So I just submitted a comment over at Judith Curry's blog, on her post about a recent Senate committee hearing titled Data or Dogma. The comment didn't appear, which I figure is due to running afoul of some spam/moderation filter. I figured I'd copy it here because I think the subject merits some attention:
So I watched some of the hearing, and I'll try to watch the rest of it later on. There's one thing I have to say right away though. About two hours in (I skipped around) Senator Ted Cruz displayed two charts taken from Steven Goddard, on the basis they show adjustments to the USHCN data set cause massive changes in its results. That's embarrassing. Those charts are complete and utter bunk, and it is shameful they were used in this hearing, much less that they went unchallenged.
The methodology Goddard used to create those charts is trivially wrong and known to introduce biases in the results. This has been discussed on this very site, with a humorous example of its flaws being that applying it to a global data set (GHCN) instead of just one for the United States reverses the results, finding that adjustments reduce global warming by a significant amount.
And while this point is pretty much indisputable, with any technically oriented skeptic acknowledging Goddard's charts are bunk, Goddard continues to defend them. Today I expressed my shock and displeasure with Cruz using Goddard's charts during the hearing on Twitter. A few tweets later, Goddard tweeted:
Zeke Hausfather has written several posts explaining why Goddard's charts are bunk. Steven Mosher has explained the problems with Goddard's methodology as well. Anthony Watts has acknowledged the methodology is wrong. I suspect readers here could think of many other people who have said things like, you have to spatially weight your data or otherwise account for where your data is located so you don't give too much weight to any one area. According to Goddard, they're all frauds.
Goddard says you can just average every station together, without concern for where it is located or what its baseline temperature might be (go ahead and simply average those 30C and 10C areas together). That's the only reason he can come up with the charts Cruz used. And according to him, if you think that's wrong, you're a fraud.
Another reason I decided to copy it here is it lets me delve into the subject more than I could in a comment on someone else's blog. So that's what I'm going to do.
Steven Goddard is a blight on the skeptic community. Any skeptic who wants to be taken seriously should avoid him like the plague so as not to be tarnished with his infantile behavior and idiotic posts. Unfortunately, that's not what happens. If you want to see what Goddard is like, feel free to visit his blog. Or if you'd rather not subject yourself to that, you can read the first post I wrote about him last year where I pointed out he accused dozens of scientists of committing fraud by adjusting ocean temperature data while pointing to results which didn't even use ocean temperature data.
Yeah, he's that incompetent. That's not what today's post is about though. I've normally tried to ignore Goddard as there's no point repeating myself over and over. What he says is stupid and disgusting. Accusing everyone you disagree with of having committed fraud based upon basically nothing is pathetic. What's even more pathetic, however, is the fact Goddard is incredibly dishonest himself.
That's what today's post is going to be about. Goddard, who constantly accuses every scientist he can find of having committed fraud, secretly edits his posts and deletes people's comments to cover up his mistakes. In layman's terms, secretly replacing product so as to cover up deficiencies might be considered fraud.
I woke up this morning to a bunch of Twitter notifications saying I had been mentioned. I looked at them, and I found I had been brought up in a discussion beginning with this tweet:
Because someone thought they remembered me having written about the subject. I haven't. I'm not sure why they thought I had, but as I said in one of my responses:
Which isn't really true. I find the subject itself, changes made to temperature records, quite interesting. What I find completely boring is the incessant stream of stupid discussions about the subject. As an example, while both the tweet which started the thread, and another tweet by Steven Goddard right after it:
Blame Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateofGavin) for the changes which were made, Schmidt had absolutely nothing to do with it. Schmidt works for NASA's GISS which does produce the temperature series being referred to in those tweets (such as this graph Goddard complains about). However, GISS gets its input data (called GHCN) from another organization, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).
If the NCDC changes its GHCN data set, that will change GISS's temperature series even if GISS does nothing new. That's what happened here. The GHCN data series changed, and Steven Goddard blamed Gavin Schmidt because of his involvement with GISS even though GISS had no involvement in the change.
There has been a lot of hoopla about supposed problems in the surface temperature record recently. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't seem to understand what the hoopla is actually about. I think the problem is people have focused too much on rhetoric and too little on actual information. I'd like to try to reverse that.
A couple days ago Judith Curry said "the skeptical technical blogosphere is rapidly self-correcting." I told her she was wrong, saying in no unclear terms:
In my experience, skeptics as a whole aren’t self-correcting. They are every bit as guilty of willful blindness as anybody else. They just like to claim otherwise. There are a handful of exceptions, but by far and large, their reaction to any criticism depends entirely upon who and what is being criticized.
After a comment like that, I suppose it was inevitable I would start getting censored by skeptics.
I've been called a lot of things in my life, most of them not very nice. It usually doesn't bother me. People can call me what they will. It doesn't affect what I am. The problem is sometimes it's necessary to pick a "side" in a conflict. This point was brought to mind recently by Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That when he asked:
Is it time for an “official” climate skeptics organization, one that produces a policy statement, issues press releases, and provides educational guidance?
But I didn't give it much thought. Then I discovered Richard Tol apparently rewrote a couple parts of the latest IPCC report to downplay global warming concerns and promote his own work. The responses I got to pointing that out were disheartening. I tried to shrug it off, but then I got an e-mail from a self-declared skeptic referring to it which said (in part):
It looks like you're right but it's better for us if you don't talk about it.
That was my breaking point. I can accept whatever labels people want to give me, but the idea I should refrain from pointing out abuses of science because of what "side" I'm on is obscene. If that's what it takes to be a skeptic, I don't want to be one.
A person on Twitter made some comments about my last post, and I updated it in response. Part of that update was two new images I made. I've since realized the issue I highlight in the update deserves more attention than being buried at the end of a post, and as such, I've decided to create a new post for them. My hope is this "shot" in the "war" can serve as a warning for others.
First, Steven Goddard's graph:
I attempted to replicate that graph, and my results were reasonably close. I then made two changes. I removed the use of post-1980 data as we're looking at the temperature record created from 1980 data. I also picked a baseline that doesn't makes the old and new data look as bad as possible. That produced this graph:
It's official. After five recent posts criticizing Michael Mann, a half dozen criticizing Skeptical Science, another half dozen criticizing the work of Stephan Lewandowsky, and several others criticizing various people, I've gone to war... with Steven Goddard.
I'm supposed to be publishing a series of posts about Michael Mann. I was going to have one posted this morning, but I got distracted by dealing with nonsense from my own "side."