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Abraham reply to Monckton

Posted on 6 June 2010 by John Abraham

Guest post by John Abraham

Dear Mr. Monckton,

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my presentation. I encourage people to view both of our arguments and make their own conclusions. I stand by my work and welcome judgment by the public and the scientific community. My intention as a professional scientist is to help provide a public disclosure of your scientific methods. I continue to believe that your work seriously misrepresents the science upon which you rely.

I would like to briefly address some matters which you raised. First, I will address your comments about my credentials. To begin, let me identify some of the subjects which are critical to understanding our world’s climate. Climate processes involve radiation, convection, and conduction heat transfer. In addition, fluid mechanics governs the flow of the atmosphere and the oceans. Chemistry is critical to understanding chemical reactions which take place in both the oceans and the atmosphere. Quantum mechanics deals with the interaction of airborne molecules and photons (radiation). Geology and its related subjects are important for many reasons, including the study of past climate (paleoclimatology). Skills in numerical simulation are essential for the creation and operation of models which allow scientists to predict climate change. There are other subspecialties which are also important; this is only a partial list.

I am a tenured professor at the University of St. Thomas, a private, Catholic university in Minnesota. I have taught courses in heat transfer, fluid mechanics, numerical simulation, and thermodynamics. Topics in my courses include radiation, convection, and conduction, the same physical processes which govern energy flows in the climate. My PhD thesis dealt with combined convection and radiation heat transfer. My thesis is held in the library at the University of Minnesota, it is available to the public.

My published works span many topics including convective heat transfer, radiative heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and numerical simulation. My work on numerical simulation is at the very forefront of computational fluid dynamic (cfd) modeling. I am an expert in non-linear fluid simulations. My background does not span the entire range of topics related to climate change (no one is able to claim this), it does cover many of the essential subtopics.

In addition to academic research, I am an active consultant in industry. I have designed wind turbines, built and tested geothermal cooling systems, studied the potential of biofuels to replace petroleum, and designed and created solar-radiation shields for buildings in desert climates. Taken together, I believe that I have the background required to discuss the issues of energy and the environment.

Next, your written reply to my work focused on a small number of my original points; I will discuss just a few of them here. Throughout this discussion, it must be recognized that you have not addressed the many serious scientific lapses which were present in your presentation.

  1. You correctly pointed out that in your presentation, you stated that you were “boring” whereas I stated you were “bored”. I apologize for misquoting you. In this regard, the point you were trying to make is that there is no consensus on global warming. You cited three search words and a range of years (2004-2007). Since the purpose of my presentation was to show that audience members have the capacity to investigate claims for themselves, I used a publically available academic search engine (GOOGLE SCHOLAR). I showed that there are many papers that can be found dealing with the dangers of climate change, using your search parameters. I invite readers to reproduce my search results and read the abstracts of those papers and come to their own conclusion. Your assertion that these papers existed, but that they did not provide “evidence for catastrophe” was, in my mind, unconvincing.
  2. You suggested that your temperature graphs referencing your own organization were properly cited. I disagree. It is the obligation of a scientist to show the original source of data, your work did not meet this standard. Citing your own organization is, in my view, improper, particularly since your organization was not involved in obtaining the data.
  3. I showed a number of slides which had no attribution. I note that among the totality of unattributed slides, you agree with me on all but one. You correctly point out that one had the letters “UAH” listed. I can assure you that I understand UAH refers to University of Alabama Huntsville. I continue to believe that a proper citation would include a journal in which this data was published with a volume number and pages.

I would like to disclose some new information that I have unearthed. On your 13th slide (another slide with no attribution), you present a graph showing that the Beaufort Sea Ice is growing. Your slide gives the impression that since ice in the Beaufort Sea is growing, there is no concern about global warming. Despite the lack of a citation, I have been able to learn about its origin. The following citation should be useful in this regard for your records.

H. Melling, D. Riedel, and Ze’ev Gedalof, Trends in Thickness and Extent of Seasonal Pack Ice, Canadian Beaufort Sea, Geophysical Research Letters, 24, 1-5, 2005.

I have written to the lead author and he replied….

“You are correct in your assessment that statements in the paper were nuanced…. The change in atmospheric circulation is attributable to… no one really knows but human influence on the atmosphere emissions either of chloro-fluorocarbons or carbon dioxide is the primary candidate. However, with so much multi-year ice gone, it is easy to understand why we have much more open water in September.”

Finally, I would like to point out the reason for the delay between your October, 2009 presentation until my reply, it was caused by my desire to present a thoughtful, thorough reply. You have dealt with a small number of very peripheral issues. There remain very severe errors with your presentation that are yet unanswered. If you have corrected the many errors which I have disclosed, please accept my apologies.

