peninsula is? I do, because I’m a Quebecker and I’ve been to the Gaspé dozens of times and regard it as one of my favorite places on earth. But it is not the earth. How many of us, on being assured that “the science is settled”, are aware that it’s been settled on the basis of one Québécois tree?

    The problem with this statement is the Gaspé series never winds up determining the shape of Michael Mann's hockey stick like he portrays. Both it and the bristlecone series are used at the same time, and as long as you use either, you still get a hockey stick shape. That means you could completely remove that "one Québécois tree" without it affecting Mann's results in any meaningful way.

    Now, that's not a defense of Mann's work. The fact he used two questionable proxies at the same time doesn't somehow mean his work is okay because his methodology can cherry-pick a particular result as long as you have at least one proxy with the "right" signal. In other words, this doesn't matter because it somehow redeems Mann's work; it matters because it's important to accurately criticize Mann's work so he and his defenders can't find excuses to hide behind.

    The weirdest part is Steyn refers to the bristlecone series in the same paragraph. I have no idea why he talks about them then suddenly seems to forget they exist and focuses only on Gaspé. It's very bizarre.

  3. This next example is my favorite one so far, and I think it may stay my favorite one throughout the entire book just because of how completely random and absurd it is. In the middle of a page long paragraph rambling on about something that lost my interest by the third sentence, Steyn says this on page vi:

    There are fewer women than one might wish, but it seems to be a male-dominated field and indeed there is a palpable misogyny in the way some of Mann's defenders attack his female critics.7

    I suspect one could say the same thing about any critics of female scientists anywhere with equal validity, just due to societal issues, but that's unimportant for the point I want to make (and much too important for me to possibly discuss in the middle of an absent-minded review like this one). The point I want to make is Steyn's footnote for this point is utterly absurd

    7Diehard Manniac blogger "Tamino", for example, condescendingly refers to the aforementioned and distinguished Dr Judith Cury as "Aunt Judy" (see, which...

    Now, I'll be generous and forgive Steyn's lack of basic research which would show Tamino doesn't actually call Judith Curry "Aunt Judy" anymore, and hasn't called her that for over a year now. I'll do so even though the source he directs people to has a link to the page where Tamino says:

    [Response: I disagree — it never struck me as a “pat on the head” — but I see your point. So, I’ll find another monicker for Prof. Curry.]

    Why not? After all, that's a rather trivial mistake. It is nothing like what Steyn goes on to say:

    which appears to be a derogatory p0rno term for an older woman one would be willing to have sex with if no one younger was to hand. Given that Mann enthusiastically facilitated the reduction of scientific dispute to name-calling, it would be unreasonable to expect his Mannboys to confine themselves to merely the Holocaust echoes of "denier".

    I changed a letter in that one word just to help prevent my site from being indexed under the wrong terms in search engines. Other than that, that is taken straight from Mark Steyn. Apparently some people somewhere used the term "Aunt Judy" to have a certain sexual connotation, so when a person called Judith Curry that, it was a p0rno reference.

    I don't have words for how ridiculous a leap that is. I've read Tamino's blog for years, and I've seen him called Curry "Aunt Judy" a number of times. Not once did I get the slightest hint he meant it that way. I've seen plenty of things which make it clear he wouldn't use it that way.

    But to Steyn, that doesn't matter. You do a Google search for "Aunt Judy" and p0rn will pop up. So clearly, Mann's defenders must be sexist pigs willing to make p0rn references to insult women who criticize Mann. That's the only possible conclusion...?

  4. Shortly after the whole p0rno thing, Steyn decides to go after Michael Mann because Mann said something that is completely true and unremarkable:

    Oh, and one other ecumentical point: Mann told an Irish interviewer that "in the US, belief in climate change is about as good a predictor of party affiliation as anything in this country"8 - in other words, only right-wing loons oppose him.

    There is absolutely nothing remarkable about that statement from Mann. Anyone who looks at any polling data for the United States will agree global warming is a highly polarized topic, divided largely along party lines. They'd say the same thing Mann said. Why is Steyn singling out such an unremarkable quote and putting such a sinister spin on it?

    Well, the reason is because Mann actually believes the spin Steyn puts on it. In fact, if you read the context of the quote, you'll see the spin Steyn puts on that quote is actually a fairly reasonable summary of Mann's view. But imagine if you didn't know that. Imagine if you were reading this book while in the park without any way to access the internet to check his references. Would you ever think poorly of a person for saying:

    in the US, belief in climate change is about as good a predictor of party affiliation as anything in this country

    I wouldn't. On its own, that's a perfectly reasonable statement. And maybe it's just me, but I think you should never quote a person saying something reasonable to claim that's proof they're unreasonable.

  5. Alright, I think this is going to be my last comment for a bit. I was supposed to go to sleep quite a while ago, but I couldn't fall asleep because I was too annoyed about this book. I'm hoping writing a bit about it will make it so I can get at least a little sleep. Before I do though, I want to point out what may be Steyn's most brazen misrepresentation in his book. On page vii, he says:

    One of Mann's more dull-witted partisans, Greg Laden of Science Blogs, noted the presence of Eduardo Zorita and Simon Tett on the list of scientists herein, and assumed I'd made a mistake - because these are "mainstream climate scientists" rather than deniers

    Now I'm not sure if those quotation marks are supposed to be real quotation marks or scare quotes. That phrase doesn't actually appear in the blog post Steyn cites, but the real issue here is this entire representation is a blatant fabrication. Nobody could possibly read Laden's post and believe his argument is what Steyn claims it is.

    Now, Laden and I don't get along. Not two months ago, he was telling everybody about how I do "very very bad things." Or rather, he was telling everybody I do "very very bad things" but refusing to say what any of those "very very bad things" were. It was really weird, but funny.

    The guy's something of a joke, but still, he's not dumb enough to say, "That guy is a mainstream climate scientist so he couldn't possibly have said anything negative about Michael Mann" like Steyn would have you believe. What he actually said was things like:

    So, Zorita is a real climate scientist who has concerns about the way some of the research is conducted. That’s good. Scientists should always be concerned about how the research is conducted, and it is healthy to have such conversations. But is Zorita a Hockey Stick denier like Mark Steyn implies he is? No. I gave you a clue to this earlier in the post when I mentioned the PAGES 2K study. Did you notice that Zorita is an author of that major paper, known, among other things, for confirming the Hockey Stick?

    Personally I can’t think of a worse choice to list as a person criticizing the hockey stick than an author of the largest effort by scientists that confirmed the hockey stick. Maybe Steyn didn’t know. Maybe he should know stuff before he writes a book about it.

    That's not just calling Zorita a mainstream climate scientist; that's saying Zorita has done work which confirmed the hockey stick. That's nothing like what Steyn claimed. I happen to think Laden's portrayal is inaccurate, but even though I disagree with it, I can still accurately describe it. Apparently Steyn can't.

    Similarly, Laden went on to write:

    Zorita did get back to me about Steyn’s use of his quote. He told me that the quote is essentially accurate, and that he has put it on his personal web page several years ago. He was concerned about the perception of objectivity in the IPCC process, so perhaps these researchers should not be part of the process given the controversy at the time caused by the famous Climategate hacked emails. However, he was careful to note that his statement was “not related to the quality of their scientific work. Actually, my statement was a suggestion to isolate the IPCC process from the credibility crisis linked to Climategate.” So this is about perception, not about the quality of the science or the validity of the Hockey Stick. He went on to say, “I feel that those political attacks, specially those against Michael Mann in the US, have no justification.”

    Again, this has nothing to do with whether or not Zorita is a mainstream climate scientist. This is Laden saying Zorita wasn't concerned about Mann's scientific work, but the perception surrounding Mann due to Mann's critics. Steyn's portrayal doesn't even hint at any of that.

    As for Simon Tett? Laden says:

    Dr. Tett is a mainstream climate scientist who has made important contributions to understanding variability in the climate record. Indeed, he has contributed to the the Hockey Stick reconstruction by advancing research on the role of aerosols. Tett and Michael Mann have published together on this issue. It made no sense that Tett would be bashing Mann and his work, because some of that is his own work.

    Again, I don't agree with Laden's portrayal, but what he says has nothing to do with Tett being a mainstream climate scientist. Laden's explanation for why he thought Steyn shouldn't have included Tett in his book is Tett is a supporter of Mann, having published work with Mann. But Steyn ignores all of what Laden says and comes up with that ridiculous portrayal that has no connection to what Laden actually said:

    One of Mann's more dull-witted partisans, Greg Laden of Science Blogs, noted the presence of Eduardo Zorita and Simon Tett on the list of scientists herein, and assumed I'd made a mistake - because these are "mainstream climate scientists" rather than deniers

    So yeah, apparently what Steyn says doesn't need to have any connection to what he refers to or reality at all. It's just there so he can ramble and rant on about whatever it is he wants to go on about. And because of that, I'm going to be stuck siding with a bunch of people I don't like as I go through this book.

    I need booze.

  6. Credit where credit’s due, Brandon… Kudos. Between the sorry display by Laden and Mosher and Steyn and Judith and Mann, you come up squeaky clean. Perhaps damning by faint praise, but credit where credit’s due.

    I left a similar comment at Judith's but it well may not get out of moderation, and as I recall I'm in moderation here as well so my comment may not see the light of day here either, but if noone else does, at least you and Judith will read it - which is actually the point of writing the comment.

  7. The next couple pages of the book are actually good, highlighting some exchanges on Twitter involving a guy named Michael Liebreich. Liebreich believes in global warming but thinks Michael Mann is unethical. Unfortunately, Steyn decided to ding this good section with a minor misquotation, saying Mann respond to Liebreich on Twitter:

    to recommend that Liebreich "should read my book"

    When what he actually said was:

    Should read my book

    Changing lower case letters to upper case letters, or visa versa, is a relatively minor way of misquoting a person, but it is still a way of misquoting them. There's no reason for it because Steyn could easily have typed "[s]hould" instead of "should." I would have probably just ignored most of these minor misquotations, but since Steyn said:

    One quick bit of business: In the pages that follow, the source for each scientist’s quotation is footnoted. However, because of the extraordinary level of paranoia about “doctored quotes” that attends the climate debate, we’ve retained the various spellings – British, American or the often charming English of Swedes and Finns – and made only a few punctuation changes.

    I kind of feel obliged to point them all out. You don't get to make jokes about paranoia over doctored quotes then misquote people and not get called out on it.

    But the bigger thing I wanted to highlight here is what I said above, that these next two pages were actually good. Aside from that minor misquotation, which could have easily been avoided, they show exactly what this book should have been - an interesting and compelling tale of how people have reacted to Michael Mann and his work. That's what I was hoping for when I picked up this book for the first time.

    Instead, the next couple pages go back to Steyn stroking his ego with lots of largely empty rhetoric which apparently draws some crowds but doesn't actually provide any information other than to tell the reader what Steyn was thinking at whatever moment he wrote it.

  8. Fun fact Joshua, I haven't actually placed anyone on moderation on this site in the sense of using the software to do it. I just informed the people and let them enforce it themselves. The first time, I did it by accident because I forgot to add their name to the moderation filter. When I realized it still worked, I decided I'd just stick with the approach and see what happened. One user came back despite me having placed them on moderation, but they waited long enough I had completely forgotten so they were effectively allowed back in. I don't remember the thread where I said I was putting you in moderation, so as far as I'm concerned, you're cleared too.

    It's not really a good formal moderation policy, but if it works, it works. I've only had to unapprove/delete two comments that weren't left by spambots. As long as I can keep my moderation that cooperative, I'm fine if it means people I place in moderation come back after a while.

    Anyway, thanks for your comment. I appreciate it.

  9. So I've decided to skip the rest of the introduction in terms of review. I had thoughts about what I read, but it was mostly disussing what would come in the rest of the book. I'd rather wait to comment on the topics until they're brought up in more detail. So we'll jump straight to Page 1, where the Prologue begins with a misquotation:

    A colossal mistake

    This is attributed to Dr Jerry D Mahlman, who Steyn explains coined the name of the "hockey stick" graph. Oddly enough, the next page then gets the quotation correct, quoting an article which quotes Mahlman:

    The panel's decision to emphasize the hockey stick so strongly "was a colossal mistake, just as it was a mistake for the climate-science-writing press to amplify it,"

    The difference is minor. If that were all that were wrong with this section, I wouldn't think much of it. The point that Mahlman believes Mann's hockey stick was given far too much emphasis is a good one. However, Steyn's summary of things in this two page prologue contains a much more serious problem. Referring to Mahlman, he says:

    He told a peer-reviewed journal that Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, the two Canadians who had the nerve to criticize Mann's science, were mere "quacks"2.

    That's a pretty serious claim. It has practically nothing to do with the case against Mann, but it's something which seemed rather remarkable. What made it more remarkable is the reference given was page 127 of Michael Mann's book. I've spent quite a bit of time with that book. I don't remember reading that. Naturally, I looked up what Steyn based this on. When I did, I saw this:

    According to Thacker, "what began as an interview, quickly evolved into a spirited debate. Whenever [Mahlman] pointed out the importance of Mann's work Regaldo would try to shift the discussion back to McIntyre and McKitrick."8 Speaking of McIntyre and McKitrick, Mahlman recounted: "I told him that as far as I know, they're quacks. That kinda riled him."

    That's quite different from how Steyn portrayed it. Steyn said Mahlman called the two mere "quacks." He didn't. Mahlman said as far as he knows, they're quacks, but that doesn't mean they are quacks. It could mean Mahlman just didn't know enough about them.

    That distinction doesn't make what Mahlman said good. Steyn might have been able to write this prologue in a very similar way just by rewording it a bit. But he didn't. Instead, he misrepresented what Mahlman said by exaggerating it.

  10. After the prologue finishes, there's a cartoon on Page 3. It shows Michael Mann standing shirtless and alone just off the shore of an island holding his hockey stick. The section is titled, "Mann is an island." It's a good cartoon, done by a guy who does lots for the climate debate. You can see more here. The only problem with it is it has nothing to do with anything said until Page 7. I don't get that design choice.

    In any event, Pages 3-6 are about Michael Mann's hockey stick and how it holds up to the standards expressed in a quote by Professor Sir Peter Gluckman:

    We need to remember what science is – it is not a compilation of facts. Rather it is a set of processes used to gather relatively reliable information about the world we live in, our societies and ourselves. It is the formality of these processes that gives science its privilege and validity over other claims to knowledge about our world that can only come from belief, received wisdom, or anecdote. When this formality is broken – whether by unsupported claims, hidden biases, lack of reproducibility, and inadequate peer review, public trust in science is harmed and its privilege is undermined.

    It's a really good quote, only, it actually begins:

    In understanding these changes, first we need to remember what science is...

    Steyn has apparently been using that misquotation for over a year now. I don't get it. Steyn apparently believes you can take any part of a sentence, capitalize the first word of it, present it as though it was the start of a sentence, and that's okay? I've never heard of anything like that before, but he's apparently been doing it for quite a while. And he does it again on the very next page, quoting the IPCC as saying:

    The increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely7 to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years. It is also likely7 that, in the Northern Hemisphere, the 1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year.2

    When it actually said:

    New analyses of proxy data for the Northern Hemisphere indicate that the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely7 to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years. It is also likely7 that, in the Northern Hemisphere, the 1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year (Figure 1b).

    There, Steyn didn't just misquote the IPCC by chopping off the first part of a sentence and capitalizing a word that had been in the middle of one. He also removed a parenthetical note from the end of a sentence. He didn't place an ellipsis there to indicate there was more. He didn't leave the period off to say the sentence wasn't over. No. He just straight took out part of the sentence and placed a period there like he hadn't removed anything.

    I get parenthetical notes aren't that important, but come on! Steyn went out of his way to say this in his book:

    One quick bit of business: In the pages that follow, the source for each scientist’s quotation is footnoted. However, because of the extraordinary level of paranoia about “doctored quotes” that attends the climate debate, we’ve retained the various spellings – British, American or the often charming English of Swedes and Finns – and made only a few punctuation changes.

    But then he goes out of his way to change quote after quote after quote?

    And oh, about that footnote thing? Yeah, that's not true either. Steyn provides the same source for his IPCC quote as I give above, but that's the only source he provides on this page. He doesn't provide any reference or source for when he says:

    The only evidence offered in support of this statement was Michael Mann's hockey stick. Does it, indeed, support such a claim? Not according to many of the scientists in these pages. The Danish climatologist Bo Christiansen examined nine Mann "hockey sticks" and says it is "almost impossible to conclude" from any of them that "the present is warmer than any period in the reconstructed period". Professor David Legates writes that "one can have no confidence in the claim that the 1990s are the warmest decade of the last two millennia" (by then Mann had extended his flexi-shaft back another millennium.)

