RC Creates a ‘Bubkes’ Storm

Despite what, to them, must be depressing patronage numbers (see www.http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/02/bubkes-iii-tightly-controlled/#more-9065), RC continues what they obviously consider is “the good fight”.

In recent days they have generated a storm of controversy among a series of interested blogs – not only RC itself, but The Air Vent, Watts Up With That, and particularly Roger Pielke Sr’s Climate Science Blog.

The affair started when RC put up a post entitled “A Warning From Copenhagen” on 21 June 2009 – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/06/a-warning-from-copenhagen/. RC followed this with another post entitled “Bubkes” on 26 June 2009 – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/06/bubkes/. “Bubkes” is apparently a yiddish term that means ‘goat droppings’ (I may have that wrong).

Roger Pielke Sr responded with a post on 30 June 2009 at his website http://climatesci.org titled “Real Climate’s Misinformation” – http://climatesci.org/2009/06/30/real-climates-misinformation/

Roger Pielke Sr is a highly regarded climatologist, noted for his scientific rigour and commitment to integrity. He assiduously strives to maintain a balanced position based on his long term career as a climate scientist. His views can be readily accessed at his website, but to summarise, RPSr is of the view that it is not proven that manmade CO2 emissions pose a risk to mankind. However, he does express a view that mankind IS having an adverse effect on local, regional, and possibly global climate through land-use practices that are damaging the environment. For more detail visit his website. We should also note that RPSr does not allow comments at his blog. It seems that quite some time ago he became frustrated at dealing with comments and decided to exercise his blog proprietor’s right to suspend comments.

RPSr started his post as follows:

Real Climate posted a weblog on June 21 2009 titled “A warning from Copenhagen”. They report on a Synthesis Report of the Copenhagen Congress which was handed over to the Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen in Brussels the previous week.

Real Climate writes

“So what does it say? Our regular readers will hardly be surprised by the key findings from physical climate science, most of which we have already discussed here. Some aspects of climate change are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago – such as rising sea levels, the increase of heat stored in the ocean and the shrinking Arctic sea ice. “The updated estimates of the future global mean sea level rise are about double the IPCC projections from 2007″, says the new report. And it points out that any warming caused will be virtually irreversible for at least a thousand years – because of the long residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

RPSr went on to challenge these statements in blunt terms: He debunked each of the elements of the bolded statement above as being “not true” and concluded

These climate metrics might again start following the predictions of the models. However, until and unless they do, the authors of the Copenhagen Congress Synthesis Report and the author of the Real Climate weblog are erroneously communicating the reality of the how the climate system is actually behaving.

Media and policymakers who blindly accept these claims are either naive or are deliberately slanting the science to promote their particular advocacy position.

On 30 June, WUWT put up a post “Roger Pielke Sr on Real Climate claims: “bubkes”. In this post, WUWT reproduced RPSr’s post at http://www.climatesci.org, but in a forum where there is high traffic, and where comments are allowed. Vigorous discussion ensued.

RC took strong exception to RPSr’s comments and put up a new post at RC on 1 July entitled “More Bubkes” – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/07/more-bubkes/. RC’s Copenhagen post had attracted 394 posts, and the first Bubkes thread was even more active with, at the last time I looked, 754 posts.

RC open up with “Roger Pielke Sr. has raised very strong allegations against RealClimate in a recent blog post. Since they come from a scientific colleague, we consider it worthwhile responding directly.”

RPSr responded at http://www.climatesci.org on 2 July with a post titled “Response by Roger A Pielke Sr to the Real Climate weblog “More Bubkes”. Also on 2 July, WUWT put up a post: “Bubkes II – Real Climate’s Rush Hour”, followed by another post on the same day “Bubkes III – Tightly Controlled”.

On 3 July RPSr put up a post “Gavin Schmidt Interview on Media Hype on Climate Science Issues”.

Then on 5 July RPSr put up another post “Real Climate Permits Continued Presentation of Misinformation”, and then on 6 July he put up another post at http://www.climatesci.org “Real Climate Permits Continued Presentation of Misinformation – Part 11”. This post was picked up by WUWT on 6 July as “Pielke Sr on Real Climate – Continued Misinformation. It was also picked up by http://www.icecap.us.

The ‘debate’ has been picked up by numerous other websites, notably Jeff Id’s The Air Vent on 2 July with his post titled “Hubris”.

On our reading of the issues, RPSr is correct, and found out RC promulgating more spin.