Regards,

Dr. John Abraham
Associate Professor
University of St. Thomas
School of Engineering

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 94:

  1. Well written John. Many thanks for taking the time and effort to sort it out. I am very glad as it enabled me to get my head around a number of the really glaring anomalies which most sceptics kept putting forward and I was always sure they were wrong. Now I have the right sources to quote from.
    Once again Many Thanks.
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  2. Oh, my...

    The funniest part of Monckton's reply was the paragraph condemning Dr Abraham for ad hominem attacks, followed shortly by a description of Monbiot (writing for a "Marxist" newspaper, no less!) as
    "a fourteenth-rate zoologist, so his specialization has even less to do with climate science than that of Abraham"

    The point he made that really shocked me, though, was this one:
    "Monbiot made the mistake of pretending that he understood the fundamental equation of radiative transfer, of which he had plainly not previously heard.

    Here it was I who had the advantage: before writing the article in the Telegraph I had spent three months tracking the equation down"

    Three seconds with Google took me to a Wikipedia page with the relevant equations writ large. Or is there another set of radiative heat transfer equations they didn't teach me about in my thermodynamics classes at uni?
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  3. Dr. Abraham,

    Thank you for your time and effort to expose Monckton. Alas, those that do not have interest in the truth are likely not to care. It is sad that those of us that are out there trying to "right the wrongs" are probably only convincing a very tiny fraction of the population - both sides are pretty well-entrenched.

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    "Global Warming Fact of the Day" Facebook Group
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  4. Would you kindly clarify if you are a professor, as you state in your presentation, or are an associate professor as you state above?
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  5. Thank you John Abraham. Your excellent work seems to have struck a nerve, judging by Monckton's emotively loaded and factually empty response. This discourse seems to be getting some attention - hopefully it will open a few minds to reality!
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  6. In case people are interested, here is the original presentation by Monckton at YouTube:

    Lord Christopher Monckton Speaking in St. Paul
    2009 Oct 14
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stij8sUybx0
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  7. Aloha Dr. John.

    Possibly this sentence is not fully developed: "I showed a number of slides which had no attribution."

    I believe you mean "I referenced a number of YOUR slides which had no attribution".

    I tend to read very literally and, from that lead-in, the paragraph was initially confusing to me. I may still be mis-reading it if my assumption is erroneous.

    a hui hou
    T
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  8. Passing Wind at 01:17 AM on 7 June, 2010

    Either designation will do Passing Wind. An associate professor (in the US) is a tenured position arising from promotion from an assistant professorship following assessment by several criteria of excellence (publication record; grant income; teaching and administrative contributions to the department and wider community).

    Tenured academic scientists in teaching/research universities are designated "professor" rather generically. However it's normal in a formalised letterhead to specify one's status more specifically.
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  9. Aloha Dr. John.

    in your last paragraph "....presentation until my reply,"

    The period is incorrectly typed with a comma making the word 'it' grammatically incorrect.

    I am not picking nits. Neither do I want Chris Monckton to be able to do so. Since he has no valid science, the only tactic available to him is ad-hominem.

    a hui hou
    T
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  10. Mr. Abraham, and the president of his university, will shortly be receiving a long letter from me asking him a number of questions about his presentation, which appears to have fallen well below the standards of academic probity and honesty that would normally be thought acceptable in civilized society.

    Mr. Abraham here admits that he spent several months working on his presentation attacking me personally in the most venomous terms, and also complains that several of the slides that I showed to a lay audience did not have the full academic references on them.

    Why, then, did he not bother at any stage during his months of preparation to contact me simply to ask for the references? This is the first of many indications of bad faith on Mr. Abraham's part that I shall be drawing to the attention of the authorities at the Bible College where he lectures. The usual practice in academe is that anyone wishing to rebut another's work notifies that other of his intention and of the rebuttal, before it is published, to give that other the opportunity to prevent needless errors. That usual practice was not followed in the present instance.