    Here are quotes from two more people, neither given with any sort of reference or source. Not only is that troubling just on principle, it's troubling because Steyn's descriptions of quotes can't be trusted. In particular, Steyn's description of Christiansen's quote is completely and utterly wrong. You can find a full copy of the e-mail it was in on this page. Steyn even gets the number wrong. A short excerpt:

    1) Seven different reconstruction methods are tested
    on the same data. These methods include both direct reconstructions
    of the NH mean temperature and field reconstruction methods.
    The field methods include both the original method of Mann et al. 1998,
    the RegEM Ridge and RegEM TTLS methods used in more recent work.

    There were seven, not nine. It wasn't reconstructions ("hockey sticks") Christiansen examined; it was methods for creating reconstructions. It wasn't Mann's work Christiansen tested, but a variety of methodologies, including some used in Mann's work. Christiansen did say you couldn't draw certain conclusions from reconstructions, but it wasn't from reconstructions he looked at as he only looked at methods for creating reconstructions, not reconstructions themselves.

    In other words, practically every single thing Steyn said about this quote was wrong, something that's easy to tell just by reading it. But reading the whole quote is a bit tricky as he didn't provide a source for it.

    But hey, at least he got the Legates quote right. Here's a source he could have provided for it.

  11. I hadn't realized how late it had gotten, so I was closing things down and getting ready for bed. I figured I'd pick up where I'd left off sometime tomorrow. I probably won't write a lot over the weekend as I'm going on a trip during it, but I'll likely slog through a bit more of the book. Before I sat it down though, something strange caught my eye. People who have read my discussions of Michael Mann's work will have seen me say things like this:

    If “one set of tree ring records” was “of critical importance in establishing the reliability of the reconstruction,” the reconstruction could not have been “relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators.”

    Many times as Mann's original hockey stick paper claimed its results were "relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators" while Mann admits in his book "one set of tree ring records" was "of critical importance in establishing the reliability of the reconstruction." What caught my eye in Steyn's book is he says:

    As Mann put it, "one set of tree-ring records" was "of critical importance" in conjuring his hockey stick3.

    Now, I can't comment on this without pointing out this has basically the same problem as the one I discussed before where Steyn said a single tree in the Gaspe series was responsible for the hockey stick. That was wrong, and so is this. As I've explained before:

    basically, Mann’s test found if he removed the 19 Graybill and 1 Woodhouse series, he could still get a hockey stick thanks to the Gaspe series. That’s why it was “of critical importance in establishing the reliability of the reconstruction,” not the results of the reconstruction.

    Mann's comment was about establishing "the reliability of the reconstruction," or making it so the reconstruction's results didn't hinge upon a single proxy. That's different from how Steyn portrays it, where the results themselves hinge upon a single proxy.

    But that's not what caught my eye. What caught my eye is Steyn said, "As Mann put it, 'one set of tree-ring records' was..." There's a hyphen in there. There wasn't a hyphen in any of the ones I typed. There isn't a hyphen in the book I have sitting right next to me. Where did it come from? I know this is completely unimportant, but... was it intentional? Just how much would the people involved in making this book feel comfortable changing quotes?

  12. I just want to leave a comment to thank you for putting the time to share your views. There is too much noise on the topic of "climate change". A cool head is appreciated.

  13. Joshua, I thought you were the expert on what's not used in p*rn sites. Like the word 'p0rn'.

    [Replaced a letter 'o' with an asterisk for search index purposes - mod]

  14. As I had no idea about the "provenance" of "Aunt Judy," my knowledge of p0rn lexicon is far inferior to yours, Shub.

    Btw - my reference to Laden above was mistaken. Although I've seen him write some pretty bad posts, I actually think that his post in this whole clown car parade was pretty good. I was thinking of the Tony Heller aka godddard post. Amazingly enough, Steyn has not claimed the title of most juvenile and least productive participant in the climate wars...he must share the crown. Really impressive that Judith and Mosher are participating in this mess. Just goes to show how powerful is the tendency towards the identity-aggressive and identity-defensive behaviors that tribalism stimulates.

  15. Thanks Laura!

    Joshua, Shub, please try to keep the bickering toned down. Good-natured bickering that's funny can be cool to watch, but I'd really rather not have things devolve into a long series of petty jabs that aren't remotely clever or funny. Then again, a lot of people apparently find Mark Steyn to be extremely witty while I find his writing to be snooze inducing, so perhaps how witty one's insults are isn't as relevant as I thought. Either way, it's something to at least consider. I'm not asking as moderation thing; just as a person who's posting here.

    One moderation thing I will ask is please do not use the word "p0rn" with its normal spelling. I'm going to edit comments to change it when people do. I don't have a problem with the word itself, but I don't want it appearing a bunch of times on my website because of what can happen with search engines. Search engines often use words they find on your site to try to classify your site for a variety of purposes, including when suggesting related search results. I'd rather not have people searching for my site have p0rn offered as an alternative.

  16. Anyway, back to the review. There's another quote here given without a source or reference. And another. And another. They all seem to be used accurately enough though, so it's not too bad. Where things get bad is after the third quote when Steyn decides to describe what some people say without quoting them:

    Furthermore, the scientists who actually collected the tree-ring data that Mann cannibalized insist they're primarily an indicator of CO2 fertilization, not temperature.

    This is complete nonsense. Steyn is referring to words of caution offered by Graybill and Idso, which I've discused in the past. Data they collected made up much of the data for one of the two key proxies in Mann's original hockey stick, NOAMER PC1. This is the first point Steyn gets wrong. Their data did not make up all of NOAMER PC1, and there was still the other important proxy, the Gaspe proxy, which Steyn focused so much on above. Additionally, there was quite a bit of other data that was less important. Calling the Graybill and Idso data "the tree-ring data that Mann cannibalized" is highly misleading.

    What's more important though is, as I've pointed out in the past, those authors caution that due to CO2 fertilization in about the last couple centuries:

    calibration of tree-ring records of this nature with instrumental climate records may not be feasible

    Which calls into question the ability to use these tree ring series as temperature proxies like Mann did, by calibrating them against the modern temperature record. However, Steyn claims the authors insist their data is "primarily an indicator of CO2 fertilization, not temperature." However, the authors actually say this right in the abstract of their paper:

    However, climate signals prior to about the mid-19th century may yet be discovered by calibrating such tree-ring series with independently derived proxy climate records for those times.

    That is, the authors say they believe (not insist) their data indicates CO2 fertilization is an issue after 1850, but prior to ~1850, the data may be used to measure other things. Since the point of temperature reconstructions is to estimate past temperatures, going back hundreds or thousands of years, only being useful prior to ~1850 isn't necessarily that bad a thing. You couldn't use it with Mann's methodology which requires calibrating your data to the modern temperature record, but you could use it with other approaches.

    But the point is you can't say authors "insist" series are "primarily an indicator of CO2 fertilization, not temperature" because they say they think one part of the series indicates CO2 fertilization. Some of the series go back to before 300 AD. That means the portions which the authors think indicate CO2 fertilization are less than 10% of those series. Yet Steyn says the authors "insist they're primarily an indicator of CO2 fertilization"? That's nonsense.

  17. I did some checking, and it looks like maybe these quotes which aren't getting references are quotes which get references later in the book when they're used as the lead quote in a section of their own. I'm not sure of the logic of that one. I don't see how providing a sourc3e 80+ pages after you quote something, in a completely unrelated part of your book, is an adequate way of documenting your quotations.

    It does create some funny things though. For instance, two unreferenced quotes later, on Page 6, Steyn says:

    Is Mann's work "reproducible"? They gave it a go in Berlin. "She came to the conclusion that she cannot reproduce his diagram," says Professor Ulrich Cubasch.

    There's no context to clarify that. Who is Cubasch? Just some professor, apparently. Who is this mysterious "she" he refers to? I know, because I happen to remember the Climate Audit postthis quote is taken from, and I suppose you could probably find which section of the book gives a reference to it, but...

    Seriously? Not only does Steyn not provide a reference for this quote, he uses a quote which uses a pronoun to refer to a person the reader has no way of identifying? What if that "she" had been a janitor or a hobo living on the street corner? We'd never know!

    And you know the worst part? Just two sentences later, Steyn complains:

    Except for a small trusted coterie, Mann declined - for years - to release the elements needed to reproduce his stick.

    How do you complain about the lack of verifiability in a person's work while failing to meet the basic standard of providing references for your quotations?

    Whatever. There's four more quotations given without sources, two of which are misquoted in Steyn's typical fashion of presenting the middle of a sentence as the beginning of it. I'm not typing them out because I want to finally get to the first numbered section of the book.

  18. People like jerks. Jerks buck authority, so if they're successful, it must mean they're just that good. Or at least, that's the idea. With some people, it might be true. It's certainly true with fictional characters like the wonderfully snarky Dr. House. He's arrogant, rude and obnoxious, but he's also smart, funny and right. What he's not is self-aggrandizing.

    The reason I point this out is reading the first numbered section of Mark Steyn's book made me realize he's self-aggrandizing. Any self-respecting jerk knows not to be that. If you're awesome, be awesome. Don't say you're awesome. Show, don't tell.

    In this case, what Steyn does that's so obnoxious is name drop. THere's nothing more obnoxious and pathetic than the guy who tells you about all the people he knows, all the people he's met and blah, blah, blah. And yet, right in his first main section, Steyn begin:

    Before the hockey stick, climate science was a complicated business: a vast Amazonian river (as Professor Kiminori Itoh of Yokohama National University characterized it1) with many tributaries - from aerosols and volcanoes to solar variations and land surface modifications.

    Okay, maybe Steyn just really liked the metaphor of and wanted to give credit where credit was due. I could accept that. The blog post he cites isn't anything remarakble, but sure. There's nothing wrong with sprinkling references into your writing every here and there.

    Only, Steyn's next two sentences are:

    What if all that complexity could be simplified? Really simplified - into "a nice tidy story" (in Professor Keith Briffa's words) about "unprecedented warming in a thousand years"2.

    Why? What benefit is there to quoting Briffa here? Briffa didn't provide a clever turn of phrase or insightful metaphor. The only reason Steyn quoted him here is so he could jam another name into the paragraph. He didn't care what Briffa actually had to say. He was just looking for words he could use, regardless of their context, to shove another name into the narrative he was trying to create. This is obvious because Briffa's actual remarks are far more interesting than the small portion Steyn quoted. For instance, here is one small sample:

    I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards 'apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data' but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. We don't have a lot of proxies that come right up to date and those that do (at least a significant number of tree proxies ) some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming. I do not think it wise that this issue be ignored in the chapter.

    This is Keith Briffa, talking to Michael Mann and others about the IPCC chapter which would make Mann famous, saying he doesn't agree with the narrative Mann's results depict. This is taken from a lengthy e-mail in which Briffa explains why he believes the data is far too uncertain to draw the conclusions the IPCC wanted to promote.

    Steyn says not a word about any of it. Instead, he quotes only the phrases "nice tidy story" and "unprecedented warming in a thousand years." He doesn't say a word about the fact one of the climate scientists involved in writing the IPCC chapter which made Mann famous expressed many of the same concerns skeptics would spend the next ten years raising.

    There's an entire story about how Briffa's concerns were waved away, of how Briffa was convinced to go along with a message he knew was misleading, of how doing so was necessary to toe the party line. All of that could make for a fascinating read.

    But to Steyn, none of that is important. The only reason to even look in the general direction of the topic is so he can name drop another scientist to try to act like his book has more weight. The worst part? He later quotes a person asking, "Why did the IPCC so quickly and uncritically accept the hockey stick...?" The answer the quoted individual gives is, "Because they wanted to believe it."

    And that's as far as Steyn takes the question.

  19. Well, that's new. I was trying to look up the head quote for Steyn's first numbered section:

    Today most scientists dismiss the hockey stick."

    Which, it should come as no surprise, is another misquotation. On the very next page of Steyn's book, he gives the same quotation as:

    So today, most scientists dismiss the hockey stick. They do not consider the hockey stick graph to be a correct representation of the global mean temperature.

    I'm not sure what makes a person cut out words from, change punctuation in and capitalize letters of a quotation then turn around and provide the unaltered version of the quotation. That just seems bizarre to me.

    Regardless, what I was more interested in was the actual source of the words. Steyn gives the source as this link, which the internet shows used to exist, but it doesn't work now. The ink on this book is barely even dry, and apparently one of its sources doesn't work anymore. That's troubling. Was the source ever available after the book was shipped out? Maybe. Maybe this was just some really weird timing. Who knows, maybe the problem is just temporary. I'm not going going to dwell.

    Fortunately, Steyn does provide a fairly extensive quote. From it, we can see the problem with his use of it. Remember, he had just quoted Keith Briffa's e-mail from before Michael Mann's work was made famous by the IPCC. That was back in 1999. He then frames the lengthy version of Khandekar's quote by introducing it with the remark:

    In 2009 Dr Khandekcar was interviewed by Canada's Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Asked whether Michael E Mann's hockey stick was "a smoking gun that proves the alarmists right", he replied3:"

    An average reader might not catch the fact 2009 was 10 years after Mann's hockey stick was published. Hopefully they would notice Khandekar mention that fact, but if not, Steyn wouldn't remind them of it. After Khandekar's paragraph ends, Steyn picks up again by saying:

    Can that really be true - that most scientists "dismiss" the hockey stick? As we shall see in the pages that follow, many scientists from around the world disagree with Mann's science, and sometimes very forcefully - and they include not only "deniers" but full-scale "alarmists" and all points on the spectrum in between.

    But wait, who says dismissing work that is 10 years old means you "disagree with Mann's science"? Couldn't one believe Mann's first hockey stick graph was flawed but think his later work improved upon it and did a fairly decent job of things?

    Of course! Many people have said exactly that. I think they're wrong. I've said they're wrong. I've written thousands of words explaining why they're wrong. But I still admit they exist. Apparently Steyn doesn't though. According to Steyn, dismissing the work Mann did in 1998 and 1999 somehow means you "disagree with Mann's science."

    Not just the science of Mann's 1998 and 1999 papers, but all of it. All the science behind everything he's ever written or published. If Steyn can find one quote from you saying you think Mann got one graph wrong 15 or more years ago, then you reject Mann in his entirety.

    You know, Mann himself has said his original hockey stick was flawed. He has said there were some errors in it, and that it didn't accurately reflect the amount of variability past temperatures have. I bet I could find quotes where Mann himself said things largely in line with what Khandekar said. That's how paltry the support Steyn gives in his first numbered section is. It's like saying,

    "This statement Mann himself would probably agree with proves Mann is a horrible person who ruined science!"

  20. I'm probably not going to post anything more about this book for the weekend as I'm leaving for a short trip in a few hours. As a final note, I was checking to see if Steyn had corrected his recent post which claimed a person had gotten a tattoo of Mann's hockey stick. He has. Interestingly, he gave credit for the correction to a guy who had pointed it out on Twitter. What's interesting about that is Steyn has previously corrected a mistake in a post of his (where he falsely claimed nobody had compared Michael Mann to a child molester), but he didn't give credit for that correction. In that case, the person who pointed out the mistake was me.

    I don't know if that means anything, but I thought it was interesting, especially since the person he gives credit to for pointing out this mistake pointed the mistake out something like an hour after I did, and we both pointed it out on Twitter. Steyn doesn't have me blocked, and he has referred to tweets of mine on his site, so... I don't know. Maybe it means nothing. Maybe it means something though. I can't help but remember those times Steve McIntyre or people at his site found problems with people's work, and those people fixed the problems while refusing to give credit. Sometimes they even took credit for finding the problems themselves.

    But that's not what this note is about. I actually didn't see that until after I decided to write this. After opening Steyn's site, I saw he had a new piece up. I was curious if he had decided to smear me anymore, so I checked it out. When I did, I saw this remark:

    And, unlike Michael Mann, who still falsely promotes himself as a Nobel Prize winner (although the Nobel Institute has told him to cut it out), Professor Giaever is a genuine Nobel Laureate in a real discipline - winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

    Is that really true? Does Michael Mann really still "promote[] himself as a Nobel Prize winner"? I haven't heard about him doing that since he was forced to amend the filing for his lawsuit to remove that claim. That was quite a while ago. Is he still doing it after that? I find it hard to believe, especially since I haven't heard about it, but this is Mann we're talking about. I wouldn't put anything past him.

  21. I'm back and happy to report the next numbered section, or... I don't know what to call these things. Each main quote is given its own two page blurb with a number on it. Those numbers go up to 120. Every tenth one, there's a cartoon by Josh and a few pages where Steyn talks about whatever. These are numbered 1-12 in roman numerals. I guess I'll call the two page parts sections and the larger parts chapters.

    Anyway, I'm happy to report Section 2 doesn't have any serious problems. It includes another minor misquotation, and I don't think the scientist quoted (William Happer) is right on some things he says, but the section is mostly fine. I suspect that's largely due to the fact Steyn only writes a few short sentences in it, letting lengthy quotes do most of the talking.

