JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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More strange adventures in TSI data: the miracle of 900 fabricated, fraudulent days

Funny things happen on the Internet sometimes. Rather spectacular claims were made that 900 days of data “were fabricated”. This claim was described as not just speculation, but “a demonstrable fact”, and worse, the crime was apparently even “admitted to” by the man himself! Except that none of it was real, and three tiny misunderstood dots were not fabricated, not data, and not important. Welcome to a Bermuda-Triangle-moment in blog-land, where facts vanish,  ships full of  misquotes appear from nowhere, and ghosts-of-malcontent and misunderstanding roam freely. This post here is to slay the last loose ghosts, lest anybody think they might still have life in them, or indeed, think they ever did.

Usually a live debate is a brilliant way for spectators to learn. But in that particular science thread, the main lesson is not science but manners. Common courtesy may seem a quaint anachronism, but without it, logic and reason die on the sword of uninformed passion. A simple polite email and an open mind could have saved the world from a cloud of nonsense.

Thanks to the many valiant souls who fought for common sense.

It’s rare in a complex [...]

Throwing the Hate Crime Grenade

Hate Crime legislation is the last resort of those with no real case. It’s the last resort in the “shut-up” campaign that Team-Carbonari have been running against the free world for two decades. The unverifiable, unknowable crime of intent. (Anyone have one of those Handy-Hate-Meters that reliably measures the dreaded Evil-Score to two decimal places? No? It’s a matter of time…)

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post called Evidence What Evidence? where I dismantled the words of a famous Australian science journalist for parroting bureaucrats and not investigating the evidence. What I wrote is not a recipe for building a better bomb with your Mazda, but Ben E took issue with my pointed discussion in the comments:

“Sad, but scarcely surprising. Sites like this one will eventually be shut down in future updates to hate crime legislation, as they are well on the way to inciting violence and hatred towards scientists and science communicators.”

Willis Eschenbach popped in with a devastating reply that deserved to be repeated.

“Well, let’s review the bidding regarding “violence and hatred” …

[...]

The loooooong road to regaining trust?

POSTNOTE (2011): In hindsight, this was probably a critical moment for Judith Curry, known henceforth as a Judith-Curry-moment). She has gone on to set up an excellent blog [Climate etc], where you can see many details of climate science debated openly with insight and honesty.

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Just in case anyone out there has missed it, there is one of those landmark posts on Watts Up this weekend. Judith Curry tried to explain how Climate Scientists need to rebuild trust, and made the mistake of using the “Denier” insult (even though she thinks of it as just a label, rather than a perjorative term). She is still trying to blame poor communication or poor strategies to explain why Climate Science is looking so shonky at the moment. Then Willis Eschenbach diplomatically fries that idea, and points out that the only way to regain trust is not to look like honest scientists but to be honest scientists: to disavow the bad practices and disown the people who have failed science so badly.

Judith Curry responds graciously

To her credit she is engaging skeptics, and she points out in the comments to Willis’ post that:

… by staking this [...]