    A video by me refuting all of Mr. Abraham's numerous false claims and outright mendacities will be available shortly. - Monckton of Brenchley
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  11. Chris Monckton: in your reply, you attack John Abraham's character and credentials, and completely side-step the question of whether you have serially misrepresented the work of various scientists. Let's have a serious answer.
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  12. Apparently Monckton thinks that in the Universities good behaviour is required. I agree and I'd add that it is always required, including in journalism. So i think that Monckton should have contacted the authors of the many graphs he shows before using them to sell the opposite message. He should also avoid ad hominen attacks and the use of wording such as goebbelian propaganda, hitler youth and the like.
    Abraham has been formally (and scientifically) correct. Not Monckton, neither formally nor scientifically.
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  13. The best thing about John Abraham's original post is that it so incensed Lord M that Monckton could not help but reveal his true colours. Any casual observer can see that Prof. Abrahams has remained focussed and civil at every stage of his carefully-researched criticism of Monckton's obfuscated science. In response C.Monckton appears so full of vitriol that he hardly mentions the science, so intent is he on his ad-hominem attack -- an attack in which, astonishingly and quite wrongly, he accuses Prof. Abrahams of the using the very same tactics he's using. It's jaw-dropping in its audacity.

    Truly, there's none so blind as those that will not see.
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  14. I hope that Mr Monckton understands that if he uses the kind of language sampled by Riccardo in #13, or what he used to describe G. Monbiot, his posts here will likely be deleted. Everyone on this forum has to respect certain rules; efforts were made to enforce them recently, which has improveds the quality of the discussions, and this one should be no exception. I examined Dr. Abraham's posts again, I fail to see where there is a personal attack or ad hominem argument. Dr Abraham concentrates on Mr Monckton's actions and arguments, which is proper.
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  15. In regard to Monckton’s long standing use of manipulated graphs may I direct your attention to a very interesting article in the Salt Lake Tribune dated 4-9-10 by Judy Fahys:

    “Debate on climate heats up online - BYU » Skeptic is no member of the House of Lords, prof says.”

    The story reviews a recent spat between Monckton, one Barry Bickmore and the Brigham Young University. Barry Bickmore went on to investigate Monckton’s graphs producing a paper that is available as a PDF titled “Monckton Mystery Solved” Barry Bickmore April 6, 2010
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    From the conclusion:

    “Lord Monckton's famous graphs have been puzzling me--especially the strange graphs of atmospheric CO2 concentrations that he shows at his presentations. I already posted an article from Science that said (at the time of publication) the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere was a little above IPCC projections. However, Monckton's graphs showed CO2 concentrations below the IPCC projections. He claimed he was basing his data for the IPCC projections on the A2 emissions scenario. Well, at Lord Monckton's suggestion I found the published source of his graphs, Monckton's "CO2 Report" that he publishes for the SPPI. Here is a link to the article and the graphs in question clipped from it.

    “To summarize, Lord Monckton's treatment of CO2 projections is very strange. He simply makes up equations to describe the A2 emissions scenario, whose only real connection with reality is that they run through the proper endpoints in the year 2100. The exponential equations he makes up ALWAYS overpredict the actual A2 model input, except at the year 2100. Real CO2 concentrations reproduce the A2 model input very closely for the period 2002-2009, and the A2 model input is indistinguishable from a linear trend during this period.

    “But that's not all. Lord Monckton says that he fed his Fantasy CO2 projections into the IPCC's exponential equations for equilibrium temperature response to CO2 forcing to produce his famous temperature graphs, like the following. If that's true, then the temperature graph is worse than I thought! Not only is equilibrium temperature response improperly compared to the real, transient response, but the calculated equilibrium temperature responses are based on Monckton's Fantasy CO2 projections, which are ALWAYS too high in 2002-2009! “
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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  16. Monckton at 02:39 AM on 7 June, 2010

    Mr. Monckton, it's obvious that the problem with your presentation is not the absence of academic references, although it is a common courtesy to properly source the data that one presents, for example on a Powerpoint slide. The problems relate to a generalised misrepresentation of the state of scientific knowledge on important issues of climate science. For example there is very limited grounds indeed, in current scientific understanding for asserting that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer (hemispherically or globally) than current temperatures. Rather the scientific evidence supports the opposite conclusion.

    To give a more specific example from your presentation, you show data from SP Huang et al (1997) as part of your discussion of past temperatures in which you assert that the MWP was warmer than now. However Huang has made it very clear in his subsequent work that his 1997 paper (not "Huang 1998" btw as in your presentation) has nothing to say about the relative temperatures during the MWP and now, since essentially all post-19th century data from the borehole datasets were omitted due to concern over non-climatic contaminations. This is very well documented, and an audience of whatever form shouldn't be presented with data that is a misrepresentation of the subject (in this specific case borehole analysis of paleotemperatures relative to contemporary temperatures).

    We all recognise that your presentations are not academic or scientific presentations. However one should still make an effort at a basic investigational rigour when addressing issues of science. Otherwise it's perfectly appropriate for very obvious and fundamental flaws to be highlighted by others.
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  17. Has anyone counted the number of ad-hominem attacks Monckton has made about Monbiot and John in that article?