    Section 3 makes me hesitant to be so light on Section 2. In writing this book, Steyn basically just looked for any scientist he could quote who criticized Mann or Mann's work. The problem with that sort of approach is it makes no effort to filter out cranks. I don't think Happer of Section 2 is a crank, which is why I didn't criticize Steyn for quoting a couple statements I think are inaccurate (the nature of scientific disagreement is some disagreement will be wrong, after all). But then Steyn extensively quotes David R Legates in Section 3.

    I won't call Legates a crank. I don't care to get into that discussion right now. What I will say is everything Legates says that gets quoted in this section is not only wrong, but extraordinarily stupid. Steyn doesn't misrepresent it (aside from misquoting it like all those other quotes), but he also clearly doesn't care to check to see if it has any validity. Steyn introduces Legates's writing by saying:

    After taking control of the past - the shaft of the hockey stick - it was necessary to clarify the present - the blade - with a clear, simple message; this is the hottest year of the hottest decade of the hottest century, like, forever! Following the publication of his 2004 paper "Estimation and representation of long-term (>40 year) trends of Northern-Hemisphere gridded surface temperature: A note of caution1" Dr Legates wrote2:

    Nothing stands out in that paragraph, except the complete and utter lack of skepticism of any kind. Steyn doesn't bat an eye as he quotes Legates as saying:

    Recently, my colleagues and I closely examined the "blade" of Mann's latest temperature reconstruction (Geophysical Research Letters, February 2004). According to the IPCC (2001) and many other published sources, the earth warmed only 0.6°C (1°F) during the 20th century. However, that contrasts sharply with the most recent reconstruction by Mann and Jones, which shows warming over the last century of 0.95°C (1.5°F) - a temperature rise more than 50 percent larger than the IPCC claims. Mann's warming estimate has grown substantially over the last couple of years, apparently to accommodate his continuing claim that the 1990s were the warmest decade of the last two millennia, but we found that the blade of the hockey stick could not be reproduced using either the same techniques as Mann and Jones or other common statistical techniques. Since reproducibility is a hallmark of scientific inquiry and the blade does not represent the observed climate record, it is unreliable...

    Interestingly, there was really no reason to use an ellipsis there. That paragraph was an entire section of this article, save it's header. Steyn quoted the entire section, but for some reason, added an ellipsis. In all those other cases where he removed parts of sentences then capitalized words to make it seem like they were where senteces started, he didn't indicate the change. In many other cases, he uses periods to make it seem a sentence ended earlier than it did. But here, he adds an ellipsis when it's unnecessary...?

    Pure rhetoric. It was for the same reason I used that ellipsis. It was to indicate a moment of pause where you're suppose to hesitate to think on what was just said. And that's wrong. You don't get to modify quotes for rhetorical effect. Or at least, you don't if you are a normal person. It's dishonest and kind of insane, but maybe that's what people want in their figureheads. It certainly seems to be working for Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.

    Anyway, before I get too distracted by that, I want to go back to the Legates thing. Steyn quotes Legates to portray Mann as having done something to adjust present temperatures to make them look worse. This is completely insane. Legates bases the idea on the fact the IPCC and others estimated the planet had warmed by ~0.6 degrees during the 1900s Mann and his co-authors latest paper gave the value as 0.95 degrees. Having read that, look at this picture.

    Now think, Mann and his co-authors were reconstructing past temperatures. That's the blue line in that image. Notice how it doesn't even go all the way up to the end of the 1900s. Notice how in the part of the 1900s it does cover, it doesn't show even half a degree of warming. What in the world is Legates talking about?

    It turns out, Legates isn't talking about Mann's temperature reconstruction. He's talking about the red line in that image, the instrumental record. Mann didn't create the instrumental record. He just used it. So how can Legates complain so strongly about it? The IPCC said 0.6 degrees of warming, but it also gave a +/- 0.2 uncertainty range for a reason. There's no objectively correct way to decide how much total warming there was over a century. If you look at the graph they showed for the modern instrumental record, you could easily estimate the total amount of warming as 0.8C degrees, which matches Mann's graph.

    That's not surprising, of course. All Mann did was plot the instrumental record. There could be some small differences based on which instrumental record was used (as there are different groups which produce their own versions and things like that) and different display decisions like how much you smooth the data, but still, nothing remarkable. So what did Legates do? To find out, I decided to read a paper of his (also mentioned in Steyn's book). I wish I hadn't. I wish I hadn't picked up Steyn's book. I'm grateful to the reader who bought me the book; I really am, but I wish they hadn't done it. Because look at this image from the paper.

    I wish I knew a way to do inline images in comments, because this is a huge deal. The third panel of this image shows results from Mann and Jones 2003. That's the same paper the results I linked to earlier were taken from. They're clearly not the same. Why? Well, it turns out I made a foolish little mistake when looking at Mann and Jones 2003. The graph I showed you was clearly labeled "Globe." I showed you it because I figured we were talking about how much the planet had warmed, so I'd show you the graph with results for the planet's temperatures.

    My mistake was thinking Legates would look at the graph labeled "globe" when talking about global temperatures. Once I stopped making that mistake and looked at other results given in Mann's paper, I had no problem finding what Legates was talking about. It was the first graph in the figure I had looked at. I just hadn't thought to look at it because it was so clearly labeled "Northern Hemisphere," and the Northern Hemisphere is kind of not the entire planet.

    I was actually being facetious in all that. I knew exactly what he did the moment I started reading Legates's drivel. It wasn't difficult. Anyone who was paying attention could guess at it. Steyn only wrote a couple sentences, but one of those sentences was:

    Following the publication of his 2004 paper "Estimation and representation of long-term (>40 year) trends of Northern-Hemisphere gridded surface temperature: A note of caution1" Dr Legates wrote2:

    You'd think the words "Northern-Hemisphere gridded surface temperature" might have been a hint to Steyn there was a problem when Legates started talking about how "the earth warmed only 0.6°C (1°F) during the 20th century." I don't know. I know I can usually remember when there's a north, there's usually also a south. Maybe Steyn can't.

    Or hey, maybe Steyn just doesn't care. Maybe he thinks it is okay Legates is a loon who says things that are completely and utterly insane. Maybe he thinks it is alright to quote the most idiotic nonsense imaginable, without correcting it, as long as it shows people agree with him. Because hey, if you've got the crackpots and lunatics on your side, how could you ever be wrong?

  22. Ugh. Section 4 begins with the typical misquotation, but what really bugs me about it is it misses a point that could have been made. Mark Steyn quotes Darrel Ince, PhD as saying:

    One of the key features of science is deniability: if you erect a theory and someone produces evidence that it is wrong, then it falls. This is how science works: by openness, by publishing minute details of an experiment, some mathematical equations or a simulation; by doing this you embrace deniability. This does not seem to have happened in climate research. Many researchers have refused to release their computer programs — even though they are still in existence and not subject to commercial agreements. An example is Professor Mann's initial refusal to give up the code that was used to construct the 1999 "hockey stick" model that demonstrated that human-made global warming is a unique artefact of the last few decades. (He did finally release it in 2005.)

    But Ince is mistaken here. Mann didn't "release it in 2005." He released some of it in 2005. Some of his code has never been released. To this day, we do not have code showing several key aspects of Mann's work. We do not have code showing how Mann decided how many principal components to retain in each step of his reconstruction, a hugely important issue since he has falsely claimed to have used Preisendorfer's Rule N for many years, criticizing Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick for not doing the same. We also don't have code showing how he calculated confidence intervals, important as his appear to have no basis in any mathematical theory. There might be other things we don't have code for as well. Those are just the ones I remember offhand.

    The point here is because Steyn fails to highlight those issues, he helps promote the idea Mann eventually released all his code. Steyn is helping promote the false narrative Mann created.

    It's like, man, can't you put a little effort into verifying your source's claims? Or do you just not care?

  23. I don't really have a problem with Section 5, except one small detail years old. This was a little point that nagged at me when rereading old Climate Audit posts ages back, before I really commented much on blogs. It might have been before I commented on blogs at all. I don't remember exactly. Anyway, Mark Steyn says:

    On February 22nd 2005 Dr Tennekes sent the following email to Stephen McIntyre in Toronot2:

    1. The IPCC review process is fatally flawed.

    2. IPCC willfully ignores the paradigm shift created by the foremost meteorologist of the twentieth century, Edward Lorenz.

    3. The behavior of Michael Mann is a disgrace to the profession.

    4. Hans von Storch and Steve McIntyre have shown the courage of their convictions.

    Now, I'd take a bit of issue with this because the post he cites has a fifth line:

    5. The scientific basis for the Kyoto protocol is grossly inadequate.

    So the quote wasn't the "email," it was part of the e-mail. But here's the thing I noticed years back when I read that e-mail, it refers to McIntyre as "Steve McIntyre." McIntyre says of the e-mail:

    I received this email today from Hendrik Tennekes, retired Director of Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute stating the following positions on Kyoto:

    Is it likely Tennekes sent McIntyre an e-mail with no greeting or anything else, just five numbered points, one of which referred to him in the third person? I don't think so. I suspect what actually happened is Tennekes sent an e-mail to someone else with that numbered list and copied McIntyre in on it. Then McIntyre did the same thing Steyn did, provided an excerpt and described it as the e-mail rather than an excerpt.

    Which isn't a big deal. Don't get me wrong, it's still wrong. You shouldn't describe something as a whole e-mail if it's not, but I can see how it'd happen, especially in a blog post where you might not take much time to proof read. I would normally just make a passing note of it and move on.

    But it looks like this has happened twice to the same e-mail now. That makes me wonder, how many times can an e-mail be shrunk down like this? I can't help but imagine twenty years from now people will be saying, "Tennekes sent the following e-mail":

    The IPCC review process is fatally flawed.

  24. So um... about that whole "crackpots and lunatics" thing? Yeah, Mark Steyn is going full throttle on it. Section 6 quotes Dr Michael R Fox, PhD, in his testimony submitted to the EPA which says:

    The scientific case against man-made global warming has collapsed.

    He doesn't actually quote that part, probably because Steyn realizes even his supporters would largely cringe at the idea of denying anthropogenic global warming is a real thing. But hey, if a person who thinks global warming isn't real thinks Michael Mann's work is fraudulent, clearly it must be reasonable to think the same!

    Seriously though, that testimony is a fascinating read. It's remarkable how horrible it is. I would sooner trust the street person who accosted me while I was leaving Wal-Mart yesterday on scientific matters than a person who wrote it. On the upside, it has what may be the best example of damning with faint praise I have ever seen. I respect Steve McIntyre a great deal due to his efforts in the hockey stick debate, and it's my understanding Ross McKitrick was a great help to him in them. Christopher Monckton, on the other hand, is an idiotic and vitriolic hack. So imagine my reaction when I read:

    The world owes a great debt to many scientists (dismissed as skeptics)

    Sorry, I have to stop real quick. Dismissed as skeptics is probably the strangest way to refer to scientists ever. He didn't even put skeptics in scare quotes! But... moving on:

    who have recognized the deceptions, applied rigorous scientific review, and have worked to share their findings with policy makers, stakeholders, and the public. Some of that world’s debt must go to Ross McKittrick, Steve McIntyre, and Christopher Monckton. They have the analytical and statistical skills; the infinite bulldog tenacity to stay engaged with the deceivers, who simultaneously were being very uncooperative (another sign of unscientific behavior).
    The great statistical work done by these three may just have helped the world avoid trillions in expenditures for unnecessary green house gas mitigation measures, not to mention the avoidance of energy rationing and taxation set forth by carbon dioxide cap and trade policy proposals as a result of the IPCC’s conclusions.

    Yes, bravo Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick! A huge round of applause to you! You are every bit as good as Christopher Monckton!

    If he's going to promote beliefs like this, then Mark Steyn is the AIDs of the skeptic cause.

  25. Section 7 shows what I mean on the "name dropping" issue. Steyn begins it by saying:

    Once the hockey stick had been taken up by the IPCC and Al Gore, it departed, as Profess Marcel Leroux said, "the realm of science" and became...

    There was no need to quote someone there. There is nothing remarkable about the phrase "realm of science." Nobody reading it would think, "Wow, that's amazing prose, who wrote it?" They wouldn't because the answer is ten thousand different people, this year alone. That's probably an underestimation too. The phrase "outside the realm of science" has been used in books and videos so many times I wouldn't be surprised if it's reached the point of becoming an idiom.

    But no, please Steyn, drop another name to show us how... something you are. Maybe next time you tell someone you have to get up at the "crack of dawn," you can make sure you tell us the name of a PhD who used that phrase so we can be all impressed by your... whateverness.

    Aside from that, I guess the section is okay? It doesn't really get things wrong, but it doesn't have any substance either. It's just a lot of fluff. Long story short, a scientist working at a museum said (I'm linking to a different source than Steyn because this one has proper formatting):

    You are perfectly correct: Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ has indeed been substantively discredited.

    Which is fine enough, I guess? I'm just not seeing why anyone should really care. A scientist at a museum in 2011 said Mann's work from more than 10 years before had been discredited, long after Mann himself had distanced himself from that work, acknowledging it had a number of inaccuracies.

    Is that really what people are buying this book to read about? Do people really need to see 120 people saying work nobody claims was accurate anymore has been discredited? Where's the damning stuff? Aside from crackpots who say global warming isn't even real or believe Mann committed fraud because the northern hemisphere warms faster than the southern hemisphere, what have I even read so far?

    Maybe I'm just forgetting things because the garbage in this book is so overwhelming, but I honestly can't remember a single good point Steyn has made so far.

  26. Section 8 is just weird. It quotes Professor Ivar Giaever, PhD, who has been critical of global warming claims. I've seen some of Giaever's remarks before, and I understand where he's coming from. I think he expresses a lot of reasonable doubts and concerns. I also think many of his doubts and concerns have answers he hasn't considered. I suspect if the case for global warming were presented to him in a better way than it has been presented in the media, he would find it more convincing than he has thus far. He'd probably still be skeptical of a number of things, and rightly so, but not of as many.

    So okay, this is the kind of guy I could respect as a source for Mark Steyn. Maybe I've misjudged him, but from what I've seen, even if gets some things wrong, he's a genuine scientist who tries to look at things in an honest manner. A damning criticism from him could mean a lot. With that in mind, I looked forward to that statement about how bad Mann's work was or how Mann did junk science. I read through five paragraphs waiting for the power quote to support Steyn's case.

    I got nothing. Four of the paragraphs were about global warming as a whole. In fact, pretty much the entire ~30 minute speech Steyn takes his quotes from is about global warming as a whole. It's an interesting speech. I encourage people to watch it. Giaever expresses concerns a lot of people hold when it comes to global warming. Even if there are answers to his concerns, they're still important and valid concerns. They're just ones that can and should be answered. But as you watch it, you'll see, all he says about Michael Mann is:

    We come to the hockey-stick graph - which the previous speaker showed in a little different manner - and I have to say I have to rely on HC Anderson and the Emperor's new clothes. The little boy was innocent; he didn't see the Emperor had clothes on. And I am the little boy here: I don't see that the CO2 is the cause of all these problems.

    This was buried in a 30 minute speech about global warming. One passing remark about Mann's hockey stick in a 30 minute speech, where he says he doesn't see CO2 as the cause to "all these problems" (a reference not to Mann's work, but to the rise in temperatures in general), and that gets him put in Steyn's book.

    Why? What kind of support does this offer to Steyn's case? Somebody doubts CO2 is the cause of all the warming people claim we've seen, and he thinks that's a damning criticism of Mann's work that should be included in his work? In what world does that make sense?

    At this point, Steyn is just looking like one of those gross hanger-ons, desperately trying to look popular by standing as close as he can to anyone who gets any attention, Even if that attention is just to be laughed at.

  27. By the way, I should explain why I show respect to Ivar Giaever but not Michael R Fox, even though they both question the reality of anthropogenic global warming. The difference in the two should be obvious from my comments, but some people have a bad tendency to miss the obvious.

    Fox claims to have studied the issue enough to know case for AGW has been completely debunked. He went to a government agency to tell them what to do based upon his supposed knowledge. That level of certainty in an absurd position deserves derision.

    Giaever says he's only studied the issue a bit, so he doesn't know a lot about it, but what he's learned causes him to have a lot of concerns and questions. I have no problem with that. I have no problem with him talking to people about what he's learned and what questions he has. Sure, he'll make mistakes along the way, but that's okay. Being wrong is part of life. I don't fault a person for honestly attempting to understand a subject but failing, especially when the subject is taught as poorly as global warming is.

    And to be frank, if you come at global warming from the media, it's easy to conclude it is a psuedoscience. Giaever's research on it began with Google. I can't fault him for that. In most fields, that's okay. Google is an okay starting point in most fields. It's not in global warming though. It's not, because scientists have allowed global warming to become bastardized by a social movement, and that's why Giaever got the impression global warming is a religion. Because to a certain extent, it is.

    I can't fault the guy for failing to realize that underneath all the psuedoscientific nonsense scientists help spew into media, there is some actual, good science.

