Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Monckton returns from his stool - still talking, er, crap

Lord Monckton, who was last seen sloping off to the garderobe in his modest castle in the Highlands clutching a copy of the UKIP science policy document (it's so long and soft and absorbant, don't you know), leaving his flunky to hold the fort, has come back out and told everyone to give it ten minutes.

While he was in there, his mate, Willie Soon, was fingered (again) for having some undeclared financial interests or something like that.  Willie Few Mates has been roundly sent to Coventry by the scientific community yet somehow manages to get some papers with his name on past the sleeping reviewers and into benthic journals.

What his Lordship thinks would be a wonderful idea is to defend his friend, Mr Soon.  Took his time but then he was busy.  His Lordship is very busy.  His flunky says so.

So let's see what his Lordship has said.  You can find it here, at Anthony Watts's fantasy world site.  I've archived it so you don't have to give Watts the satisfaction of more hits.  He might want to get his science in order now that Google is changing it's policy on ranking.

The first thing to notice is the usual Monckton headline: "In defense [sic] of a scientist in the humble quest for truth".  Not having met Soon, I don't know if he is humble, but reports of his rants for the Heartland Institute suggest he has a modesty deficit.  Modesty is certainly something Monckton is not blessed with.

Monckton kicks off a long rant with this paragraph:
Recently the Boston Globe, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Scientific American and even Nature, as well as many other media outlets and environmentalist weblogs, have mounted what appears to be a costly, malevolent and carefully coordinated campaign of assaults on the reputation of Dr Willie Soon, falsely alleging that in several of his published scientific papers he had failed to disclose that some of the funding for his research has come from fossil-fuel interests.
This isn't unusual for the potty peer (copyright Sou).  He cannot see a jumble of articles without seeing a conspiracy.  And costly?  Don't know but my comment in a previous post cost precisely nothing and was funded by....wait for one but me.  As for Soon's reputation - his scientific one is minimal.  If his affiliation to Harvard-Smithsonian goes, even that reflected glory will be missing.  And failing to disclose is a question being asked rather than an allegation.  Not that it looks like he did disclose that which he should have disclosed.

This campaign of libels was calculated to damage Dr Soon’s reputation, to undermine the credibility of his research results, and to threaten his employment at the Center for Astrophysics by improperly suggesting that he has acted unethically and dishonestly. I propose to knock the worst of these libels on the head. This will be a long read, but well worth it.

Ah, the good Lord is back on form.  That nasty gastric incident hasn't dimmed his ability to perceive libel where none exists.  The documents were freed by FOIA leverage and demonstrate that Soon received funding from fossil fuel concerns.  It looks well established but there you go.  Far be it from Monckton to suggest anyone would ever have acted improperly.  Heaven forbid.  And, as I said, scientifically, Soon is a busted flush anyway.  No one in mainstream science bothers with him.  His science is debunked and finished.  His value is the Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics label.  I don't want to see him in the street, just playing by the same rules as the rest of the scientists that Monckton has his snide and pernicious pops at.

Anyway, Soon is a scientist of the highest calibre so he is beyond criticism.  So sayeth the Doctors For Disaster Preparedness:
In 2004, Dr Soon received the Petr Beckmann award of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness for
“courage and achievement in defense of scientific truth and freedom”. 
If it weren't so hilarious, it would be so funny.  This bunch of doctors give platforms to deniers on an annual basis.  They have, so far as I can tell, little to do with disasters.  In fact, they would rather not prepare for some.

To be honest, Monckton's drivel is tedious in the extreme but feel free to read it if you wish.  As usual, he cannot say in a handful of words that which can be described in a multivolume work.  And, as ever, Monckton lets us know what he thinks is the correct ethical way to behave while failing himself to uphold his own "high" standards.  It is typical Monckton.  And no doubt it will come with his usual threats to involve the lawyers attached.

Monckton brings attention to his widely criticised and widely discredited paper in a benthic Chinese journal:
Neither I nor any of my co-authors received any funding of any kind from any source for any part of any research conducted by us in the preparation and writing of this paper. The paper was researched and written entirely in our own time and at our own expense. As we correctly stated to the journal, therefore, we have no conflict of interest whatsoever.
I don't know about you but if my day job were paid for by someone who has a conflicting viewpoint, I would expect that any paper I wrote would need to mention that fact.  Does anyone other than Monckton and the Willard wailers think that the influence of funding stops the moment you walk out of the door, especially when you quote your place of employment as your affiliation.  Soon could have put the Heartland Institute as his affiliation.  After all, that's the people who issued his statement.

But there is nothing straightforward about this Monckton diatribe.  He writes this:
It is surely time to focus on the science itself. Using our model, anyone with a little knowledge of math and physics can determine climate sensitivity relative to CO2 concentration changes not unreliably by using nothing more complex than a pocket calculator. Within hours after the Daily Mail ran a strongly supportive news piece about our paper, an EU-funded environmentalist extremist group had telephoned round and obtained instaquotes from half a dozen rent-by-the-hour “scientists” about our paper, but, as our point-by-point refutation [Eds, link to attached document, please] demonstrates, several of them had not even read it and not one had raised a serious scientific objection to it. 
If you want to focus on the science, do so.  Don't moan that someone criticises you in such pathetically dismissive tone and complain that Soon is being smeared.  Monckton demonstrates the two faces he has long possessed.  Smiling with charm to your face but knifing you in the back.

I did wonder if Monckton might have something useful to say.  Rather, I think he is still at stool.