    He uses the word 'Venomously', sounds very appropriate for what he has written.
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  18. @John Russell,

    It is manifestly false that Monckton has "succeeded in reducing those who have commented down to his level".

    The fact is that Monckton's response, if written directly here as a blogpost, whould have been taken down by the Moderator as being excessively vicious and ad-hominem.

    The comments above are mild in comparison. They either state facts, or express rational opinions. Monckton could not hope to be popular for most commenters here, but a thoughtful, graceful response by him would have received more responses in kind.
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  19. Dr Abraham, I appreciated your presentation, but I believe contacting Monckton beforehand would only have been fair. We live and learn, eh?

    I'd request that every time you write something back that you really do stop, take a breather, and remember to stick to the science. This 'trading' of credentials is just the sort of mud slinging Monckton and his ilk want you to engage in.

    Monckton has massively misrepresented the projections of the IPCC (I particularly liked his modified 'IPCC projections'), repeatedly makes silly mistakes (like how 'cooling since 2002' is valid), and misrepresented the results of a series of academic papers such as from Johannesen. Please get him to see that (heh, fat chance) or when he doesn't, just keep making it clear to everyone what he's doing.

    He's a very skilled ideologue, please don't get dragged down to his level of mud slinging.
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  20. Disregarding some insubstantial quibbles Monckton's objections seem to be centered entirely on the manner and style of Abraham's work, not the content.

    Even his complaints about form seem rather empty, as well as inconsistent. Monckton chides Abraham for not following proper academic form in preparing his response, yet clearly Monckton's lecture circuit is not an academic enterprise, rather it's more of a traveling road show or the like. Thus it seems entirely appropriate for Abraham not to treat this a as an academic dispute and to use a popular venue for his deconstruction of Monckton's lecture. As well, it seems pretty clear Monckton feels free to attack a broad swathe of researchers without bothering to contact them prior to adding to his show material criticizing these people.

    Monckton ought to stick to substance not style if he cares to rebut Abraham.
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  21. Mark R,

    I honestly believe it would have been a waste of time for Dr. to engage Mr. Monckton before releasing his presentation. They stand on opposite sides of a wide canyon. It would have just allowed Monckton to go on the offensive/attack before Dr. Abraham's talk had been released.

    Also, the Mr. Monckton's errors/misrepresentations/distortions etc. are not ambiguous.

    That all said, when are we going to get back to some science ? ;) I think that we have entertained Mr. Monckton's nonsense for long enough (although I do understand that it was necessary for Dr. Abraham to counter Mr. Monckton's, err, "rebuttal").
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  22. Frankly, if Abraham's presentation is an ad hom attack, then every critical review I've ever gotten through peer-review is also ad hom -- maybe even some of the positive ones! Certainly, if I submitted a paper with this many obvious flaws, the tone of the reviewers would have been far worse than Abraham's. I guess that its thoroughness equates in Monckton’s mind to obsessive meanness, but that’s what substantial criticism looks like. We all have to learn to lick our wounds when we are shown to make mistakes in review . Why not Monckton? A proper response would have been to acknowledge the problems and thank the reviewer for pointing them out.

    I agree with Doug Bostrom. I see no reason why Monckton should have been allowed to see the criticisms before Abraham published his critique. That holds in the peer-review literature, but Monckton himself has never thought it necessary to make use of peer-review or adhere to its principles (see previous point). He choose instead to go straight to the public with what appear to be distortions of the literature and authors he cites that would never have survived peer-review. Why does he require those rules to apply now?

    Also, when a paper is bad enough, there is no opportunity for a response to reviewers – it is rejected outright without option of response. If I were an editor seeing Abraham's review, Monkton's submission would probably be one of those cases.
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  23. I was helping my 13 year old son write papers for school. Admittedly he was struggling to get it right. The teachers were teaching the proper method for footnoting. I believe Mr. Monckton has not done a proper job of what is taught in grammar school.

    I'm interested in seeing Mr Monckton prove himself. Hopefully his own education standards can exceed my son's level. Leaving a proper trail for people on both sides of the issue to check the work.

    Will his future presentations come up to this standard or will he try to keep the undeucated people in the dark? Otherwise it appears he is insulting his own audience by playing on their lack of knowledge.
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  24. Monkton @10: "The usual practice in academe is that anyone wishing to rebut another's work notifies that other of his intention and of the rebuttal, before it is published, to give that other the opportunity to prevent needless errors."