  28. I almost said Section 9 is the first section which doesn't bother me. I mean, sure, Steyn quotes part of a piece condemning some people but leaves out parts like:

    I thank explicitely Keith Briffa and Tim Osborn for their work in the formulation of one Chapter of the IPCC report. As it destills from these emails, they withstood the evident pressure of other IPCC authors, not experts in this area of research, to convey a distorted picture of our knowledge of the hockey-stick graph.

    Which paints other people in a positive light, but those people aren't the subject of this book, so I can accept that. I don't really like it because I think the fact the piece only condemns some of those involved in the IPCC process is quite relevant, but still, it's nothing I'd be bothered by.

    So everything seemed fine, until I got to the last line of the section. You see, a while back I saw Steyn make a comment on his site that seemed bigoted against gay people. I don't remember where it was offhand, but I made a remark about it on Twitter and was troubled for a week or two. Then I mostly forgot, until I saw him make another. And another. And another.

    The first time, I wondered if maybe I was reading too much into things. The next couple times, I wondered if maybe it was just confirmation bias coloring my interpretations. After about the fifth time though, I decided it probably was a trend. Then a few days ago, there was a discussion of this very thing over at Judith Curry's place, and I saw more examples which made it clear this isn't my imagination. So when I got to the end of Section 9 and saw:

    Dr Zorita had eschewed the "pleasure" of the Hockey Team as best he could. In 2005 he co-wrote a piece for Nature called "The Decay of the Hockey Stick"3 . Decaying maybe, but like a Gay Nineties boulevardier with advanced syphilis it staggered on.

    Oh joy, bigotry. Exactly what I want to read! Apparently Steyn isn't looking for the support of gay people. Or at least, not the gay men. I don't think I've seen him make a single bigoted remark about gay women. Maybe he's one of those guys who can't stand gay men but likes the lesbians?

    (That space after the footnote number 3 is in the book. It's unimportant, but I just wanted to clarify it wasn't a typo on my part.)

  29. Section 10 was discussed in the body of this post, with Mark Steyn having misquoted Richard Muller in more than the slightly editing quotes way he's been misquoting people thus far in the book. I don't see much point in discussing the section again. So with that, I'm happy to report we've finished Chapter 1!

    I'm also happy to report something else. I read the introductory text to Chapter 2, and I was amazed to find it contained a pretty accurate summary of what data MBH98's hockey stick arises from. This amazes me because Steyn has misdescribed the same topic multiple times in the past, including in this very book. I don't know what to make of that. What I do know is I'm going to end the night on that positive note. There were three pages of text which actually had substance and detail, providing useful information to the reader while still maintaining Steyn's style and flair, all of which came after one of Josh's great cartoons.

    If all of Steyn's book was like Pages 27-30, I'd have nothing but good things to say about it and him.

  30. Joshua, it's not that the comment has some obvious bigotry in and of itself. It's that Mark Steyn is using homosexuality in insults. Repeatedly. Steyn could have chosen a hundred different analogies for something that would be decaying. He chose a gay man (of a certain type). On its own, I wouldn't make anything of it. However, when a person makes that same choice over and over and over, it has a meaning. Or at least, it sure seems like it does.

    The other thing is every single time I've seen Steyn refer to a gay male (not a person who happens to be one, but the label, gay male), it's included a derisive remark or a joke which could easily be interpreted as one. It's hard to believe that's a coincidence.

    And even if Steyn isn't bigoted against gay males, he certainly helps create an atmosphere of bigotry against them.

  31. I'm happy to report Section 11 is a good section. That makes six consecutive goods pages. I could almost believe the first 26 pages were a figment of my imagination, except Section 12 has Mark Steyn swallow a line without any question, even though there's never been any evidence it is true. He repeats an oft-told story by Dr David Deming, PhD:

    I had another interesting experience around the time my paper in Science was published. I received an astonishing email from a major researcher in the area of climate change. He said, "We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period."

    Only, there's never been any evidence for this story. Deming never provided this e-mail. Nobody ever saw the e-mail. In fact, by the time Deming told anyone about the e-mail, he claimed he had long since deleted it, so nobody could possibly verify its contents. That means that quote he provided isn't actually a quote that someone said, it's something Deming thinks he remembered some guy said.

    This is pure hearsay. A guy claims he received an e-mail from some unnamed person years back with a damning quote, doesn't show it to anyone, deletes it, but years later tells a story about it and everyone just accepts that his story is true to the point he got the exact wording correct. What kind of nonsense is that? And all Steyn has to say of the supposed e-mail is:

    The identity of this person is usually assumed to be Jonathan Overpeck... Dr Overpeck has denied it, although he has not denied a very similar email (

    But what's so similar about that e-mail? The e-mail Deming supposedly received was supposedly sent in 1995, saying they needed to get rid of the MWP to further the cause. The "very similar" e-mail was sent in 2005, long after the hockey stick had been published, and says:

    I get the sense that I'm not the only one who would like to deal a mortal blow to the misuse of supposed warm period terms and myths in the literature. The sceptics and uninformed love to cite these periods as natural analogs for current warming too - pure rubbish.

    So, pls DO try hard to follow up on my advice provided in previous email. No need to go into details on any but the MWP, but good to mention the others in the same dismissive effort. "Holocene Thermal Maximum" is another one that should only be used with care, and with the explicit knowledge that it was a time-transgressive event totally unlike the recent global warming.

    That doesn't say anything about getting rid of the MWP. It says people want to put an end to the misuse of claims about past warming and myths about them. There's nothing wrong with that. Maybe people would disagree about what claims were wrong and what exactly is or is not a myth, but clearly, there is no intent to deceive anyone. All Overpeck was saying is people want to put an end to the spread of misinformation - a perfectly normal goal. And this was all 10 years after the other e-mail was sent, long after the MWP had stopped being viewed as being as dominant a thing as it had been in the paleoclimate community (whether that was right or wrong), meaning there was no need to "get rid of" it.

    So first Steyn relies on a quote there is no evidence is real, is based entirely upon a guy's claim of what was sent to him, is based on what a guy says he remembers years after he says he deleted the e-mail it was in and has never been seen by anyone else who can verify it. Then Steyn points to a different e-mail which says almost nothing like the supposed e-mail and claims it is "very similar" simply because of the superfluous of visual similarities.

    In other words, this section is complete BS. I mean, sure, it supports Steyn. Some guy told a story which supports Steyn's argument. There's no evidence for that story or reason to believe the story is true so the story has no real value, but... I guess if you like sitting around campfires and roasting marshmallows, maybe this is the right book for you?

    Personally, I think our standards should be higher than, "Some guy said he received an e-mail which said this, so I'm going to publish this quote as fact without doing anything to verify it." But you know, that's because I think the word "skeptic" involves something called, um... skepticism?

  32. While I was critical of Section 12 of unquestioningly accepting a quote there is no evidence is real, that's a paltry offense compared to what came before. If not for the surprisingly good content of pages 26-32, I wouldn't have even been disappointed by it. Section 13 brings us back to the level I've come to expect from the book though.

    This section is about a guy named Dr Lee C Gerhard, PhD, who I had never heard of before. I suspect part of why I've never heard of him is he's another one of those crackpots I've referred to before. Only, this time Steyn doesn't just let the crackpot speak for himself. After quoting him:

    Voluminous historic records demonstrate the Medieval Climate Optimum (MCO) was real and that the “hockey stick” graphic that attempted to deny that fact was at best bad science. The MCO was considerably warmer than the end of the 20th century.
    During the last 100 years, temperature has both risen and fallen, including the present cooling. All the changes in temperature of the last 100 years are in normal historic ranges, both in absolute value and, most importantly, rate of change.

    Steyn says:

    That would have been an uncontentious statement in the pre-Mann era.

    Um, no. That would not have been uncontentious, at any point. Gerhard wrote that in 2009. Pretty much nobody in 2009 would have said the planet was cooling, because it wasn't. As for the idea the Medieval Warm Period "was considerably warmer than the end of the 20th century," no decent scientist in his right mind would have said that. How could they? As critics of Michael Mann's work will tell you, a key problem with any temperature reconstruction is we just don't have the data to get good results. We simply can't know what the past's temperatures were like with that good of accuracy. This same section has Steyn try to tell us scientists knew that based on the work of:

    the late Hubert Lamb [who] was regarded by many as the greatest climatologost of the 20th century. He was the founder of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, and the scientist whose chart (showing the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age) had appeared in the very first IPCC Report in 1990.

    But Lamb never claimed his chart showed the MWP "was considerably warmer" than present times. He couldn't. His chart was made in 1965. Even if it had been completely up to date at the time, it would still have been 30 years out of date at the time Mann published his hockey stick. The reality is even if accepted Lamb's curve as a perfect representation of global temperatures (which would be a very foolish thing to do), simply updating it with the latest 30 years of temperature would result in modern temperatures being higher than past ones, contradicting Steyn's source. But despite that, he claims his source's statement would be "uncontentious." Let's see what else his source has to say that would be uncontentious:

    The most effective greenhouse gas is water vapor, comprising approximately 95 percent of the total greenhouse effect.

    Um... maybe? How effective a greenhouse gas is can't be measured in any simple way, so at best, this statement is a gross over-simplification. But sure, let's pretend.

    Carbon dioxide concentration has been continually rising for nearly 100 years. It continues to rise, but carbon dioxide concentrations at present are near the lowest in geologic history.

    Say what? Really? The planet's temperatures used to be way higher too. And once, there wasn't even a planet. There wasn't even a solar system. What does this have to do with anything? How idiotic of talking points can you find?

    There are no data that definitively relate carbon dioxide levels to temperature changes.

    Um, yeah. Sure Steyn. That sounds really uncontentious. This is a great source. We don't even know that carbon dioxide and temperature change are related. I'm sorry, definitely related. But if they are:

    The greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide logarithmically declines with increasing concentration. At present levels, any additional carbon dioxide can have very little effect.

    It won't matter, because there won't be any future warming. Hear that folks? Global warming isn't real, or if it is real, it won't really be real in the future.

    Sheesh. If you're going to rely on crackpots, can't you at least find crackpots who aren't sissies? It's like this guy found every pussy-footed talking point you could imagine and hit them all. He managed to say basically every talking point, including the ones which flat-out deny global warming. But oh, he didn't actually deny global warming because if you just suggest global warming isn't real, you get to act like you aren't completely insane. Because hey! You didn't actually say it.

    I mean, seriously though. How did Steyn keep a straight face when he put the claim the planet is cooling in his book? At some point, don't you have to realize how stupid what you say is?

  33. So yeah, I forgot to point out Section 13 begins with Steyn's typical misquotation. Section 14 seems alright though. Either it's good, or I'm just too exhausted to spot any problems that do exist in it. I swear this book is so draining I read one or two sections in it, and I just don't have the energy to keep going. It doesn't help that my normal headaches have been turning into migraines lately. I'm not sure if my lack of energy to work on this review is due to the migraines, or if the migraines is due to how draining I find this review.

    It really doesn't help that Section 15 is going to be another bad one. I'm thinking I'll just skip it. Steyn pretty much just lets some people speak for themselves in it, and the people he lets speak for themselves are some more terrible sources. I don't know that I feel like explaining why more people who should never have been listened to shouldn't have been listened to. The fact these people have "PhD" after their name doesn't confer some magical property to them or their opinions that suddenly stops them from being crackpots. Steyn would have been just as well off going down to the nearest pub and asking the local drunk to opine on Michael Mann's work. Aside from the "PhD," it would have had as much validity as half the people he quotes.

    And great, I just skimmed ahead a couple sections hoping to find something that didn't make my want to bash my head in with a rock. When I did, I found a genuine misquotation. As in, Steyn literally quotes an e-mail from one person, but attributes words in it to another. The person he attributes the quote to doesn't even speak anywhere in the e-mail or any other e-mail referenced in the section! What the hell is going on in this book?!

    Somebody should send me booze, Tylenol or a rock to help with my head. At this point, I don't care which.

  34. Yeah, I'm skipping Section 15. I tried to write about it, then I just gave up. I can only talk about so many crackpots in a day, and that section has three more. The next section, Section 16, is just weird. I was actually going to go to bed, but then I had a weird exchange on Twitter which reinvigorated me. Sometimes pure inanity will do that for me. You see, I said:

    I think reading @MarkSteynOnline's book might kill me. As in it might make me grab a rock and bash my skull in to stop the flood of nonsense


    I have never read a book so bad as this one. It could reach up and stab me in the eye and I would be happy for the excuse to stop reading it

    And then:

    This book is so bad I want to get hired on for a part time job just so I can get spare cash to buy copies of the book to set on fire.

    A person responded to me favorably, apparently misunderstanding why I was reacting this way:

    @Corpus_no_Logos @MarkSteynOnline I know, reading about mikey mann IS boring, but Mark does great work with slim pickings like mikey!

    When I corrected him, he started responding derisively instead, ultimately saying:

    Brandon advocates book burning. Next up: Burning the Climate Witches ** ** - that is to say, Skeptics.

    While quoting that tweet of mine about wanting to get hired on for a part time job. Which shows the hilarity of this situation. I've literally written the case for Mark Steyn to win the lawsuit on the grounds what he said was true. Anyone with 30 minutes to spare can learn it front and back just by clicking on the eBooks/Summaries tabs at the top of this page and following the links there.

    But I criticize Mark Steyn, and I'm scorned. I'm ridiculed, mocked, cast out, everything. It doesn't matter I'm one of Mann's largest and most consistent critics. It doesn't matter I'm one of Mann's clearest and most coherent critics. Steyn is popular, so if I criticize him, I must not be a good "skeptic."

    It's remarkable because of how completely tribalistic this is. This is exactly what "skeptics" say the "other side does, yet I've never seen a single one of them hesitate to do the same themselves. I think it's hilarious, and I find it invigorating. So I'm going to go ahead and write about Section 16 in the next comment now.

  35. So as I said in my last comment, Section 16 is weird. It starts with a quote you'd think means something serious:

    That was a mistake and it made tree-ring people angry."

    It's by Dr Gordon Jacoby, PhD, a dendroclimatologist and member of the Hockey Stick Team. Him saying Michael Mann made a mistake that made tree-ring people angry should be a big deal, right?

    Wrong. The reality is everybody makes mistakes. That there was an error in a paper isn't surprising or insightful. Odds are you could find at least one error in any paper. It means something that this error "made tree-ring people angry," but all that means is the error happened to be that Mann misused some tree-ring data.

    The data in question wasn't important data. We've heard from Steyn what data was important for the hockey stick. His power quote for the section wasn't about that data. His power quote is about different data:

    Mann has a series from central China that we believe is more a moisture signal than a temperature signal... He included it because he had a gap. That was a mistake and it made tree-ring people angry."

    So... Mann made a mistake in how he used unimportant data. That's what Steyn's power quote is about. That seems pretty weird. Why bother quoting Jacoby about a mistake regarding unimportant data? Does that really show some condemnation of Mann or support for Steyn in his case? Oh noes, Mann made some inconsequential error? I mean, there is other stuff in the article this quote is from that could be used to support Steyn, but it's not anything that can used as a quote from Jacoby, and this book is about "The World's Scientists in their own words."

    So the section just seems weird. The section has some text which is useful for Steyn's case/position, but as far as actual quotes from Jacoby go, it's got nothing. Steyn has to be stretching really hard to include it in his book. I don't know why he'd bother. He talked about having way too much material for one book. He'd have been way better off cutting fluff like this and the crackpots from the book and focusing on only including the good sections, even if that meant only having one book.

  36. So Section 17 is another good one. Section 18 is another one from a crackpot. Look at the article the section's quote came from. I like this part:

    One should first recognise that the atmospheric greenhouse effect is a well known natural phenomenon, mostly caused by atmospheric water vapour, that keeps our planet warm and habitable whereas (anthropogenic = human-made) global warming refers to a small extra greenhouse warming (0.5-1 C/33 C; 1-5 %) allegedly arising from an increase in atmospheric concentration of the minority greenhouse effect gas CO2 (carbon dioxide) – the later increase in turn possibly arising from fossil fuel burning (see below).

    I can accept casting doubt on how much of the rise in temperatures man is responsible for, but... the rise in CO2 is "possibly arising from fossil fuel burning"? Possibly? Great, so now we don't just have Steyn relying on people who deny global warming, we also have him relying on people who question if man is even responsible for the rise in greenhouse gas levels. Moving on:

    This means that the global greenhouse effect gives earthlings a needed and much appreciated base warming of 33 C (degrees Celsius), whereas the alleged “global warming” would contribute an extra 0.5 to 1 C of warming (a 1 to 5 % increase), on a planet that has seen a dozen or so ice ages since human kind has appeared.

    So he doubts humans caused the rise in greenhouse gas levels, and he doubts temperatures have risen. Great. I'm not going to quote the paragraphs he spends explaining why he doubts this, or the text Steyn quotes (including his typical misquotation). Instead, let's look at some other fun stuff:

    All of the climate models that relate CO2 concentrations to climate effects do so by arbitrarily linking a model increase in CO2 to an induced and larger increase in atmospheric water vapour. In other words, all the climate models postulate a large and positive feedback between CO2 and water vapour.