However, the point of raising it all here is not to assess the issues under discussion, but to point out that the above threads contain many references to censorship at RC, which is of course the main theme of this thread. We will reproduce selected references in comments below, but urge that interested parties have a look at the threads discussed above. Much emerges from a review of those threads. But particularly, it becomes even more crystal clear how much RC tries to manage the message by censoring posts (and banning posters) that do not comply with their particular view of the world.

Unfortunately for RC, sunlight, in the form of intense discussion at other blogs, is showing them up even more for what they are – an advocacy site. By now, we can be sure that literally thousands of people around the world have followed the debate, and I would guess that there are upwards of 3000 comments on the various threads at RC, WUWT, and other sites.


9 Responses to “RC Creates a ‘Bubkes’ Storm”

  1. rcrejects Says:

    Kenneth Fritsch, from his posts at CA and elsewhere, a serious scientist, agrees that RC is an advocate site:

    The Air Vent. “Hubris” thread, post 5

    Kenneth Fritsch said: July 2, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    If you forget about RC being an advocate site and look only at the differences between model and observed ice extents, the story it tells is that the climate scientists do not have a good grasp of the important factors that effect the summer ice melt. That in turn would seem to indicate that we do not have the capabilty to extrapolate what might happen in the future – be it greater or recovering ice extent in the Artic summer.

    On the other hand, an advocate for immediate AGW mitigation is going to spin it the way RC has – nothing really very surprising about any of this.

  2. rcrejects Says:

    John F Pittman talks about being ‘booted’ from RC.

    The Air Vent “Historic Hockey Stick – Pt 2 Shock and Recovery” thread. Post 9

    John F. Pittman said: June 25, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    #8 Jeff,

    If this is repeat or an incorrect assumption of the math presented, please ignore.

    In several posts you have shown that you can extract several different signals (up, down, wiggles, etc.). I wonder if you took the 10,000 sample with the two known signals as in figure 5 above, used the method selected by Mann for the proxies, and you show that yours did include “a screening regression (that) requires independent cross-validation to guard against the selection of false predictors”, couldn’t the rejected proxies be used “to back calculate the result and find the true signal prior to the CPS weighting”?

    If it does recover the signal and it should, would that not show definitely that Mann’s approach is a circular argument? In other words it works when you know the answer, it cannot be used to determine the answer.

    I got into an argument at RC that got me booted (go figure) arguing that the way IPCC approached temperature was wrong because it was a circular argument. They tried using the low frquency signal processing example to show that it could be done. The part not answered was that I and several persons tried to make is that in the signal processing argument, the signal was known, not unknown as the present case is. Their claim that it is known is true only for the modern period, and assumptions have to be made in order to extrapolate to the past. So I am curious, as to the back calculation. My thought is that if it works, and you redo Mann 08, you will get noise except for the infilled and divergence truncated versions. If true, it should be possible to show that the divergence problem was correctly expressed by Loehle. http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2405

  3. rcrejects Says:

    RC isn’t the only site that gets challenged. From Tamino Open Mind – Open Thread #14

    Gary Strand: June 29, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Well, I’ve spent some time on WUWT and despite my apprehensions about going there, I wasn’t impressed. Anthony spent a lot of effort trying to get me to reveal my age (no state secret, but completely irrelevant to the topic at hand) and nicely deleted some comments I had made, to leave him with the “upper hand”. He definitely played the man, not the ball. Overall, WUWT was about at the level of civility, maturity, and intellectual honesty I was expecting.

    Also, I wonder if Watts, McIntyre, etc. realize that they do their credibility no favors when they allow anonymous smears, slurs, and attacks. Perhaps they like to sit back and let the ignorant pit bulls go after folks, but I find such tactics silly and juvenile.

  4. rcrejects Says:

    A relatively generous comment from TCO about CA, and a defense of RC. From Tamino Open Mind – Open Thread #14.

    TCO: June 29, 2009 at 8:07 am

    RC and this site get complaints (some justified) all the time for comment deletions and for allowing aggressive silliness by the greenie side but not the reverse. At least at CA, you can post and its up for a while, without having to be pre-moderated.

    [Response: The complaints about RC are unjustified; they’re as open and tolerant a site as would could ask for. Criticism based on their censorship is nothing but dishonest character assassination.
    I’m no longer so tolerant. I wanted to be when I started, but a pattern has emerged: people say things that are so stupid it hurts, they’re corrected, they repeat (same stupidity from the same people), they’re proved wrong without a doubt, they still repeat it. There’s a “stupid threshold” beyond which I’m not willing to host comments.
    Those who want to argue endlessly over idiocy have plenty of places to go. This isn’t one of them.]