    Correct me if I'm mistaken, but it seems to me that you don't actually seek to engauge with 'academe', do you? If you did, surely some of your ground breaking interpretations of other peoples research would have been published in a respected scientific journal by now.

    I was under the impression that your performances (presentations) are more intended to influence the 'court of public opinion' to accept some of your maverick ideas than a genuine desire to uphold standards in academic practice.
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  25. @#20

    "Dr Abraham, I appreciated your presentation, but I believe contacting Monckton beforehand would only have been fair. We live and learn, eh?"

    Absolutely not, Sir. If I publish drivel, fabricate data and peer-review my own data through my company which has no more expertise in the subject matter than I; if I have been called out as a charlatan; if my data have been referred to inside and outside the scientific community as "downright misrepresentation" "pseudo-scientific gibberish" and "preposterous" and proven to be manufactured by me to fit my conclusion rather than basing my conclusion on the data; and if I did not choose to request peer review of my subject matter before I published, what leap of logic suggests to you that I deserve any more consideration than I gave?

    If I wish to present a thesis to the scientific community, I must develop it logically and present my paper and the evidence for it for peer review BEFORE I present it. The alternative is that I may run amok with a completely nonsensical idea....and get caught.

    Publishing without review leaves no fallback position but to attack the people who document the obvious fallacies of the work...especially if they show the data I used are were falsified.

    Monckton has been described here as "a skilled ideologue". Not in my opinion, but as I once heard someone say "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

    My comments regarding this subject regard the ethical application of the scientific method. We can go back to science; that is specific numbers and charts and graphs...but if the science is not applied in an unbiased and ethical manner, we get exactly what we see here with Monckton.

    I submit that this discussion is as important to the scientific method as specific data are to the experimenter.
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  26. I'd say if there's science to explored here, it has to do with what happens when a fellow such as Monckton catches the public ear, changes the course of public policy and thus promotes climate change by the very act of causing us to ignore or minimize the problem.

    This can be quantified to a certain extent today and our skill at so doing is steadily improving. See the recent "Climate Change Commitment" posts at Real Climate to understand what I'm talking about. Every ton of carbon needlessly emitted because of delays in public policy response to C02 emissions is going to have an undeniable knock-on effect down the road.

    So to those worrying about "ad hominem" attacks on Monckton, by all means let's not resort to invective or hollow insults. At the same time, let's not misunderstand, folks such as Monckton are a cultural phenomenon contributing to climate change to the extent their rhetoric is effective. If rhetoric of this kind is found to lack foundation, then that is a characteristic of this phenomenon and must be acknowledged and such acknowledgment necessarily requires descriptive language. The English language provides us with suitably precise tools for that kind of description.

    Choose your words carefully but don't be fooled into thinking that we cannot or should not talk about the phenomenon of misguidance itself when it has measurable effects on physical phenomena.
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  27. Abraham's rebuttal is excellent. Even so, I think he weakens the potential force he could have by the traditional cautionary phrase "in my view", when it it really not just his view, but the plain facts of the case.

    After all, the plain facts of the case are that Monckton does not use scientific facts except in a polemical way.

    Also, there are small errors of inflectional agreement, such as "very periphery issues" where he clearly meant "very peripheral issues".

    Not to mention this too is a point that needs to be driven home: when faced with REAL science, Monckton retreats into cheap debating tricks, here, the infamous red herring.
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  28. Monckton:
    The usual practice in academe is that anyone wishing to rebut another's work notifies that other of his intention and of the rebuttal,..

    Did Christopher Monckton ever approach Al Gore for his side to the subject before attempting to debunk the latter's work? They are both, to my knowledge, as formally qualified as each other to make statements on climate science...., with the exceptions that Al Gore took a climate course run by Roger Revelle at Harvard in 1967, and he shares a Nobel Prize specifically related to climate change.
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  29. Monckton,

    "Mr. Abraham here admits that he spent several months working on his presentation attacking me personally in the most venomous terms,..."

    I wonder if you can give an example of a 'venomous term' in Abraham's presentation. I watched the whole thing, and can't recall anything even mildly venomous.

    You also ask why Abraham didn't contact you with questions. I wonder how you answer a similar one: why did you not contact the many scientists you cite, to check whether your understanding of their work was correct, before you went ahead and gave lectures on it?
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  30. Opps. Soory, that post got away from me. Let me start again.

    chris at 03:36 AM on 7 June, 2010

    Will you kindly provide a title and reference to the Huang paper as your links eventually point to password protected site.
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  31. I wonder if Monckton's reference to Prof. Abraham's university as a Bible College is an intentional slight? Would he use the same term to refer to Gonzaga, Notre Dame or Boston College? Somehow I doubt it.

