Global Warming: Man or Myth?

Scientists can also wear their citizen hats

Roy Spencer Steps Outside Protocol to Attack Scientist

with 21 comments

The letter below was sent to 49 media contacts.  Kudos to John Abraham for contacting Science and asking them to set the record straight.

This is Scott Mandia of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team (  I wish to alert you all to Dr. Roy Spencer’s attack on another scientist, Dr. Andrew Dessler.

On Spencer’s blog he states:

Very Curious. … Dessler’s paper is being announced on probably THE best day for it to support the IPCC’s COP-16 meeting here in Cancun, and whatever agreement is announced tomorrow in the way of international climate policy.

I suspect – but have no proof of it – that Dessler was under pressure to get this paper published to blunt the negative impact our work has had on the IPCC’s efforts.

Eli Kintisch of Science in a recent article ( asked paper’s editor at Science, H. Jesse Smith, about Spencer’s assertion about the paper’s timing.

“There was never a word about Cancún,” he says. The paper was submitted in May and received “a lot of review and re-review” before completing revisions on 21 October. It was officially accepted on 9 November, Smith says. “Dessler never asked to get the paper expedited,” says Smith. But once peer review was complete, Smith says, the editors pushed to have it published in time for the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, California, which begins on Monday, 13 December. “I wanted to get it out before AGU.”

The professional response to rebut a scientific paper is to submit a paper that corrects any mistakes or at the very least to submit a letter to the publishing journal.  It is completely inappropriate for a scientist to attempt to publicly sabotage a paper by issuing a press release or by holding a press conference about another colleague’s paper.  By not respecting the protocols of his own profession Dr. Roy Spencer is, in essence, criticizing all scientists.  Furthermore, Spencer has appeared alongside a caricature of climate skeptics, Christopher Monckton.  His close association with Mr. Monckton and his unwarranted criticisms of colleagues are strong indications that Dr. Spencer has abdicated objectivity under the heels of ideology.  I feel strongly that Dr. Spencer’s tacit agreement with Mr. Monckton’s positions will be a serious blow to his remaining credibility.


Scott A. Mandia


Please also read Dr. Andrew Dessler’s recent post Feedback on Cloud Feedback at Realclimate.

Written by Scott Mandia

December 11, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

21 Responses

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  1. Spencer’s book publisher is Encounter Books – “an editor, publisher and distributor for books related to democratic society which have no traditional means of publication.”

    Anna Haynes

    December 11, 2010 at 1:51 pm

  2. [inflammatory]

    Mandia: V, take it somewhere else.


    December 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm

  3. V, obviously you have not read the e-mails or you are just being disingenuous. The so-called “trick” is well-known to be no trick at all, but rather the use of actual data from thermometers, instead of using a particular set of data from tree rings as a proxy — gee, how more real can you get than that?

    Hopefully you are not a well known grad from Texas A&M because it is you who bring shame on it.

    Tenney Naumer

    December 11, 2010 at 4:01 pm

  4. Yes actual data substituted at the exact time that the proxy data demonstrated a decline. How convenient. Perhaps you would like to address the entire quote?

    “Mike’s nature trick to “hide” the decline.” Not Mike’s methodology to provide a more accurate representation of temperature record, but to in fact “hide” the decline.

    Tenney, put that quote into any context that means something other than academic dishonesty. I’d love to see you try.

    V, this is a zombie argument. Please see Shooting the Messenger with Blanks.


    December 11, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    • “put that quote into any context that means something other than academic dishonesty. I’d love to see you try.”

      I’ll give it a go, and from the hacked emails, too…

      “I really wish I could be more positive about the Kyrgyzstan material, but I swear I pulled every trick out of my sleeve trying to milk something out of that. It was pretty funny though – I told Malcolm what you said about my possibly being too Graybill-like in evaluating the response functions – he laughed and said that’s what he thought at first also.”

      “- a macroeconomic framework insuring the consistency between prices and quantities at any point in time without necessarily resorting to the modelling tricks relying on the conventional neo-classical growth theory; these ‘tricks’ assume indeed perfect foresight, efficient markets and the absence of strategic or routine behaviours;”

      “I would note that the distribution of rejection rates is like the distribution of precipitation in that it is bounded by zero. A quick-and-dirty way to explore this possibility using a “trick” used with precipitation data is to apply a square root transformation to the rejection rates, average these, then reverse transform the average. The square root transformation should yield data that is more nearly Gaussian than the untransformed data.”

      So, V, did that make a dent, or will you still feign amnesia when it comes to the term, “trick of the trade”?

      J Bowers

      December 11, 2010 at 8:43 pm

  5. Dr. Mann’s usage of thermometer data when the tree data went haywire for some unknown reason was out in the open for years having been published in Nature, so everyone in the field was quite aware of it.