  5. rcrejects Says:

    ‘George’, in response to TCO, has a go at CA.

    TOM Open Thread #14

    george: July 1, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    TCO says: “At least at CA, you can post and its up for a while, without having to be pre-moderated.”

    Yeah, and if a comment happens to call Michael Mann a fraud (or insinuate as much: “Piltdown Mann”), it stays up indefinitely, or at least until someone here or on some other blog (but, curiously, rarely at CA) points it out and makes McIntyre look remiss (or worse) if he does not take down the offending comment.

    It looks like a fairly effective system to me, since even if McIntyre is eventually forced to take such comments down, it usually takes some time and meanwhile the comments (libels) serve their purpose. So, why fix it if it ain’t broke?

  6. rcrejects Says:

    Some back and forth at WUWT on moderation.

    WUWT: “Roger Pielke Sr on RC claims: ‘Bubkes’” thread.

    Tommy (05:53:26) :

    I read that article on RC, and commented on those things….mostly I asked questions as to why they came to those conclusions when there was a lot of data, as far as I could tell, that indicated the opposite. Mostly I got lectured, referred to manuals on “how to talk to a skeptic”, etc., but no answers–until today!

    Most of the RC readers absolutely rely on that blog for their information. They’re a pretty smart bunch for the most part, you’ve got to back up what you say, and I’m no scientist, so if I get in too deep, I’m pretty easy to pick off, or at least overwhelm. And they moderate the dissenting opinions (me) so that those responding to you look like they’ve proven something, then they’ll insert your comment making it look irrelevant, or long since explained–I definitely felt like they were trying to slow me down.

    WUWT, same thread

    J. Bob (07:19:13) :

    There MUST be some mistake. The only REAL climate scientists (whatever that means) are at RC. All others are not qualified to speak (RC knows what’s best ). After all, RC treats all views with respect (as long as you have the right view).

    WUWT, same thread

    John H (08:09:56) :

    Gavin Schmidt’s approach to comments has been so egregious that he has actually edited my comments in addition to blocking some. He’s manipulated entire discussions in doing so. After team responses posted questions and criticism of my comments Gavin disallowed my replies. Then the team declared that I had lost the points and left in fear of being further “embarrassed”.

    I am very experienced in blogging and Gavin is the absolute worst offender of hosts manipulating discussions and content.

    Add to this reality that Gavin et al view their approach as justified their integrity is is as lacking as their science.

    In total Gavin is indeed committing fraud while on the government payroll.

    This should not be allowed in any government arena. There is something very wrong that Gavin can so easily perpetrate his assault on the truth and use his position to defraud public officials and the taxpaying public at large.

    How does our government get so distorted that it insulates from consequences a Gavin et al behavior?

    REPLY: Save screencaps of these things, before and after. – Anthony

    WUWT, same thread

    Phil. (10:15:30) :

    Re: smallz79 (10:01:19): “In total Gavin is indeed committing fraud while on the government payroll.”

    Doesn’t your sensitivity to anonymous accusations extend to accusations of fraud? If not why not?

    [REPLY: It does, and the comment is deleted, thanks for pointing it out. I missed it. Feel free to point out any that I may have missed. I’ll continue to point out that accusations of legal wrongdoing, fraud, plagiarism, etc really have n place coming from anonymous cowards.

    If you want to make such accusations here – put your name on it. Otherwise it will be deleted. Phil. gets held to a higher standard than most because as an academic you should know better than average Joe. Feel free to be upset about that. – Anthony]

    WUWT, same thread

    Phil. (14:27:54) :

    “[REPLY: It does, and the comment is deleted, thanks for pointing it out. I missed it. Feel free to point out any that I may have missed.”

    I will, also it doesn’t do much good if you delete the original but leave the quote in my complaint.

    You missed it this time too.

    WUWT, Same thread

    jeez (15:25:07):


    Since a few on the moderation team, including Anthony himself have been subject to Gavin et al’s selective censorship and post editing, I think you’ll find there may be a bit of tolerance for those who also report it. In fact, calling RC’s moderation team petty, childish, and intellectually dishonest is being polite. You may not see it as having not been subject to it.

    Perhaps accusations of “fraud” may be out of line since they rise to legal levels.

    jeez aka charles the moderator.