    I see that kind of response as an indication of his awareness of the weakness of his own argument.
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  32. I'm not a scientist but there's no question that the relentless and insidious climate change denial machine has had a significant impact on public opinion about climate change over the past couple years. Public opinion, of course, plays a crucial role in whether governments, industry, organizations and individuals take action or enact legislation to mitigate rising CO2 levels.

    I know scientists have a lot of important work to do but I think John Abraham's exercise has shown that some effort to combat the deniers can produce spectacular results. I therefore encourage other scientists to write journalists, the media or government representatives when they see blatant misinformation regarding climate science. Given the gravity of the consequences of inaction, we can't afford to let them continue to deliberately confuse the public in an effort to postpone changing our ways. Yes, it's a PR game, and scientists shouldn't have to worry about PR, but we can't afford to lose this battle. The welfare of future generations is at stake.
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  33. Lord Monckton (#10) said:

    "Mr. Abraham, and the president of his university, will shortly be receiving a long letter from me asking him a number of questions about his presentation . . ."

    "This is the first of many indications of bad faith on Mr. Abraham's part that I shall be drawing to the attention of the authorities at the Bible College where he lectures."

    I think it is obvious that, from the first sentence in his response, Lord Monckton simply wanted to intimidate Dr. Abraham by stirring trouble for him at his university. He had no intention of communicating anything else to the Dr..
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  34. A. Phillips at 09:36 AM on 7 June, 2010

    In just the segment of his takedown on the existence of the MWP, Abraham claims he is going to check Monckton's claims by reading the actual papers cited or asking the authors. Of the 9 graphs Monckton shows on his slide, Abraham tackles less than half of them, 4.

    Instead of reading and commenting on the contents of the papers, he emails the authors to ask if Monckton correctly interpreted their papers. Monckton did not interpret their papers, he merely showed graphs those papers contained. Did the papers include those graphs as Monckton claims or not. Yes they did.

    Did even one of the authors contacted say Monckton misrepresented their graphs. No. Not one. Huang did say that his 1997 paper should not have claimed the MWP to be warmer than today, but that's what it did indeed say. Therefore, Monckton did not misrepresent Huang unless Abraham has evidence that Monckton knew Huang had recanted. Furthermore, Huang's current work does not claim there was no MWP, only that it was slightly cooler than today.

    Abraham seems trying to create a new scholarly method of inquiry. One that ignores what has been published for one that asks the author (or an author's friend) if someone has correctly interpreted their work, or if they have since changed their mind.

    For more details see this post in the other Monckton thread
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  35. (With apologies to Shakespeare):

    "The lord doth protest too much, methinks". (after Hamlet, Act III, Sc. 2)
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  36. @Passing Wind

    "Monckton did not interpret their papers, he merely showed graphs those papers contained"

    Aw, come on. So Monckton just flashes up these graphs and says: "I am not interpreting these, make of them what you like". Like Monckton is a sort of neutral guy, just setting the scene for informed opinion. He may "spin" it that way, but you should watch a Monckton presentation. They are very, very good sales pitches and every slide + commentary is carefully calculated for maximum visual/ aural effect on the reader/ listener. That is partly a compliment.

    The point is that if Abraham could check with these authors if their work was interpreted properly, then why didn't Monckton? Monckton is concerned with getting the maximum impact out of a chart, not with "science" or "truth".
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  37. Passing Wind at 12:32 PM on 7 June, 2010

    First of all, let's be clear what we're talking about. In the section you're referring to Abraham is responding to Monckton's comments from around 36:30 minutes into the video of his presentation

    Monckton has just shown one of the Mann et al proxyreconstructions, asserted, without evidence, that they "actually lied in print", and then turns to the data that you are talking about. He says (I'm transcribing from the presentation, and possibly haven't got this verbatim - please check if you consider it important):

    "......and now here is the truth about the Medieval Warm Period. Here are just a few papers, 8 or 9 of them, out of the papers contributed during the last 20 years by more than 700 scientists, from more than 400 institutions, in more than 40 countries establishing that the Medieval Warm Period was real, was global, and was warmer than the present. That is the scientific consensus if you do science by consensus which the UN says it does. But on the question of the Medieval Warm Period the IPCC refuses to accept the scientific consensus. Instead it uses made up graphs..


    I think we can all agree that's simply false. Monckton is grossly misrepresenting the scientific consensus, and the IPCC (and in the meantime making a series of disgraceful and false accusations).