    All links between CO2 and water vapor are arbitrarily programmed into models.

    Ice core data shows strong temporal correlations between average global temperature (as recorded by the water oxygen isotope proxy) and atmospheric CO2 (as recorded in trapped gas bubbles) yet these correlations do not show causal relations. CO2 increases may accompany temperature increases rather than causing them. Indeed, some high resolution studies have suggested that the temperature increases precede the CO2 increases.

    CO2 changes don't cause temperature change; temperature change causes CO2 changes.

    Just as solar radiation intensity and inclination determines our seasons and the differences between day and night, so too solar radiation variations related to solar winds, magnetic shielding, and solar intensity cycles (e.g., sunspots) probably have a greater impact on the water cycle than changes in any greenhouse active trace gas.
    There is of course much more wrong with state-of-the-art global circulation models (climate models) than the assumption and implementation of CO2-H2O feedback.

    It's the sun!

    Steyn then quotes another article by Rancourt. It's a doozy:

    OK, now believers next want to say that the CO2 from fossil fuel burning is a large amount and that it goes into the planet’s atmosphere. Already in Step-2 there are some pesky conceptual and empirical difficulties, as follows.

    First of all, the global industrial-age historic amount of fossil fuel burned to date is a known amount. The post-industrial extra CO2 contained in the planet’s atmosphere is also a known amount. (These numbers are, for example, given here: [7].) But the post-industrial CO2 in the atmosphere is half of the amount that would have resulted from the industrial burning (and its measured temporal evolution function does not follow or match the known temporal evolution of historic post-industrial fossil fuel burning).

    This is not some small difference due to measurement errors. It is a factor of two difference. This should give some pause to even the most fervent believers: Half of all the historic fossil fuel burning is unaccounted for.

    Even the most fervent believers should pause at the idea of the airborne fraction, something that's been discussed for decades? Say what? No, I know, he's just making a rhetorical point to argue that somehow the airborne fraction casts doubt on the idea humans are responsible for causing CO2 levels to rise. I'm doing the same though. Only, my rhetorical point is, "He's a loon." I think my point's a bit better.

    And really, there's just nothing more to this article. It just denies every aspect of global warming like the previous article does, only more clearly. And in the middle of denying it all, it says:

    This all occurred after the ludicrous “hottest year in the hottest decade of the last thousand years” madness of the 1990s, now politely referred to as the “hockey stick controversy” [20]. And recently Climategate has conclusively settled the latter controversy [17]: The hockey stick was a sham even allowing for statistical ignorance regarding the instrumental temperature record...

    Climate change “science” is part of just another screw-the-brown-people scam [2]... Or is the societal goal to use the fabricated sanitized problem of CO2 in order to mask the real problems and to shield us from our responsibilities as influential First Worlders?

    Except Steyn removes the reference numbers. I'm not sure on the validity of that. It seems kind of wrong to just edit people's quotes, even if only to remove footnote numbers readers couldn't follow, but the bigger problem is... this article flat-out denies global warming!

    The climate change scam fits into a now common pattern of public manipulation [5]; that works well on a public which benefits from being manipulated.

    Is this the sort of scientist people are supposed to listen to on the credibility of Michael Mann and his work? Are people really supposed to trust that Mark Steyn's remarks on Mann and his work were reasonable or acceptable or anything else because someone with PhD after his or her name says humans haven't contributed to the rise in CO2 levels?

    What's next? Is Steyn going to quote someone who says, "The aliens who abducted me left a graph in my cornfield which clearly doesn't have a hockey stick shape, so Mann's work is fraudulent"?

  37. Section 19 offends me because I hate when people bring children into anything. You want to talk about your child because you're proud of something he did, that's cool. You have a funny story about your child, go ahead and share it; that's great. But you make your child or any one else's child a tool for any sort of argument, and you're disgusting. And that's what Steyn did. I'm sure people will say it was just an honest mistake, and maybe it was...? I don't know. I can't see how anyone would make this mistake, but... whatever. This is the quote from the head of the section:

    It is precip that is the driver

    This is attributed to:

    Professor Tim Wigley's son Eirik

    Why would Steyn choose to quote Wigley's son? What possible purpose could there be? I have no idea. I also have no idea how he could possibly think he was quoting Wigley's son, as anyone with basic reading skills would know better. Like so many times before, this was a misquotation in that small way, but what was said was:

    Let me tell you a story. A few years back, my son Eirik did a tree ring science fair project using trees behind NCAR. He found that widths correlated with both temp and precip. However, temp and precip also correlate. There is much other evidence that it is precip that is the driver, and that the temp/width correlation arises via the temp/precip correlation.

    Nothing in that quote suggests Wigley's son is speaking. There are no quotation marks or anything else. It's just Wigley talking about something his son discovered. Steyn has simply attributed this quote to the wrong person, for no reason.

    And not only is this quote misattributed, it's completely misused. Steyn says of it:

    So some schoolkid's science project understood the problem with treenometers, but the self-garlanded NObel Laureate never gave it a thought.

    Building upon his earlier remark:

    If you were at school in the pre-Mann era, you'll have a recollection that, before their new eminence as precision treemometers, tree rings were something to do with rainfall.

    But as anyone who understands tree rings knows, they can be affected to different extents by many different things. When using tree rings for temperature reconstructions, one should select tree rings which are predominantly impacted by temperature, not precipitation. They exist, and using them would completely invalidate Steyn's entire point in this section.

    One could perhaps counter that Mann didn't do this, and they'd be right, but Steyn didn't argue that. He just said tree rings are primarily precipitation proxies, therefore Mann's an idiot, which is stupid, wrong and a misrepresentation of the source he used. A source he misrepresented by falsely claiming the quote he provided was said by Tom Wigley's son when it was really said by Tom Wigley himself.

  38. the 'unimportant data' bit..

    isn't the issue, not that Mann used 'unimportant data..

    but that he made it important!! ie made claims that went far beyond what the community thought..
    That's my reading of it..

    like Mann's robust claims about global warming, but the community unhappy, because he has very few southern proxies.

  39. Barry Woods, what are you talking about? How did Michael Mann make the Chinese data important? Do you even know which proxy the quote is about? I can guarantee you Steyn doesn't. Heck, I'm not even 100% sure I do, though I'm pretty confident on it. I've definitely got it narrowed down to one of three, and they're all really unimportant ones. As in, ones nobody ever talks about because they just don't matter for anything.

  40. Section 20 seems fine. I didn't check it for trivial misquotations or anything like that, but otherwise, it seems alright. After that, we have the start of the next Chapter. That means another of Josh's cool cartoons, and more of Steyn's writing. I don't know that it is as bad as the first chapter's, but it's bad. The first page is mostly okay, and the second page starts off alright, but by the end of the second page, things go way downhill:

    Because, as eventually emerged in 20144, when you update the tree rings, the hockey stick collapses - as Mann knew all along. He folded in the real-world temperature data because, by the mid-20th century, the proxies don't tell the story that Mann et al wanted to tell, and certainly don't produce anything that looks like a hockey stick.

    The second 4 in 20144 was for footnote 4, which goes to this Climate Audit post. That post shows one of the tree ring chronologies used in Mann's original hockey stick compared to a new sample taken from the same area, showing the new results are very different. Whereas the results Mann used had a very dramatic uptick, helping create his hockey stick, the new results show nothing of the sort.

    But that doesn't support what Steyn says at all. The proxy in question, the Sheep Mountain chronology, showed exactly what Mann wanted it to show all the way up to 1980, the end of his reconstruction period. It produced the exact shape Mann wanted. Steyn is just making things up when he points at this article as proving anything about what he says.

    Then Steyn goes on to say:

    From the 1940s on, the tree rings head south, and fail to show the late 20-th century warming that the thermometers do. So for Mann the actual temperatures become more useful than the proxies.

    This is complete nonsense. This did not happen with Mann's work, at all. Steyn is just making things up. Anyone who reads Steyn's book will be completely misinformed on this issue, just like they will be when they read the rest of the page. Which I'm not going to type up because it's way too much text and it's all way wrong.

    Well, not all way wrong. There's a quote from a guy named Jonathon Jones that's actually accurate. It's just not about what Steyn claims it's about, so it's wrong because of the context it's in. Anyway, you can see the page in this image.

    Honestly though, I think this might be the worst description of the divergence problem I've ever seen.

  41. And yeah, I'm taking a break for a bit. Hopefully for a nice long bit. Maybe a long walk. Off a short pier. I just looked at the next section, and dear god, what Steyn says is so completely untrue I think Michael Mann might have a case against him. I mean, if I weren't convinced Mann's work is completely fraudulent, I would be lining up to vote in his favor right now. That's how bad Steyn's book has gotten. He's taking things that have absolutely nothing to do with Michael Mann's work and saying they prove Mann's work is fraudulent. It's obscene. I think Mann's work is fraudulent and I think Mann is a dishonest prick, yet I'm sitting here thinking, "I feel sorry for you dude."

    How is the possible?!?!?

    How has Steyn gotten me to sympathize with Michael Man/A?! My midns Is abiraking . I can'a tic type .a anymore. It's athae ab vew abadi ag3ea;e a.e keaf.

    Seirous.y I'm not d aoei doing a taha aton on a puprosel.

  42. Come on Brandon, big oil isn't paying you lots of money in order for you to slink off to the coffee shop leaving a cliffhanger. Why is this chapter so bad? The world is waiting.


  43. Tonyb, I think I might have gone off and had a seizure. I actually did collapse on the ground. I'm pretty sure there was some spasming too. I don't know that my brain can handle reading this book and seeing people praise it as amazing. I think I'm having a nervous breakdown. My brain just can't process the insanity. I keep hoping somebody is going to jump out and yell, "You're on candid camera!"

    Even just typing this comment, I can feel a physical reaction to the book. I'm honestly worry what would happen if I sat down and read and reviewed the book at the pace I feel an urge to read/review it at.

    If somebody gave me booze to numb to the effect of the book a bit, I'd probably go faster. But then, I'm on anti-seizure medication for migraines which shouldn't be combined with alcohol, so that might be unwise. Ir it might be really wise. With this book, who knows? I could probably take LSD and have it be less absurd.

  44. I just saw that review via a link on Twitter. Perhaps the most obscene part is the guy writing it says nobody disputes the fact CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Seriously. This book quotes at least one person who argues CO2 doesn't cause warming at all and quotes least one person who says CO2 can't cause any meaningful amount of warming, and yet, a person reviewing it says nobody disputes that CO2 causes warming.


  45. Oh dear god. I just submitted a comment on that Watts Up With That post reviewing this book. It landed in moderation, but I assume it'll clear soon enough. One of the points I made is that Steyn quotes a number of people who dispute basic things like man's emission of CO2 will cause warming. Then I happened to see some comments on the page. For instance:

    Excellent review. My only quibble is with this statement: “Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas and it does cause warming of the atmosphere by trapping heat radiated from the ground and oceans, no one who has studied the issue disputes that.”

    Plenty of scientists dispute it for the very simple reason there is absolutely zero evidence that it does.

    Would any of you guys who think GHE is valid please explain why there is no evidence of it in over 500 million years of geologic history of earth. Please explain why the Antarctic and Greenland ice cores of the most recent 3/4 million years of the Pleistocene show atmospheric CO2 lagging temperature changes by 800 years. Please explain why steadily increasing CO2 during the lasts 18+ years has corresponded with flat-lined, then decreasing temperatures. Arrhenius was a smart guy and I think had he been aware of the above observations, we would not be having this discussion; Michael Mann might have spent his life doing something useful; and Mark Steyn would not have had to waste his time fighting a SLAP lawsuit. Thanks.


    The radiative properties of CO2 are well known, are clear, and are undeniable evidence that “Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas and it does cause warming of the atmosphere by trapping heat radiated from the ground and oceans”. However, the absolutely certain fact that CO2 DOES does cause warming of the atmosphere is not evidence that this warming is sufficient to overwhelm other warming and cooling effects operating in the atmosphere.

    Simply, whether an effect exists is NOT the same issue as whether an effect is significant and/or is sufficiently large for it to be discernible.

    I again explain this in hope that your “quibble” will not again be repeated in this thread....

    That one went on and on and on so I'm cutting it short. Here's another:

    “Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas and it does cause warming of the atmosphere by trapping heat radiated from the ground and oceans, no one who has studied the issue disputes that. ” This is false. Plenty of scientists and people with common sense dispute this. Please don’t make falsehoods of your own. Your derision of Michael Mann doesn’t excuse your own blindness or stupidity.


    CO2 should be referred to as a radiative gas.

    Whilst the laboratory properties of the gas are clear, how it works and inter acts in the dynamics of Earth’s atmosphere and resulting effect are presently moot.

    I have yet to see any observational evidence that withstands the ordinary rigours of scientific scrutiny that establishes that in the 19th to 21st century atmospheric conditions encountered here on planet Earth, that it has led to any warming in that period.

    There were a couple more, but I tried to only quote each person once. At my count, there were at least six comments, out of 73, which criticized the author of the post for saying we know humans have contributed to the planet's warming. Apparently the reason Steyn quotes people saying things like that is it's part of his demo!

  46. Alright, so Section 21. I've been putting this off a bit because the introduction for Chapter 3 got so much wrong about the "divergence problem" and "hide the decline," and this section just builds upon it. This section quotes Dr Jennifer Marohasy, PhD, introducing her text by saying:

    In 2013 Dr Marohasy provided a very clear explanation of why she found Mann's famous graph such an unlikely proposition1:

    He then quotes this piece as saying:

    My key problem with the ‘the hockey stick’ has always been that the upward spike representing runaway global warming in the 20th Century was never of the same stuff as the rest of the chart. That is the spike is largely based on the instrumental temperature record i.e. the thermometer record, while the downward trending line that it was grafted on to, is based on proxies, in particular estimates of temperature derived from studies of tree rings.

    It has always, for me, been a case of Michael Mann comparing apples and oranges, or to put it another way sticking an apple on the end of a banana.

    I don't agree it is fair to say Mann grafted the instrumental record to his proxy record. There are some nuances and details, and yes, in a case here or there later on he may have, but in his primary work, he didn't. He kept the two separate. That's a relatively unimportant issue for this section though. What's important is what Marohasy and Steyn go on to claim. Steyn says:

    - the banana being the long gradual 900-year decline, with an apple core grafted onto the end and pointing upward as the latter-day spike.
    But why was Mann obliged to do this? Dr Marohasy explains:

    the grafting was necessary because the proxy record, i.e. the tree ring record, shows that global temperatures have declined since about 1960.

    Of course we know that global temperature haven’t declined since 1960, or thereabout, so there must be something wrong with the proxy record. This is known as “the divergence problem” and it is a problem, because if tree rings are not a good indicator of global temperature after 1960, how can they be a good indicator of global temperature prior to 1960?

    Indeed there doesn’t appear to be a reliable method for reconstructing the last 100 or so years based on the standard techniques used to reconstruct the last 2,000, 4,000 and even 11,000 years of global temperature.

    So when someone claims the past 10 years have been hotter than the past 11,300 years, as the Australian Broadcasting Commission did recently [1], there is good reason to cringe.

    The problem is, this isn't true. Some time back, I showed what Mann's hockey stick would have looked like if he hadn't included any lines other than his reconstruction's line. You can see the result here. It's a hockey stick. It doesn't have as dramatic a rise as his famous hockey stick does, but that's because his reconstructed values ended in 1980, meaning there were about 20 years less worth of warming it could possibly show.

    Now of course, I don't think that graph is a reasonable one. I criticized it in relation to Mann's Nature trick. I showed how Mann used an inappropriate padding choice when smoothing his results to cause that graph to look different than it would have otherwise. Still, the fact that graph has real problems doesn't change the fact the things Steyn and Marohasy say about it are false. That Mann did one thing wrong doesn't justify making false accusations about what he did. It doesn't justify Steyn saying things like:

    This is the hockey stick's double deformity: The shaft used a novel and bizarre formula to re-make the past ...but, if you were to apply the same method to the 20th and 21st century, the result would look nothing like the observed temperature record.

    Because that's just stupid. The reality is by its very nature, Mann's methodology required his results show warming quite like the observed temperature record. His methodology weighted proxies by how well they correlated to the observed temperature record. That means the more they looked like the observed temperature record in modern times, the more weight they were given in his reconstruction. That basically guaranteed he would always find warming in modern times.

    So not only is what Steyn says wrong, it's the opposite of the truth. In fact, weighting proxies by their correlation to the modern temperature record is a form of begging the question. It introduces biases in your results, and it is one of the central problems with Michael Mann's methodology. So Steyn is not only getting this wrong, but he is getting it wrong in a way which manages to cover up one of the central problems with Mann's work.

    Steyn is giving Mann's supporters ammunition by giving them easy points to shoot down, and at the same time, he's helping Mann's supporters by helping keep people from understanding a central problem with Mann's work. Mann should be happy with this book!