    Mandia: No name-calling please.

    Tenney Naumer

    December 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm

  6. To get a recap on Spencer and his batty conspiracy theories, get a recap from Ben Santer in a marvellous talk he gave at Stanford.

    What I’d love to know is, given his ties to the Cornwall Alliance and his religious vow to thwart efforts to stop global warming, whether Spencer views me as the Anti-Christ like the Cornwall Alliance now do.

    J Bowers

    December 11, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    • Why am I not surprised that Spencer is associated with the Cornwall Alliance?

      Nice letter Scott.. pity about the usual responses in a few of the comments here.


      December 11, 2010 at 7:23 pm

      • It’s better than that Moth. Cop a load of who his fellow signatory is on the Cornwall Alliance’s ‘A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming’

        E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., Paul K. Driessen, Esq., Ross McKitrick, Ph.D., and Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D.

        I quote from page 22…

        “…Therefore we pledge to oppose quixotic attempts to reduce global warming….”

        No wonder he’s in Cancun, possibly on CFACT’s ticket, stood alongside Monckton who had a piece published by SPPI, ‘What is science without religion?’, in which he suggests that in order for a scientist to be allowed to practise they should have to adhere to one of the major religious faiths, but preferably Christianity.

        “Perhaps, therefore, no one should be allowed to practice in any of the sciences, particularly in those sciences that have become the mere political footballs of the leading pressure-groups, unless he can certify that he adheres to one of those major religions – Christianity outstanding among them – that preach the necessity of morality, and the reality of the distinction between that which is so and that which is not. For science without the morality that perhaps religion alone can give is nothing.”


        Click to access a-call-to-truth-prudence-and-protection-of-the-poor.pdf


        J Bowers

        December 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm

      • No responses to the clear usage of “trick” within an academic context, and sourced entirely from the Climategate emails? Interesting. Perhaps there’s no pre-written script from McIntyre, Watts, Montford or Fuller? Did Mosher or Fuller even mention these emails in their book, which would have given a clear context from the very material they say they scrutinised, every word? Surely that’s a question which is easily answered.

        J Bowers

        December 14, 2010 at 9:15 am

    • Monckton’s reference to morality is really funny. So far, his christianity has not done much to make him act moral. Or perhaps he believes lying and distorting is being moral. You know, all in the good cause of stopping “world governance” (which is only allowed to be done by this supreme being Monckton refers to as “We”).


      December 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm

  7. “Dr. Spencer’s tacit agreement with Mr. Monckton’s positions will be a serious blow to his remaining credibility.” I’m afraid you’re too kind – at this point Spencer doesn’t have any remaining credibility.


    December 11, 2010 at 11:21 pm

  8. J Bowers,

    I lost interest in anything Roy had to say when he let us know that he thought that there was far more evidence to support ID than evolution. Clearly, he’s no good at interpreting data.

    Yea, I’ve heard Monckton make that ridiculous statement (ie. we need to demonstrate faith in a certain fairytale before we should critically analyse reality).

    I heard Monckton wasn’t so popular at Cancun.


    December 12, 2010 at 2:46 am

  9. Indeed, as MothIncarnate says, it is hard to take any scientist seriously who is so into so-called Intelligent Design.

    It is also hard to take seriously commentary by people, such as MothIncarnate, who refer to religion as fairytale.

    Prof Mandia: Does this blog not have rules against this silly — and counterproductive — asinine insolence?

    David F Collins

    December 13, 2010 at 7:26 pm

  10. Somewhat a paradox you have yourself there.

    Tell me why I should call religion anything but myth / fairytale?

    I had a problem with Spencer from the moment I heard that he believes there is far more evidence for ID than evolution. Is there anything wrong with that, or did I just hit a nerve?


    December 13, 2010 at 7:39 pm

  11. Silly, asinine insolence? Maybe to the faithful. But certainly not as counterproductive as entertaining unproven / unprovable myth


    December 13, 2010 at 7:43 pm

  12. My parents taught me not to tarry where unwelcome.

    David F Collins

    December 13, 2010 at 8:37 pm

  13. So I’m unwelcome because I don’t adhere to a religion? I’ll leave that opinion up to Scott.

    Mandia: It is best if we stop debating religion and instead focus on the science.


    December 13, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    • Prof Mandia: Thank you.

      David F Collins

      December 18, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      • Fair enough. Another victory for dogma through the censorship of valid criticism.

        Maybe Spencer has credibility after all.

        Amen bother.


        December 18, 2010 at 6:42 pm

  14. […] but there was plenty of drama offered by both Spencer and Lindzen this year. At COP16 in Cancun, Spencer stood with Monckton at a press conference to publicly criticize Dessler’s previous pap… and Lindzen complained about being shut out of prestigious journals and ended up publishing in […]

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