    What about the data sets that Monckton shows? Note that these are merely "eye-candy". Monckton says nothing about them whatsoever other than to use them as a backdrop to his assertion about "more than 700 scientists" and their contributions "establishing that the Medieval Warm Period was real, was global and was warmer than the present."

    That's it. Note that no one disgrees that there was a Medieval Warm Period (Monckton's assertions about this constitute a strawman argument), nor that it was likely global (although the proxy data representing this period is very predominantly Northern hemispheric specific, the evidence supports a warm Northern hemisphere with likely a cool Pacific). There is no peer-reviewed published evidence that supports the assertion that the Medieval Warm Period was "warmer than the present" (either hemispherically-speaking or globally).

    So Monckton is misrepresenting the science, the consensus, the scientists involved and the IPCC as well as accusing some of the scientists of lying and the IPCC of cheating, lying and making stuff up. It's worth highlighting this...
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  38. My Dear Viscount,

    I was delighted to see a venue in which I might contact you, as it were, directly. I am a pauper, unfortunately, so my opportunities to travel are limited, but perhaps some organization can help. You have been calling, I believe, for open debate on climate change issues? I am willing to debate you, if you or some organization you are associated with would be so kind as to arrange things. If sufficiently far from my home in Pittsburgh, PA, I would require only transportation.

    It is my position that
    *Global Warming is real
    *Global Warming is Anthropogenic
    *Global Warming is the most serious threat human civilization has ever faced outside of nuclear war.

    My credentials in the field are modest, but do include a bachelor's degree in physics (University of Pittsburgh 1983), past presidency of the Tripoli Science Association, and twelve years writing radiative-convective models of planetary atmospheres. Your degree is, I believe, in journalism? Or classics? So I hope my qualifications will be sufficient.

    I await your reply.

    -Barton Paul Levenson
    Writer, Programmer, Scientist, and Internet Pain in the Ass.
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  39. The part of Monkton's reply which stunned me was the bit about how climate change is complex and highly specialized science beyond the ken of 'a mere fluid dynamics professor at a Bible university'.

    I mean... how can he not see the irony? Seriously... Monkton is attacking Abraham's credentials? MONKTON! The mind boggles.
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  40. I wonder if Monckton would call his fellow so-called skeptics, Spencer and Christy, Bible-bashers, the way he highlights the 'Bible college' here ?
    In fact, it is particularly cynical and a good illustration of how hypocritical and insincere he is, because he is a noted Roman Catholic and has always been so. I don't mention that just to belittle him (i.e. he believes in a god/religion, etc. so he must be suspect); but to show how he can be a religious believer (who would, presumably, be outraged by attacks on him using that religious belief) but also someone who will use someone's supposed religious background to make snide comments against them.

    The man makes my skin crawl so I admire Barton Paul for his challenge - which will, no doubt, be ignored.
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  41. @ Monckton

    We are on the same side. I too am a skeptic here - extreme - complete skeptic, but ...

    I agree with Professor John Abraham, that some of the citation was inaccurate and biased interpretations.

    But ...
    Selection of citations made by Professor Abraham is a typical "cherry picking" - as if there were no important - major work (cleverly skipped by the professor) that, for example in many ways the sun can decide on the climate ...
    Well, the crypto-invectives and comments "ad hominem" ...

    Both the criticism of AGW (IPCC), and "criticism of this criticism" (discussed here) were not so fair and honest.
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  42. Arkadiusz Semczyszak at 22:33 PM on 7 June, 2010

    Nope Arkadiusz, you really need to be specific. Which "important - major work (cleverly skipped by the professor) that, for example in many ways the sun can decide on the climate" are you referring to specifically?

    If you are accusing someone of "cherrypicking" you need to illustrate that specifically. Otherwise it's simply an unsubstantiated accusation.

    I'm curious to know what you mean by "We are on the same side". In science there aren't really "sides", even if there are differences of opinion over specific interpretations of observations. Do you mean that you share Monckton's view that it's acceptable to misrepresent the science, attempt to bully scientists and accuse them without evidence of cheating and lying, in order to pursue a political agenda? Is that the "side" you're on?
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  43. #33 ClimateNow took the words right out of my mouth. Scientists have entered the PR ring very late so much damage has been done and our skills are not nearly as honed as the Moncktons and Moranos out there. However, we are now starting to hit back. Do not be satisfied with hitting back on blogs. You must contact the mass media outlets and those that might exert influence on people who lie and misrepresent.

    As an example, please see Whose lie is it anyway? Easterbrook caught red-handed and consider sending email to Dr. Easterbrook's geology Chair, the WWU President and WWU Provost. An example of what I have sent appears here along with contact information.

