Comment On The Article “Ad Hominem Arguments In The Service Of Boundary Work Among Climate Scientists” By Souder and Qureshi 2012

Judy Curry mentioned this article from BishopHill

Ad hominem arguments in the service of boundary work among climate scientists

by Lawrence Souder and Furrah Qureshi of Drexel University in the journal Journal of Science Communication 11(1), January 2012

in her post

Week in review 3/16/12

The Souder and Qureshi article uses quite a bit of jargon but it is worth reading. Here I want to just add to one of the examples presented in the Souder and Qureshi 2012 paper

In the header to the article, the authors identified one ad hominem comment about me; i.e.

“Pielke wouldn’t understand independence if it hit him in the face.” (Phil Jones, Climategate email, 1233249393.txt)

where “independence” is referring to the degree of overlap in the land surface temperature data used to construct the CRU, GISS and NCDC global surface temperature trend analyses.

The Souder and Qureshi article  has the introductory paragraph

“As scientists-in-training, Chris de Freitas and Roger Pielke, Sr., may have suffered appropriately the sting of such remarks from an overbearing advisor on their dissertation committees in a moment of impatience. However, once these scientists were certified by their authorizing institutions, they should no longer fear such ad hominem attacks. If science proceeds as a matter of empiricism, the first and only point of judgment should be the validity of the inquiry, not the character of the inquirer. In fact, when peer review is blinded, the resulting anonymity is intended to preclude personal attacks. Thus is one of the key norms of science enforced — disinterestedness. On the assumption that de Freitas and Pielke would not reasonably expect to hear such personal attacks in a public forum their private expression is at least disturbing for their revelation of the tone of some scientists’ discourse.”

In addition to this conclusion by Souder and Qureshi, Phil Jones’s comment is also disingenuous as well as being ad hominem. While I was on the CCSP 1.1 Committee, I contacted Phil to ask the degree of independence between his data set (CRU) and those of GISS and NCDC. He responded at the time and I later included this information in our paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with   the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229

where we reported from Phil Jones that

“The raw surface temperature data from which all of the different global surface temperature trend analyses are derived are essentially the same. The best estimate that has been reported is that 90–95% of the raw data in each of the analyses is the same (P. Jones, personal communication, 2003).”

Phil Jones, of course, made his comment

“Pielke wouldn’t understand independence if it hit him in the face.”

in January 2009!

He chose not to remember that he actually answered my question on “independence” 6 years earlier. Instead he decided to make an ad hominem comment since, even though he was misrepresenting reality, the comment was made behind my back and would never have been seen by all of us except for the Climategate e-mails. Unfortunately, this is quite likely just a sample of what has been communicated by some of the major players in the IPCC community [and still continues].

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