    WUWT, same thread

    kurt (17:00:45) :

    Anthony snipped the fraud comment out of the wrong post. Phil was simply referencing an original comment by John H (08:09:56) and quoted by smallz79 (10:01:19). The latter post was edited but not the former.

    WUWT same thread 2 Jul

    J. Bob (10:06:08):

    John H. – I got the same treatment this week at RC. Seems my posts on using Fourier convolution to long term data was a bit much for them. That’s OK, I have more time to write our 2 Senators.

  7. rcrejects Says:

    WUWT “Bubkes II – RCs “rushhour”” thread. 2 July 09

    Paul revere (14:00:09) :

    For a heads up, Real Climate filters out critical blog posts. Here is what I attempted to post there during there criticism of Dr. Pielke ;

    “Real scientists test a hypothesis and doesn’t just disregard it (by saying not enough time or authored
    by 12 leading scientists and “based on the 16 plenary talks given at the Congress as well as input of over 80 chairs and co-chairs of the 58 parallel sessions held at the Congress).

    A propagandist disregards the argument. Just because all other studies support the science
    doesn’t make it true. A true scientist tests all counter arguments with a scientific method to either affirm
    the model or disprove it with an open mind to the data.

    A propagandist is married to his preconceived conclusions and will disregard data that doesn’t fit in his paradigm.

    It seems to me that all the data you are using has too short of time in the studies to come to a firm conclusion. We have only good ice data from 1979; this is only a drop in the bucket of time needed to make any kind of proper assessment of the ice. The same goes for our temperature measurements and solar studies. To say that the earth is warming due to our actions based on this limited data is
    arrogant to say the least!

    I suggest that if you want to be regarded as a true scientist and not a propagandist that you look at all the data, concede that we really don’t have all the answers and are all in school learning how it all
    works. To say the debate is over is just plain stupidity. “

  8. rcrejects Says:

    At The Air Vent, Terry reports his experience of posting at the ironically titled Open Mind blog run by a fellow named Tamino. http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/hubris/#more-4399

    Terry said: July 3, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Anyone want to put odds on this not being zapped at “Open Mind”?

    “Terry // July 4, 2009 at 12:53 am | Reply

    dhogaza, I think Dr. Rahmstorf needs your help. I think he probably needs Gavin, Mike, Eric, and Jim too. I’d have included you too Tamino, but given that the math is so obivious, and so contrary to Rahmstorf’s comments about it, you probably want nothing to do with this one.
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    Terry then reports:

    Terry said: July 3, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Betting closed already, sorry – deleted.

    But he has another go.

    Terry said: July 3, 2009 at 9:21 pm
    Jeff – let me know if I’m polluting your blog – just documenting my attempts to reason… I won’t solicit odds on this one being deleted.

    “Terry // July 4, 2009 at 1:18 am | Reply

    Tamino I see I got snipped – sorry if I was off topic or too forward. In an open thread on open mind. You and I are both math guys. You more than me, I’m sure. In your opinion, does Grinsted’s method use padding? Rahmstorf said it doesn’t. Is it just a steeper version of a triangle filter? Again, according to him, it isn’t. Looking forward to hearing your response. Or… delete away. Have a great weekend either way!
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    And finally reports:

    Terry said: July 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    And, deleted. I don’t think I’ll post there anymore.

  9. rcrejects Says:

    A comment about our, sigh, Hero – Gavin Schmidt!

    WUWT “More on Real Climate Misinformation from Pielke Sr” thread.

    Just The Facts (07:49:27) : 7Jul

    A blog post in The Guardian stroking Gavin:

    Particularly amusing within:

    “And here’s Schimdt on the “noise” created by the climate change debate, a subject he’s touched on before on the Guardian:

    “In unmoderated forums about climate change, it just devolves immediately into, “you’re a Nazi, no you’re a fascist,” blah, blah, blah. Any semblance of an idea that you could actually talk about what aerosols do to the hydrological cycle without it devolving into name calling seems to be fantasy. It is very tiresome.””

    Funny, if it wasn’t for the word “unmoderated” one would think he was talking about his own website. It would be interesting to see a comparison of the number of ad hominems that occur on Real Climate versus the number of ad hominems that occur on Watts Up With That during any given day, week or month.

    Based on my rare visits to Real Climate it seems to me that Gavin condones and sometimes participates in name calling and personal attacks, which, based on the Gavin’s statement above, makes him a hypocrite.

    And no Gavin, this is not a personal attack, it is just a statement of fact.

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