    President Shepard did respond to me but he is still not completely aware of Easterbrook's fraud and the damage it is causing to the name of WWU. I also have been contacted by geology faculty at WWU and NONE of them support Easterbrook. It is also clear that they encourage you all to send emails to the President and Provost because outside pressure will carry more weight.

    Let these examples be a message to the Moncktons and the Easterbrooks out there: you are bringing a knife to a gun fight.

    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    "Global Warming Fact of the Day" Facebook Group
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  44. @ 39 BPL
    Set up a kitty and I'll chip in on expenses and even travel, if they wouldn't stump up for any of those.
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  45. Monckton at 02:39 AM on 7 June, 2010

    Lord Monckton,

    Mr. Abraham here admits that he spent several months working on his presentation attacking me personally in the most venomous terms


    Having seen the entire video, I cannot remember even one occasion where Abraham used any terms against you that were 'venomous'. Nor can I recall any phrases that fit this description. As I recall, criticism was direct, but couched in mild and usually suppositional language. For the record, would you kindly quote/give directions to the terms you found so egregious?

    The usual practice in academe is that anyone wishing to rebut another's work notifies that other of his intention and of the rebuttal, before it is published, to give that other the opportunity to prevent needless errors.


    This is the case with formal papers destined for peer-review. Abraham's video, obviously, is not one of these.

    However, if you feel that this standard does apply, and that it applies equally, I am curious to know the steps you have taken to contact those scientists whose work you have rebutted, and what their replies were.

    Thanks in advance.
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  46. BTW, are we sure that the 'Monckton' commenter above really is Christopher Monckton?

    When I read it I thought it seemed a bit 'over the top'... even for him.
    0 0
  47. #47

    Whilst that is always possible the comment is from an impostor and not Monckton, I have to disagree with you that the comment is "too over the top" to be Monckton. Monckton is quite prepared to use intimidation to silence his critics. Tom Chivers of the UK Telegraph did a blog posting reporting Abraham’s criticisms of Monckton. The posting was subsequently and mysteriously taken down, but not before Chivers posted this update:

    "Update: Lord Monckton has phoned up and, in a rather charming fashion, expressed disappointment at the contents of this post. He was very polite about it and made me feel a bit small about the "popinjay" and "jester" comments, and he pointed out that that I hadn’t phoned him for comment. He says he is going to get in touch with me after he has prepared a response to Prof Abraham, and I have said that I am happy to revisit this topic when he does so. I have, however, refused at least for now to take the blog down, until I have spoken to my editor."

    I can only assume the editor had the post removed, although a copy can be found here:

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2010/06/telegraph-steps-outside-its-alternate.html

    A blog posting by James Delingpole that repeats a lot of Mockton’s name-calling and ad hominem attacks on Prof Abraham has been allowed to remain online at the Telegraph.
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  48. Clearly, a lot of people don't care for Mr Monckton. That's very understandable. But please, let's keep our attention focused on the validity (or lack thereof) of his scientific claims and those of Dr Abraham.

    If you have an important point to make, please try to make it without adding a lot of emotionally loaded language. If the language itself IS the point, and you just want to express your opinion of Mr Monckton's character or honesty, there are lots of other sites around the blogosphere where that kind of discussion is appropriate.

    This isn't specifically addressed to anyone in particular, more a reflection on the comments in the various Monckton related threads.
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  49. CB, I'd say if Monckton's reply here is dubious it's because it's so relatively restrained. For one thing, there are not enough adjectives.

    Language from Monckton's reply to Abraham:

    propaganda artifices

    hilariously mendacious

    he looks like an overcooked prawn

    artful puerilities

    fourteenth-rate zoologist

    man on the Clapham omnibus

    climate-extremist Comrades

    cobble together his ramblings

    deliberately dishonest personal attack

    an ingenious fiction

    hide the truth

    make this nonsense look plausible

    wriggled and waffled

    flagrant and deliberate misrepresentation

    mere Bible-College lecturer

    spectacular exaggerations

    mawkish sci-fi comedy horror movie

    artfully distorts or carefully omits

    shoddy little piece of lavishly-funded venom

    serious, serial, material errors, exaggerations, or downright lies

    gross professional misconduct

    academic dishonesty and deliberate lying
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  50. Monckton's reply was posted on the 4th June. If Monckton was not the perpetrator and someone is impersonating him, Monckton -- being as litigious as he is -- would have wasted no time in putting the record straight.

    I think we can be pretty sure it is him, though it would probably be quite a good idea for JC to make contact to confirm.
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