  47. I'll probably talk about this more later, and I talk about this in my eBook, but I should point out something real quick in case anyone reading my previous comment doesn't understand an important distinction that's rarely made.

    People often talk about Mann's PCA being biased and leave it at that, as though that proves Mann's hockey stick is biased. That's wrong. Mann had many proxies. Most were not created with PCA. PCA was something that was applied to a few large data sets to reduce them to a smaller number of proxies. For instance, when Mann had 70 North American tree ring series which went back to 1400 AD, he used PCA to reduce them to 15 PCAs. He then chose to use two of those PCAs (how he decided what number to keep is a mystery as the explanation he's given is untrue). Those two PCAs were then put in with his list of 20 other proxies which went back to 1400 (including the Gaspe proxy, which really only went back to 1404, but had been extended back to 1400).

    That one or two proxies out of 22 was biased shouldn't have been a significant problem. That means Mann's faulty implementation of PCA wouldn't have been enough to create a hockey stick on its own. The reason he was able to create a hockey stick is what I said above, he weighted his proxies based on how well they correlated to the modern temperature record. Naturally, proxies with strong hockey stick shapes correlated very well to the modern temperature record. That meant they got a great deal of weight. That rendered 20 of his 22 proxies which went back to 1400 effectively irrelevant. The one proxy which wasn't effectively rendered irrelevant was the Gaspe proxy, which also had a strong hockey stick shape (and had been artificially extended back to 1400 for that very reason).

    The thing is, you could still get a hockey stick without Mann's faulty implementation of PCA because of the Gaspe proxy because his method of weighting proxies introduced such strong biases. You could have done the same just by using any other proxy with a hockey stick shape. Mann's PCA matters only in that it was the way Mann came up with one of his hockey stick shaped proxies. Other than that though, it's not that important. What really matters is when you give weight to proxies based on how well they correlate to the modern instrumental record, you heavily bias your results toward a hockey stick.

    That's the central problem of Mann's original hockey stick. It's one which has been criminally under discussed. And unfortunately, it's one which Mark Steyn's book would make you believe is completely untrue.

  48. Section 22 is a mostly good section. The two issues I have with it are fairly small ones. The first is during his introduction Steyn refers to:

    the way the World Meteorological Organization hockey stick co-authored by Mann truncates the tree-rings in 1960 - because after that date they cease to be useful to what Mann calls "the cause"1:

    But there was no discussion of the WMO graph before that I can remember, so this reference seems completely out of place. A person reading this would likely go, "What is he talking about"? Unless, maybe I've just forgotten some lengthy discussion of it earlier in the book...? I guess that's possible. Anyway, later Steyn quotes Richard Alley as supposedly expressing doubts about "mixing and matching" tree ring and temperature data, from this e-mail:

    The performance of
    the tree-ring paleothermometry is central. Taking the recent instrumental
    record and the tree-ring record and joining them yields a dramatic picture,
    with rather high confidence that recent times are anomalously warm. Taking
    strictly the tree-ring record and omitting the instrumental record yields
    a less-dramatic picture and a lower confidence that the recent temperatures
    are anomalous.

    The problem is that quote doesn't express any doubts. It just states what the situation is. It doesn't say the situation is bad or that he has any issue with it. The e-mail itself does support Steyn's point, but the quote he provides... just, doesn't. Steyn really should have quoted more of the e-mail, or at least other parts.

    But still, that's pretty minor stuff, so all in all, the section isn't bad.



    Wait a second.

    I was about to submit this comment when I realized something. Steyn's introductory remark for this section said "after that date they cease to be useful to what Mann calls 'the cause.'" The source he gives is this article, which is for a quote he provides about the WMO graph. It doesn't say anything about a cause, much less "the cause." Where did this quote come from?

    Did Steyn really just fabricate a ****ing quote?

  49. So... yeah. Remember how I said Steyn should have quoted more of that e-mail? Apparently I spoke too soon. Steyn shouldn't have quoted more of that e-mail. He shouldn't have quoted any of that e-mail, because this next section is about as misleading as you can possibly be.

    Now to be fair, I think the e-mail he quotes is relevant. Steyn quotes it as saying:

    Despite assurances from Ed and Keith, I must admit that I still don't
    get it. The NRC committee is looking at a number of issues, but the one
    that is most publicly noted is to determine whether, and with what confidence,
    we can say that recent temperatures have emerged from the band of natural
    variability over the last millennium or two...

    Unless the "divergence problem" can be confidently ascribed to some cause that
    was not active a millennium ago, then the comparison between tree rings from
    a millennium ago and instrumental records from the last decades does not seem
    to be justified, and the confidence level in the anomalous nature of the recent
    warmth is lowered...

    If some of the
    records, or some other records such as Rosanne's new ones, show "divergence",
    then I believe it casts doubt on the use of joined tree-ring/instrumental
    records, and I don't believe that I have yet heard why this interpretation is

    I'm open to hearing what I have screwed up. Please note, I have no direct
    stake in this! I went to the meeting, I spoke, I'm done. But, I think you
    have a problem coming, that it involves the IPCC and particularly chapter
    6 and paleo generally, that I really should let
    Susan know what is going on (if you've seen all the increasingly publicly
    disseminated emails, you know the story). I'd rather go back to teaching
    and research and raising money and advising students and all of that, but
    I'm trying to be helpful. Casting aspersions on Rosanne, on the NRC panel, or
    on me for that matter is not going to solve the underlying problem.


    (Though the formatting is a bit different.)

    The problem is with everything he's written before, the reader is clearly meant to believe the "divergence problem" is a problem with Mann's work. It isn't. It has basically nothing to do with Mann's work. It's all about other work, primarily Keith Briffa's work. Steyn is just taking problems with other people's work and falsely attributing them to Mann's. He did it in this chapter's introductory text, he did it when quoting Jennifer Marohasy, and now he's using this e-mail to do it again. It's ridiculous. Anyone reading this book would come away horribly misinformed about Mann's work and the problems it has.

    Now, I said I think this e-mail is relevant. That's true. Concerns with tree ring reconstructions in general would be relevant to Mann's reconstruction even if the specific problems in question weren't specifically identified in his work. Steyn could have easily quoted this same e-mail with a different framing, pointing out how it questions the ability to reconstruct temperatures from tree rings in general. He didn't though. He specifically identified the e-mail with the "divergence problem" and specifically identified the "divergence problem" with Mann's work, which is complete and utter nonsense.

    But remarkably, the next section offends me even more. I'm going to go do three shots and come back to explain why.

  50. So, next section, Section 24. This section's main quote is:

    The hockey stick is broken.

    By Dr Bo Christiansen, PhD. I'm familiar with his work, so that quote didn't seem unbelievable to me or anything. I wasn't surprised when I read Steyn's introductory remarks about him and what he had said, or even when they concluded:

    On March 2nd the Danish Meteorological Institute announced that "the hockey stick is broken"2:

    I was just curious. I wanted to see the whole article Steyn's quotes came from since he only excerpted this much from it:

    It has been the icon of what's gone wrong with the climate since preindustrial times. In the case of the so-called Mann hockey-stick curve, which shows the evolution of the Northern Hemisphere surface temperature over the past 600 years, a new Danish study breaks the foundations of the curve.
    "The hockey stick curve does not stand," says climate researcher Bo Christiansen from the Danish Meteorological Institute, and adds: "It does not mean that we cancel the man-made greenhouse effect, but the causes have become more nuanced...
    "Popularly, it can be said that the flat piece on the hockey stick is too flat. The earlier part of the reconstructions underestimates the potency of natural climate variations," says Bo Christiansen and adds. [sic]"In addition, their method contains a large element of randomness..."
    It is the statistical methods which the Danish researchers have looked at more closely... They have tested seven different reconstructive methods and all seven exhibit the same weaknesses. "We have therefore encountered a fundamental problem that limits the value of reconstruction studies," says Bo Christiansen.

    (The part I marked [sic] is because there is a period in the book, which makes no sense grammatically. You'll see this matters in a minute.)

    Now, Christiansen's work came up before, when Steyn misrepresented it earlier in this book. You might remember me discussing it near the start of this review. This time, however, the discussion seemed to be fine. I just wanted to check things to verify them and read the whole piece out of curiosity. When I did though, I had a problem. That problem is, I don't speak Finnish, so I couldn't read:

    Klimaets hockeystav er brækket

    Den har været vist i mange sammenhænge, og den har været ikonet på, hvor galt det er gået med klimaet siden før-industriel tid. Der er tale om den såkaldte Mann-kurve eller ’hockey stick’-kurven, der viser udviklingen af den nordlige halvkugles overfladetemperatur igennem de seneste 600 år. En ny dansk undersøgelse knækker grundlaget for kurven.

    "Hockeystav-kurven holder ikke," siger klimaforsker Bo Christiansen, fra Danmarks Klimacenter og tilføjer. "Det betyder ikke, at vi aflyser den menneskeskabte drivhuseffekt, men grundlaget er blevet mere nuanceret."

    Det vakte stor opsigt, da Michael Mann og flere andre i 1998 offentliggjorde en kurve over temperatur-udviklingen i de sidste 600 år på den nordlige halvkugle. Kurven viser en stabil, næsten konstant temperatur de første fem århundreder afbrudt af en brat stigning efter år 1900. Det kan tolkes, som om de naturlige variationer er små sammenlignet med den menneskeskabte opvarmning. Der fulgte en følelsesladet debat både i og uden for fagkredse - en debat, der løber endnu.

    Forskere ved DMI viser nu, at de matematiske metoder, der bliver brugt til klima-rekonstuktionerne, har alvorlige begrænsninger.

    "Populært kan man sige, at det flade stykke på hockeystaven er for fladt. De tidligere rekonstruktioner undervurderer styrken af de naturlige klima-variationer," siger Bo Christiansen og tilføjer. "Derudover indeholder metoderne et stort element af tilfældighed."

    I believe that covers the parts Steyn quoted. There's more to the article, but I don't think Steyn quoted any of what comes later. He didn't quote any of this part either though. You quote a person when you quote what they say. You don't quote a person by changing what they say into an entirely different language. That's called translating.

    It's fine to translate what people say, but when you do it, you need to indicate you've done it so people know so the words they're reading were not actually words that were said. That lets them understand decisions were made which affected which words appeared within the quotation marks, and those decisions were subjective, meaning other decisions could have been valid. This is especially true if you're going to mock people with remarks like:

    One quick bit of business: In the pages that follow, the source for each scientist’s quotation is footnoted. However, because of the extraordinary level of paranoia about “doctored quotes” that attends the climate debate, we’ve retained the various spellings – British, American or the often charming English of Swedes and Finns – and made only a few punctuation changes.

    Yeah, well, maybe people wouldn't be so worried about "doctored quotes" if people like Mark Steyn wouldn't present words as things people had said when they weren't actually what they had said. Sort of like how it looks like Steyn may have fabricated a quote when he claimed Mann described the global warming movement, or whatever, as "the cause."

    Incidentally, this goes back to why I marked that period with [sic]. When I ran this article through Google's translation, it gave that part as:

    "You could say that the flat part of the hockey stick is too flat. The previous reconstructions underestimates the strength of the natural climate variations," says Bo Christiansen adds. "In addition, the methods a large element of chance."

    Again, we see the word "adds" followed by a period then the quotation mark the person is adding. I can't speak Finnish, but I suspect the original article did not make this grammatical mistake. I think both Google's translation and Steyn's translation have introduced it. And I think Steyn, by not indicating he performed a translation, has falsely attributed the error to the authors of the piece when it's really his own mistake.

  51. I think Mark Steyn may be the greatest troll to ever live. He publishes a book to tell people his criticisms of Mann were reasonable because so many other people share them, then promptly proceeds to quote complete loons while saying things about Mann's work that are completely untrue. He starts his book off mocking people as "paranoid" for being worried about doctored quotes then proceeds to doctor a quote every three pages. And now, translating an article published in Finnish (poorly) and pretending it had been published in English, he says in the very next section of his book:

    On October 7th 2004 Dr Ahlbeck summarized it thus (in English)1:

    Well played Steyn, well played. You couldn't be a bigger troll if you tried, and I assume you're already trying very hard. Because if this comes to you naturally, you're the biggest dick to ever live.

  52. So yeah, I had to take a break after that huge trollish remark from Steyn. After actually looking at the section though, I'm not sure it was worth coming back to. The guy he quotes in it, Dr Jarl Ahlbeck, PhD, has this as his head quote:

    He only put a lot of numbers into his computer, played with statistical subroutines for a while and wow, headline-breaking results popped up!

    That sounds really damning because the word "only" makes it sound like Mann just futzed around with some numbers in some unscientific way and bam, got his results. But what Ahlbeck actually said was:

    Well, I don't think Dr.Mann came up with his Hockey Stick just because he first discovered MW and LI in the data and then wanted to prove that there were no MW or LI at all. He only put a lot of numbers into his computer, played with statistical subroutines for a while and wow, headline-breaking results popped up!

    Which is quite different. This is Ahlbeck saying he doesn't think Mann found results in his data then sought to prove those results weren't actually in his data. That's a very different impression than Steyn's selective quoting would give.

    Still, Steyn does give the fuller quote in the body of the section, so it's not a big deal. I wouldn't have thought much about this section (except for the trollish remark at the start), except I happened to recognize the name. It was one which just happened to be buried somewhere in the back of my head, from something I had read somewhere, where I had seen a few e-mails he had sent quoted. I decided to check my memory, and I quickly confirmed this guy is who I thought he was, and he has in fact said things like:

    After studying the subject since 1986, I too think that some measurable influence of increased atm. CO2 conc. may, if not yet, be possible in the future.

    That was sent around the same time as the e-mail Steyn quoted, back in 2004. That means after nearly 20 years of "studying the subject," Ahlbeck was willing to conclude humans may be able to warm the planet by some measurable amount, eventually.

    These are the experts Steyn wants us to trust.

  53. Section 26 isn't about a PhD like most of the other people in this book. It's not even about a PhD's child. I'ts about Neal J King, a member of Skeptical Science, who Mark Steyn misrepresents quite severely. He quotes King as saying:

    Mann (and maybe Steig are examples of how NOT to proceed...

    This is a misrepresentation in a couple ways. First, to get the trivial part out of the way, there was nothing after the word "proceed." That was the last word of a comment King left in the Skeptical Science forum. You can see it here. Putting an ellipsis there was completely wrong of Steyn. I know that's a fairly trivial thing, but come on man, it's not hard to quote people accurately.

    The far more important misrepresentation arises from what Steyn leaves out. He leaves out vital context, both here and in the body of his section. Anyone reading this quote would think King is saying something negative about Mann and his behavior, especially since Steyn says this during his introductory remarks for the section:

    But, behind the scenes, Skeptical Science operated a private forum in which their disquiet over Mann's methods and their distate at feeling obliged to defend him is palpable.

    But what did King really mean by this quote? The context makes it clear:

    The question is, How do you avoid putting your foot in the traps? I think Mann (and maybe Steig) are examples of how NOT to proceed.

    King was talking about traps people fall into, not because of some misbehavior on their part, but because of the gotcha games that go on in any sort of debate or argument. Steyn portrays King as condemning Mann's behavior, but in reality, all King was saying is Mann is bad at PR. Similarly, Steyn quotes King thusly:

    It's my impression that Mann et al. spent too much time defendinig [sic] what was incorrect, and allowed the totality of the argument to become "infected" by the fight.

    Making it seem King believes Mann's work was wrong when in reality, what King said was:

    Having been involved in technical swordplay, I know that you have to be clear on what you must defend and what you must be ready to drop. If you make a mistake, you have to:

    a) admit it quickly; and

    b) isolate it's impact on the rest of the paper.

    It's my impression that Mann et al. spent too much time defendinig what was incorrect, and allowed the totality of the argument to become "infected" by the fight. There is a rhythm and pace to these arguments: If you get on the wrong footing, you can be technically correct and still go down in flames.

    Mann made some mistakes in his work which didn't make him wrong overall (he was still technically correct in his arguments), but because he didn't handle them well, the perception of the rest of his work was corrupted by them. In other words, King was once again talking about PR, not any serious problems with Mann's work, but Steyn took King's words out of context to make them seem like damning criticisms of Mann and his work.

    This is pathetic. It's easy to show Michael Mann's work is complete rubbish. You don't need to resort to such obvious misrepresentations to make a case against it. You don't need to rely on crackpots and lunatics to make yourself appear reasonable. In fact, doing either of those will just hurt your case and make you look bad.

  54. Before I go on, I want to point out Section 26 closes with a quote from another Skeptical Science member, Robert Way. Section 29 is all about Robert Way. The structure of that is baffling. Sections 27 and 28 are about two other random people who do nothing to bridge King and Way's section, either as people or via their quotes. Even Steyn's remarks in the sections do nothing to bring things together. Steyn could have easily changed the order of this chapter without messing up the flow of anything, and it would have made more sense.

    That's not a factual criticism, a claim of dishonesty or anything like that, but this is a book review. When I see clear compositional problems, I have to point them out.

  55. I'm having so much trouble getting through this review because I've reached the point where I don't even get upset anymore. I don't know if it's just that I've gotten numb to how horrible the book is, or if the book has simply reached such a level of stupidity that's impossible to get angry at. For instance, consider Section 27. It's quote is from Professor James V Zidek, PhD, who says this about Michael Mann's hockey stick:

    How such an expensive project was launched and collected so much data without having statisticians on board is a mystery.

    I feel like I could respond, "You're an idiot," and that would be a fair response. Not just a fair one, but a reasonably informative one as well. I mean, it at least lives up to the standard set by Steyn's "experts." Just look at this guy! He thinks Mann's hockey stick was "such an expensive project" which "collected so much data." How stupid could he be?

    Mann didn't collect any data. Well, okay. He did collect data if you want to count going to websites and downloading it. Or if you want to maybe count e-mailing people and asking them for it. That's not exactly expensive though. I could download more than the 415 series he used for his hockey stick in a single day without leaving my room. Heck, I could tell you locations on the internet where you could download 200+ series all at once.

    Ooh. So expensive. Pay for some electricity and an internet connection. I guess maybe you'd need to pay for a computer too, if he didn't already have one? Realistically, most of the money Mann might have gotten for this project was probably spent on other stuff, like day-to-day expenses and department junk. The project itself would have cost practically nothing.

    But no, this moron decides to tell everyone there should have been "statisticians on board" because of how expensive the project was. I'm sure the whole $200 it cost would have really warranted the involvement of not one, but multiple statisticians. Thanks Steyn. This "expert" really had a lot to add to the discussion.

    It's not like he just sounds like a statistician looking for any reason he can find to say we should hire more statisticians.

  56. Section 28 is just weird to me. The section is about Dr Mia Hubert, PhD, who is quoted as saying:

    Tree rings with a hockey stick shape dominate the PCA with this method.

    Which is normal enough, and true, until you realize that's all she's quoted as saying. Her head quote is literally the only words from her in the entire section. In fact, the section doesn't talk about her at all. This is supposed to be a book about the views of experts on Michael Mann and his work, but here we have a quote from an expert... who the book doesn't discuss at all?

    Oh well. After that we have Section 29, which as I mentioned before, is about Robert Way of the Skeptical Science group who was also quoted in Section 26. In fact, the source for his quotes in Section 29 is the exact same as the source for the quotes in Section 26. Both of them. Because Steyn gave two different source in Section 26 for quotes even though the second source contained both quotes in them. Seriously, I do not get some of the compositional choices in this book.

    For instance, Section 30 is fine and all, but it flows straight from Section 29, building upon the narrative of Robert Way's words. Why didn't we have Neal J King's section (26) which closes out with a closing remark from Way flow into Way's section which would then flow into this next section? It would have been a great compositional choice.

    Instead, we had the random and idiotic Section 27 and the just random Section 28 interrupt the flow... for no reason. It's bizarre.

  57. Oh god, my head hurts again. This time, it wasn't due to Steyn or the "experts" he quotes being idiots though. It was due to boredom. Or more specifically, it was due to Steyn's introductory text for Chapter Four being such weak rhetoric that it wasn't it even interesting enough to rise to the normal level of "boring" I feel when reading Steyn's long-winded ramblings. And that, well... um... kind of made me fall asleep.

    I'm not kidding. I literally fell asleep in my chair after reading a page and a half. That's probably a bad sign for the writing, but the bigger problem is I was leaning backwards in the chair. It turns out I can't balance a chair on two legs in my sleep. Now my head hurts.

    But hey, at least the text got a bit less boring by the third page. There Steyn actually caught my interest. Not by writing anything clever or insightful though. No, he chose to go an easier route - saying something stupid. Well, multiple stupid things, but I"m just going to quote the one:

    Having buried "the divergence problem" in his own work, was it ever likely that Mann would want to address it from his new seat of power?

    Hey dufus, guess what? The "divergence problem" was in Keith Briffa's work, not Michael Mann's. Try not being a total ignoramus the next time you write a book. Or at least try not making it so obvious you are one.

  58. Alright, there is definitely something wrong with me. Section 31 brings us yet another crackpot, and I didn't even blink at it. Seriously. I don't think I've blinked in like ten minutes. It's creeping me out. Anyway...

    This section is about a guy Mark Steyn says is named Professor G Kornelis Van Kooten, PhD. However, the source he provides says the guy's name is G. Cornelis van Kooten, as does the guy's website. I don't know what to make of that. Regardless, what's more interesting is that guy says things like:

    Recent experience with rising global temperatures may simply be the result of ‘leaving behind’ the Little Ice Age. There is no direct observable link between rising atmospheric CO2 and temperatures; although the causal link between the two is well established theoretically, other factors influencing temperature appear to be more important than the impact of carbon dioxide.

    Once again folks, carbon dioxide is not really causing the planet to warm. Any effect it might have is minor, because after all:

    climate scientists have long downplayed the effect of changes in the Sun’s activities on the Earth’s climate. Recent research from a number of different quarters has now demonstrated that the Sun plays a large, perhaps even the dominant role, in changing the Earth’s climate. Even other heavenly bodies affect the Earth’s climate, either through their impact on the Earth’s orbit or their influence on the intensity of cosmic rays reaching Earth. Greenhouse gases and anthropogenic emissions appear to be a minor player in the climate dance.

    But let's not spend more time rehashing the obvious points of how yet another one of Mark Steyn's experts is a crackpot who thinks anything but greenhouse gases is more important than human influences on the planet. Let's do so even though this guy makes it sound like that "anything" would include things like the rotational speed of Jupiter.

    As remarkable as I find that, let's just look at what this guy has to say on Michael Mann's infamous hockey stick to support Steyn's case. Quoting some other text Steyn quotes:

    The IPPC’s Third Assessment Report basically relied on the hockey stick to make the case that current temperatures were higher than those experienced by humans in the last 1,500 to 2,000 years, or even more.

    Okay, seriously? Crackpottery aside, how does one criticize Mann's hockey stick which clearly only went back to 1000 AD as having been used to show modern temperatures were unprecedented in "2,000 years, or even more"? Is this guy incapable of doing basic arithmetic, or does he just not even know what the hockey stick graph looks like?

    Either way, that's your expert folks!

  59. Sections 32-34 are surprisingly not bad. There are a couple quibbles I'd have with what a couple of the quoted people said, but out of respect of them doing a good job overall, I'll let those slide. I won't even complain about a rather more serious error in Section 34, though that's because it's by a different person than the main person of the section, and he's the guy Section 35 quotes. I figure I'll just include it when I cover Section 35.

    So really, the only thing I have to comment on about these sections is a weird thing I noticed. I haven't really talked about this, but Steyn's usually been giving people 5+ lines of resume. He goes on and on about the qualifications of these people, including the crackpots. Or as I wanted to remark on, especially the crackpots.

    You see, the last three sections had one, maybe two lines of text describing the "expert" the section was about. The only other person to receive such a short description was Neal J. King, who isn't even a PhD. Maybe it's just a coincidence that so much short descriptions in a row happened to go along with people who wrote sensible things, but I can't help but wonder if there's any correlation between the amount of text devoted to people's credentials in this book and the quality of what they say.

    I did a quick skim of the next bit of the book to see if anything about this jumped out. Nothing did. The only thing which did jump out is Tom Wigley gets a section of his own, Section 45. If you've been following this review, you know why that upsets me.

  60. I am trying to find the motivation to finish this book, but it's a real struggle. It's not that the book has gotten better or worse; it's just that it's so repetitive. It's the exact same things over and over and over.

    Pretty much every other section has one of Steyn's misquotations where he alters a quote in some trivial way that I'm sure his defenders would say "doesn't matter" (irony, abounds). A couple sections here and there make some good points in a coherent manner. Then Steyn quotes a guy who says the planet is going to start cooling. Yeah, that's right folks. Section 37 is about a guy who doesn't go the normal route of simply denying global warming or anything like that. He says, and I quote, "It's the sun, stupid" then predicts the planet is going to start cooling. Nutjobs of the world, unite!

    About the only new thing I noticed is in Section 39, Steyn quotes a guy named Tim Patterson as saying:

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, used this study as a major prop. Now that prop is gone, yet Environment Canada and others continue to use this graph as if it were still valid. It is not...

    The blue line is one of the primary pieces of evidence used by the IPCC to promote the idea that the 20th century warming was unprecedented in the past millennium. This line has become known as the hockey stick. The shaft of the stick is the supposedly relatively lower temperatures for the first 900 years of the period, and the blade of the stick is the reputed sudden temperature rise of the past century. The red line in figure 1 is the result you get when the data and the methodology used to produce the hockey stick are applied correctly. As you can see, there's an enormous difference between the two curves prior to about 1500 AD.

    If Canada's government is to base climate policy on real science, then it must accept that its policy decisions should be changeable as climate science advances. Otherwise, policy becomes disconnected from science, and we may waste billions of dollars going in entirely the wrong direction.

    Until we have a far better understanding of the underlying science, the government should cancel funding allocated to stopping climate change, which is ridiculous. The only constant about climate is change. Instead, we should be preparing for whatever nature throws at us next, as well as continuing to fund research that will help us to eventually understand our planet's complex climate system.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman and committee members. I look forward to answering any questions you may have.

    Which seems all well and good until you realize he just completely cut out something like six paragrpahs. And I don't mean where he put that ellipsis. I'll fill in what he cut out for that too, but it's only a sentence. The real omission comes after the next paragraph. Here's the whole thing:

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, used this study as a major prop. Now that prop is gone, yet Environment Canada and others continue to use this graph as if it were still valid. It is not.

    Figure 1 in your handout illustrates this point very well. The blue line is one of the primary pieces of evidence used by the IPCC to promote the idea that the 20th century warming was unprecedented in the past millennium. This line has become known as the hockey stick. The shaft of the stick is the supposedly relatively lower temperatures for the first 900 years of the period, and the blade of the stick is the reputed sudden temperature rise of the past century. The red line in figure 1 is the result you get when the data and the methodology used to produce the hockey stick are applied correctly. As you can see, there's an enormous difference between the two curves prior to about 1500 AD.

    While neither McKitrick nor McIntyre nor anyone else who properly understands climate history would assert that the 1400s really did have such high temperatures, their exposure of the serious flaws in the hockey stick was a crucially important development, one our government has simply ignored.

    Similarly, the research findings of extreme weather experts such as Dr. Mandhav Khandekar have been disregarded, and this is in the published literature. Dr. Khandekar has shown that extreme events are not on the rise in Canada and that the likelihood such occurrences will rise or increase in the next 25 years is very low. Events such as droughts, floods, and hurricanes are important threats and we can do a lot to prepare for them, but humans do not cause such occurrences and Kyoto will do nothing to prevent them.

    Canada is fortunate to have one of the world's leading paleoclimate researchers at the University of Ottawa, and that's geology professor Dr. Jan Veizer. Over the past several years he has conducted truly groundbreaking research, looking into the long-term climate trends. Professor Veizer has shown the changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide--the gas most restricted by Kyoto in Canada--have had little effect on earth's long-term temperature variation in comparison with natural causes.

    I direct you to figure 2 in your handout. The thick blue line at the top shows the changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, CO2, and the thin black line at the bottom of the graph is a plot of temperatures found by Professor Veizer, looking back through geologic time. As you can see, through deep time there is no meaningful correlation between carbon dioxide levels and earth's temperature. In fact, when CO2 levels were over 10 times higher than they are at the present time, about 450 million years ago, our planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years.

    On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increases in CO2 levels you see in figure 3 of your handout would be the major cause of the past century's modest warming?

    What causes climate change? My own research, and that of many others in the field, shows that in all times scales there is a very good correlation between earth's temperature and natural celestial phenomena such as changes in the brightness of the sun. This should surprise no one; after all, the sun and the stars are the source of virtually all the energy that's received by our planet. The fact that the sun is now brighter than it has been at any time in the past 8,000 years should have a major impact upon climate.

    In our research, we are showing the excellent correlation between the regular fluctuations in the brightness of the sun and earthly temperatures. Hundreds of other studies have shown similar trends. In the legal system, there's a mechanism to reopen cases when new evidence comes to light. In science, this is the norm as well--questioning, re-examining, changing ideas, and rejecting old ones when reputable new information surfaces.

    If Canada's government is to base climate policy on real science, then it must accept that its policy decisions should be changeable as climate science advances. Otherwise, policy becomes disconnected from science, and we may waste billions of dollars going in entirely the wrong direction.

    Until we have a far better understanding of the underlying science, the government should cancel funding allocated to stopping climate change, which is ridiculous. The only constant about climate is change. Instead, we should be preparing for whatever nature throws at us next, as well as continuing to fund research that will help us to eventually understand our planet's complex climate system.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman and committee members. I look forward to answering any questions you may have.

    I wonder how many other quotes have had text removed from them without any indication being given. I'd like to think this is the only one since I've looked up most of the quotes I've seen in the book so far, but I never thought to look for text being deleted without any indication being given. I might have missed other cases.

    And no, I'm not going back and checking. I've made it through over 100 pages of this book now, and honestly, I don't know how. Every time I pick the book up, my eyes start to glaze over. If I actually force myself to read, my head starts to throb and my mind just goes blank. It's like the most unpleasant experience one can have while reading. Even if the the book wasn't mind-numbingly bad, it would still be so boring I'd hate it. Or I would if I could get up the energy. But even when I read things like:

    The rap on Stephen McIntyre is that he's "not a climate scientist".

    I can't work up any anger. I mean, I've seen this quote attributed to Michael Mann twice elsewhere in this book, never with a source, so by all appearances Mark Steyn's been fabricating quotes. I mean, maybe he didn't. This is only the third quote attributed to Mann given without any source that I've noticed so far. Maybe they're all real quotes, and Steyn just thought, "Ah heck with it, I won't provide references for these quotes like I do all my others."

    What does it matter though? All the "skeptics" will love this book because... I don't know. I can't wrap my head around the blatant tribalism of it. They'll worship Steyn as some sort of hero, ignoring the fact he does all sorts of things they've condemned other people for doing, all because he... is... I just don't know. Capable of writing lots of words to act smarter than other people even though he has no idea what he's talking about? That would explain why he rarely gives out any actual information, and why when he does give out any, it's usually wrong. I guess it might be appealing to listen to a guy like that because then you can... pretend along with him that you're all smart and something?

    I don't know. What I do know is in Chapter 5's introductory material Steyn quotes Keith Briffa as saying:

    I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago.

    And claims this is proof "core members of the Hockey Team never subscribed to Mann's grotesque simplifications." Only, to accomplish this, Steyn conveniently leaves off the sentenece immediately prior which says:

    I am not sure that this unusual warming is so clear in the summer responsive data.

    Summer data may be useful as a proxy for annual temperatures, but nobody would mistake a comment referring to it as referring to annual temperatures. Nobody would mistake a comment referring to summer data as referring to winter data. Or spring data. Or fall data. Or decadal data. Or any other type of data.

    But Steyn manages to avoid all that complexity by simply pretending it doesn't exist. That lets him pretend Briffa's comment was in reference to all proxy data, not just one subclass of it. And of course, not a single "skeptic" will mind this.

    Which I would be okay with, except I know people on Mann's side will likely never read this review. And judging from the poor responses of Mann and his supporters in the past, they may well not figure out how bad this book actually is. I've already seen responses from a number of people on the "warmist" side which are incredibly weak, showing no effort was put into examining the book. If that keeps happening, I may just break down and start contacting some of them. I mean, I don't get along with most of them, but it'd be nice to see the actual problems with the book get noticed by someone other than myself.

    I mean, seriously, I've counted over 38 misquotations in this book, and I'm only a third of the way through it. I don't care that many of the misquotations are minor. That's obscene. How can it just not catch anyone's eye?

  61. Alright, time to wade through more of this book. Section 41 has Steyn citing a Google groups link for an e-mail from Dr Eugene I Gordon, PhD, for the quote:

    I don't think they are scientifically adequate or stupid. I think they are dishonest.

    Which as usual, is a misquotation (that was not the end of his sentence). Interestingly, this e-mail was included in the Climategate releases as well, which is where I'm familiar with it from. That's why I'm also familiar with Gordon saying things like:

    I concede all of your points but add one other thought. It is my grandchildren I worry about and I suspect their grand children will find it exceedingly warm because sunspots will return and carbon abatement is only a game; It won’t happen significantly in their lifetime AND IT WON’T BE ENOUGH IN ANY CASE. HENCE WE WILL NEED A GEOENGINEERING SOLUTION COME WHAT MAY!


    Prior to his death, he said things like this many times, which is why you can find comments from him like:

    Truly excellent article. The main failing is omission of mention of the posssible role of of a geoengineering contingency. Even if the alarm concerning anthropogenic global warming were justified, the enormous expense necessary to counter it would be unnecessary in the face of geoengineering means to lower the temperature. Hence, the alarm is unjustified.

    Another omission is the historical relationship between high sunspot count and elevated global average surface temperature. It gets ignored or is discounted by the AGW aficionados on the basis that it is not possible because the sun brightness does not increase when the sunspot count increases despite other possible explanations. Hence, if they do not understand it then it does not exist.

    On any number of sites. In each case, Gordon says the same thing. He claims the sun is super important, climate scientists are effectively covering that up, and geoengineering is the only way to save us all. Never once does he actually offer a substantive criticism or piece of useful information. Instead, he says things like this, which Steyn quoted:

    That is not to say that global warming is not occurring to some extent since it would be even without CO2 emissions. The CO2 emissions only accelerate the warming and there are other factors controlling climate. As a result, the entire process may be going slower than the powers that be would like. Hence, (I postulate) the global warming contingent has substantial motivation to be dishonest or seriously biased, and to be loyal to their equally dishonest club members.

    Ultimately, this guy's entire contribution on the subject is conspiratorial ramblings and calls for his own pet ideas to be adopted to save the world. There is nothing to indicate he has any knowledge or experience which would make his comments remotely relevant, and as a result, he just sounds like a nut.

    So woohoo, another crackpot to support Steyn's case!

  62. Section 42 should be a good one, but somehow Steyn just completely fails to develop the point raised in it. He quotes Phil Jones a saying:

    You're on very dodgy groun with this long-term decline in temperatures.

    Which again, is another misquotation. That's neither the beginning nor the end of the sentence Steyn is quoting. Regardless, this should have been good. This quote is about how Mann's original hockey stick showed a long-term decline in temperatures prior to ~1850, a result Mann was obtained by altering his data.

    You might remember this one. It's where Mann altered his data for 1000-1400 to account for CO2 fertilization in his tree ring series. You know, the problem which should have made him not use bristlecone proxies in the first place? Also, the problem which only arose after ~1850.

    That's right. Mann altered his data from 1000-1400 because it supposedly began being corrupted after 1850. He didn't alter the data after 1850. He didn't alter the data from 1400-1850. He just altered it from 1000-1400, despite the problem only arising after 1850.

    So Mann posited a time-traveling CO2 fertilization effect, used that to alter his data to find temperatures declined from ~1000-1850, Steyn quotes an e-mail doubting such results, and... that's it. He just doesn't comment on the time-traveling CO2 adjustments. Worse yet, Mann publicly discussed this adjustment in both his 1999 paper and in his book, saying it was necessary to get his results, offering no explanation as to why he needed to adjust his tree ring data for 1000-1400, but not for 1400-1850, for a problem which existed only after 1850. Oh, and Mann insists the problem stopped being a problem in 1900, because it just... vanished.

    The story is so completely implausible and ridiculous, yet somehow, Steyn fails to even notice it.

  63. Section 43 shows how Steyn's continued insistence on misquoting people actually does matter. He quotes Keith Briffa as saying:

    I am sick to death of Mann.

    But what Briffa actually said is:

    I am sick to death of Mann stating his reconstruction represents the tropical area just because it contains a few (poorly temperature representative) tropical series.

    Which is kind of different, no? There is maybe a little difference between saying, "I am sick to death of my wife" and, "I am sick to death of my wife insisting we watch Dancing With the Stars," right?

    Right. And if anyone on the "warmist" side misquoted people like this, "skeptics" would call him dishonest. Steyn does it, and people call him a hero. And it's not like this is just some one-off thing in the lead-in to the section. Steyn goes on to say this later in the section:

    As "sick to death of Mann" as he was in 2002, Professor Briffa would grow a lot sicker of him in the years ahead...

    Showing he's clearly trying to create a narrative based off his misquotation. And that's just, okay with "skeptics," I guess.

  64. Section 44 has Steyn quote an e-mail from Ed Cook and say it was "re problems with the pre-1400 part of Mann's work." That's not accurate. The e-mail was primarily about Mann's claims regarding temperatures/data of the tropics. It dealt with the pre-1400 part of Mann's work insofar as issues regarding the tropics affect that part of Mann's work, but that's the only relation there was. But hey, if you're willing to misquote people to falsify the context of their remarks, why wouldn't you be willing to just misstate the context of their remarks? Not that I think Steyn did this on purpose. I doubt he took the time to understand any of this well enough to intentionally misrepresent it.

    Section 45 is... okay enough, I guess? There are relevant details left out and yet another misquotation, but compared to other sections, it's not too bad.

    Section 46 begins with another misquotation. Steyn quotes Jonathon Overpeck as saying:

    Is this true? If so, it constitutes a devastating criticism.

    In the body of the section, Steyn continues this by quoting:

    The primary criticism of McIntyre and McKitrick, which has gotten a lot of play on the Internet, is that Mann et al. transformed each tree ring prior to calculating PCs by subtracting the 1902-1980 mean, rather than using the length of the full time series (e.g., 1400-1980), as is generally done. M&M claim that when they used that procedure with a red noise spectrum, it always resulted in a 'hockey stick'. Is this true? If so, it constitutes a devastating criticism of the approach...

    Which at least correctly acknowledges text has been removed from the sentence. However, Steyn's subsequent remarks:

    It is, indeed, a "devastating criticism". But the concern expressed in private by Dr Overpeck is in striking contrast to his public statements.

    Steyn then goes on to spend an entire page painting Overpeck as a hypocrite based on what he had said in private. Only, Steyn couldn't possibly do this if he had quoted the rest of Overpeck's sentence. Here it is in full, along with the next sentence:

    Is this true? If so, it constitutes a devastating criticism of the approach; if not, it should be refuted. While IPCC cannot be expected to respond to every criticism a priori, this one has gotten such publicity it would be foolhardy to avoid it.

    And what do you think happened after he said this? I bet he got a response which said something like, "No, that's not true." I bet I could predict what talking points the response would contain since they've been said by these people hundreds of times before. I bet I could even find the response in the Climategate e-mails, and perhaps even a follow-up e-mail from Overpeck acknowledging it, if I felt like it.

    But I'm not going to right now because this is all BS. Overpeck asked if something was true. He said if it was, it was a problem; if it wasn't, it should be refuted. He later acted as though he didn't believe it was a problem. Steyn portrays that as a hypocritical, but he can only do so by cutting out part of the quote to take it out of context.

    And oh, for good measure, also misquoting it.

  65. Section 47 is... whatever. Section 48 is much more interesting. It's about Lubos Motl, a blogger whose name came up in a post here just two months ago. I'm not going to talk about Motl as a person, though I would hope most people would cringe at least a little at the quote Steyn gives for him:

    I am not forced to assume good faith of criminals and the people who don't follow the rules of scientific integrity.

    Calling climate scientists criminals seems like the sort of thing people would hesitate to do, but... apparently not. Motl has a history of extreme remarks (including many far worse than this), but what's more interesting is how Steyn manages to exaggerate what Motl says. Steyn writes:

    Dr Motl noted that for his 2008 stick Mann had used 55 data sets that showed an upsward sweep in the late 20th century - but rejected another 64 data sets that showed a downward curve in the late 20th century:

    But that's not what Motl said. Steyn quotes Motl as saying:

    Wow, it's just amazing.

    The numbers 55 and 64 are pretty large. Don't tell me that you will get these two qualitatively different curves by averaging "random" subsets of the datasets. Unless Jeff has made a mistake, the "convenient" datasets were clearly chosen by hand while the "inconvenient" ones were manually thrown away.

    If this is not fraud, what is?

    But nowhere in that text is there any description of what the 55 or 64 data sets showed. In fact, Steyn's description is wrong. As it Motl's quote. Neither the 55 nor 64 numbers are actually correct, nor are the descriptions Steyn's gives of the data sets in question correct either. This image in the post Motl cites indicates the unused data doesn't have a downward trend, and as that post and several subsequent posts indicate, the actual numbers are not 55 and 64.

    For instance, the 64 number comes from the fact there were 148 data sets which weren't used by Mann but were at one point posted by him, showing he had considered using them at one point or another. Of these, 64 extended to modern times. That's where the number 64 comes from. Of those 64, however, 18 need to be excluded due to being inappropriate data types (containing instrumental data, meaning they're not actually proxy records). That means there are only 46 excluded data sets to consider.

    But you know, details. They clearly don't matter. Steyn can just falsely claim people said things they didn't say, and that's apparently cool, even if what he claims they said is wrong.

  66. Section 49 is mostly bleh, but Section 50 has another exaggeration on Steyn's part. He says:

    The most disturbing aspect of Climategate was the revelation that the Big Climate establishment largely shared the "deniers" view of Mann's appalling science - but they kept it to themselves.

    To support this contention, he quotes Professor Simon Tett, PhD, as saying:

    a) Did Mann et al get it wrong? Yes Mann et al got it wrong.

    But actually examining what Tett said gives a different picture than Steyn tries to paint. A common saying is, "All models are wrong, but some are useful." The point of the saying is it is impossible to make a model of anything that is absolutely perfect, but you can often make a model that does a good enough job to make useful projections.

    The same is true of science. All scientific work is wrong, to some extent. Scientists know this. Scientists understand published results will not be perfectly correct. As such, they know the relevant question is usually not whether results are wrong or not, but how wrong those results are.

    And that's why Tett's next sentence was:

    How wrong is still under debate and the ECHO-G/HadCM3 results may be over-exaggerating the variance loss for some model-specific reasons.

    Which shows Tett believes Mann original hockey stick was wrong, but he doesn't know how wrong it was. Steyn tries to portray Tett as "shar[ing] the 'deniers' view of Mann's appalling science," but the reality is all Tett knew was Mann's results were off by some unknown amount. That's not what any "denier" would have said about Mann's hockey stick.

    Put simply, Tett said Mann's work wasn't absolutely correct. Steyn paints that as him telling people in private Mann's work is rubbish, but refusing to say the same in public. People should be worried Steyn apparently feels he has to exaggerate people's remarks so consistently to write his book.

  67. Wow. So um, wow. Steyn apparently just makes **** up. I was starting to write my reaction to Chapter VI's introductory text when I flipped to the last page of it and saw:

    Phil Jones to Michael Mann on Feb. 3, 2005:

    The two MMs [McKitrick and McIntyre, the latter the dogged retired Ontarian who runs the Climate Audit website] have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the U.K., I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone.6

    And, indeed, the CRU subsequently announced that they had "inadvertently deleted" the requested data.

    That never happened. I want to repeat that, because it is rather important. That never happened. The event never happened. The announcement never happened. The quote Steyn attributes to the CRU was never said by the CRU. This is all just a product of Steyn's imagination.

    Additionally, it's unoriginal. I was trying to figure out where in the world Steyn got this nonsense from when I stumbled upon this piece by Steyn, written nine months ago. It has that exact text, word for word.

    And it has more of the book's text. This appears in both that piece and the book:

    Yet perhaps the most important revelation is not the collusion, the bullying, the politicization and the evidence-planting, but the fact that, even if you wanted to do honest "climate research" at the Climatic Research Unit, the data and the models are now so diseased by the above that they're all but useless.

    Even though the piece Steyn wrote nine months ago refers to other things "above" than the book does. So Steyn's not just copy and pasting his own words, he's doing so out-of-context. And while his book goes on to say:

    Phil Jones and Michael Mann are two of the most influential figures in the whole "climate change" establishment. What these documents reveal is the greatest scientific scandal of our times - and a tragedy. It's not just their graphs but their battle lines that are drawn all wrong.

    This is just a slightly reworded version of what came later in that piece:

    Phil Jones and Michael Mann are two of the most influential figures in the whole "climate change" racket. What these documents reveal is the greatest scientific scandal of our times - and a tragedy. It's not just their graphs but their battle lines that are drawn all wrong.

    Steyn changed "racket" to "establishment" for his book. Other than that, he's just straight up copying from his previous writing. How lazy can you get? And how many other times has Steyn done this?

    I don't know. I'm still more bothered by the fact Steyn just flat out made **** up, including fabricating a quote. Even worse, he apparently did this nine months ago and nobody called him on it.

  68. As an addendum to my previous comment, the only place I could find anyone using the quote Steyn used is here. It is a Google Groups discussion titled, quite appropriately, "Climate Conspiracy." In it, an individual made a comment which contained this:

    The two MMs [McKittrick and McIntyre] have been after the CRU station
    data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information
    Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to
    What makes this interesting is that the CRU, in later years, announced
    that they had “inadvertently deleted” their raw data when they
    responded to an FOIA request from … McIntyre.

    Given Steyn does link to Google Group discussions in his book, it seems plausible this could be where Steyn got the idea from. Or it could just be a coincidence. I don't know. What I do know is whatever the source for Steyn's crazy idea, it's wrong, and so is his fabricated quote.

  69. MikeN, we'll see. It might work sort of like an honor system. People may choose to abide by it simply because they respect a host's right to moderate.

    But if not, they'll show they truly do deserve to be moderated. If you're asked not to do something by your host but you keep doing it, well, what else can you expect to happen?

  70. Hi Brandon

    I have read your review.....all of it.....and you obviously have a lot of great points! Your nitpicking on missing words
    or commas in various quotations I find tedious and boring. If it doesn't change the meaning I'm fine with it.
    But you do seem quite authistic about it 🙂

    Maybe you should offer Steyn assistance to correct the words of the worst "crackpots" as you call them. I don't think Steyn would lie on purpose - it is not his style. Exaggerate yes, like we all do, but not lie.
    Just like I would never think you would lie on purpose.
    But you do make mistakes aswell.

    The section on Bo Christiansen...the dane Bo Christiansen, working at the Danish Meteorological Institute..:)
    Why would you speak finnish with that guy?
    That's pretty funny.
    The paragraph is of course in danish and the translation is accurate.

    The point about the missing : after "adds" instead of the period, is an error in the original danish text. Where it says "og tilføjer" there is a period - should have been :

    So you are human too, Brandon 🙂

    Thanks for the effort, I appreciate it.

  71. Henrik Oelund:

    I have read your review…..all of it…..and you obviously have a lot of great points! Your nitpicking on missing words
    or commas in various quotations I find tedious and boring. If it doesn’t change the meaning I’m fine with it.
    But you do seem quite authistic about it 🙂

    I don't know that I could bring myself to read it all, to be honest. I would have liked to not have to "nitpick" quotations, but I can't be like you. Misquotations are bad, whether or not they change the meaning. The reason misquotations are inherently bad is because you can never know a misquotation kept the original meaning intact by examining it. And if the misquotation spreads by people copying it, the original meaning can get completely lost because people simply never look at the original source.

    I get not everybody cares about that, but... I do.

    Maybe you should offer Steyn assistance to correct the words of the worst “crackpots” as you call them. I don’t think Steyn would lie on purpose – it is not his style. Exaggerate yes, like we all do, but not lie.

    I don't think there's any fixing to be done about the crackpots in this book. I'd be happy to help edit the book to fix the misquotations and factual errors it contains, but when it comes to quoting crackpots, there's simply no fixing things. You can't fix the problem of quoting the equivalent of the crazy hobo standing on your street corner ranting about god knows what except by not quoting him. Until you do that, you ruin the credibility of your book.

    As it stands, Mark Steyn says he has 100+ experts. Only, he's grouping "experts" like Judith Curry in with people who say carbon dioxide isn't a greenhouse gas. He's grouping all of his "experts" in with people who suggest humans aren't even causing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to rise. Maybe Steyn can find 100+ people with PhDs who are willing to say anthropogenic global warming isn't real, but that doesn't mean they're experts; it just means you can find crackpots who are willing to say just about anything.

    If you don't make at least some effort to ensure your "experts" have some idea of what they're talking about, nobody should trust that they're really experts.

    The section on Bo Christiansen…the dane Bo Christiansen, working at the Danish Meteorological Institute..:)
    Why would you speak finnish with that guy?
    That’s pretty funny.
    The paragraph is of course in danish and the translation is accurate.

    That's weird. I used Google Translate to translate it, and I could have sworn it said the text was in Finnish. I guess I must have made a mistake in reading what it said the translation was done from somehow. I don't know how I did that. My bad.

    The point about the missing : after “adds” instead of the period, is an error in the original danish text. Where it says “og tilføjer” there is a period – should have been :

    It's good to have that cleared up. It appears my suspicion the error was introduced in the translation Steyn provided was wrong. I'm always more inclined to assume errors like that are introduced in translations than to have existed in the original text if they're unmarked, but as this shows, that's not always the case.

    This is a large part of why I think translations should be clearly labeled as such with the source of the translation listed. That lets the reader keep track of where changes might have been introduced at, and by whom. Imagine if this book gets republished in other languages. Will the passages which have been translated for this book be retranslated, or will someone go back to the original sources and translate those to the new languages? Given most of the translated passages are not labeled as translations, the former is more likely.

    So you are human too, Brandon 🙂

    While I take that as a compliment, I think there are many people who might be insulted to hear you say that 😛

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *