IOP: I hate it when they do that

The ever-vigilant BigCityLib has spotted some revisionism by the Institute of Physics: they have silently updated their “clarification”: the link http://www.iop.org/News/news_40679.html now points to a statement dated 5th March, instead of the original, which was 2nd march. What a bunch of slimy little toads: they pretend to believe in openness, they won’t tell us who wrote their statements, then they silently airbrush out embarassing words afterwards.

Refers: Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes and The IOP fiasco.

This post doesn’t analyse the changes; as far as I can see they have retreated a little but not much; and importantly they still stand behind their submission to parliament, which is the bit that counts.

No, what I’m complaining about here is their absolutely appalling standards in silently changing their post. Bastards. Note even a hint in the new version that it is an update. what should they have done? The obvious: leave the old one up. Put a note on it saying that a revised version is available.

Lets have a quick poke to see if we can tell they really have done this, and its not some freak of googles cache: the link is news_40679.html (this is a teensy bit confusing: the equivalent press release, which appears to be the same text with a different image, is press_40680.html; one digit different). And if we look at some other stuff, with publication dates:

* 4th: press_40762.html
* 2nd: press_40662.html
* 1st: press_40659.html
* 25th feb: press_39101.html

So as you’d expect, their web software gives files an id number, sequentially. The one now claiming to be march 5th is out of sequence: you can tell it was originally published somewhen between the 2nd and 4th.

Also, the IOP has a blog, and http://www.iopblog.org/iop-inquiry-disclosure-climate-data/ is the text of the 2nd. I’d better go copy that too before they realise.

See-also:

* http://sciblogs.co.nz/open-parachute/2010/03/05/institute-of-physics-in-hot-seat/
* http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7050737.ece
* Concerns raised over Institute of Physics climate submission – even bits of the IOP admit the problems.
Continue reading “IOP: I hate it when they do that”

Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes

A headline stolen blatantly from HH. But it seems rather applicable to the Institute of Physics. The Grauniad are still pushing them (go big G!) but the IOP are stonewalling: they won’t say who wrote their pap; but it seems one Peter Gill was involved.

In an apparent attempt to take the Irony Prize back from the gunmen of Caracas, the institute supplied a statement from an anonymous member of its science board, which said: “The institute should feel relaxed about the process by which it generated what is, anyway, a statement of the obvious.” It added: “The points [the submission] makes are ones which we continue to support, that science should be practised openly and in an unbiased way. However much we sympathise with the way in which CRU researchers have been confronted with hostile requests for information, we believe the case for openness remains just as strong.

I’ve added the bold myself, because the IOP somehow failed to link the two halves of their statement together. Ho ho.

The IOP fiasco refers.

Update:

* You can see PG here at… weatheraction! The Corbyn connection emerges, ha.
* A href=”http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/letters/scientists-see-signs-of-global-cooling-14502380.html”>TERRI JACKSON (where does she fit into this; but she claims to be a “a scientist dealing in climate facts”) writes some tosh in the Belfast Torygraph (is it Tory, over there? I don’t know) whereupon one Peter F Gill pops up in the comments recommedning you google my article in IOP South Central Branch Newsletter April 2008) (and other tosh).
* Scary pic of TG here plus some of her views. Mmmm, sounds just like the sort of person you’d want.
* And (I’m getting lost in this crap; Eli or Frank please help me out) SPPI are now repackaging the IOP junk. Why? Can’t they think of their own junk?
* TG also makes the “650 list“, which is odd, because that says she is a “a physics teacher at Belfast Institute Further and Higher Education for 30 years”. Hold on, *that* is supposed to be a list of scientists. And her letter to the BT said she was a scientist. Could she be… stretching her credentials at all?
* An agenda item for EMG Committee meeting on 21 January 2004: Proposal: what steps can the EMGroup take to suggest how the IOP can become more pro-active in physics related energy matters. This vitally important matter has come from the useful discussions held by Peter King and Peter Gill with Professor Peter Main. (30 minutes).
* More waacko Gill stuff here.
* Deltoid picks up on this.

The IOP fiasco

The “Institute of Physics” sounds jolly reassuring; but like all such things you never quite know what they are going to say. Just recently they have been saying some very silly things indeed in their contribution to the UK parliaments feeding-frenzy over the CRU emails. So the IOP apparently thinks that worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and it goes downhill from there. It reads like a gift to the septics and it could easily have been written down to the septics dictation; indeed, it very probably was.

So the most likely scenario is that a small sub-group have got together to push this junk while the rest of the IOP (nice chaps and chapesses no doubt, but a bit dopey. If you’re an IOP person and object to being called dopey, fine, I eagerly await your personal non-dopey reaction to the IOP statement) slept.

Faced with everyone sane telling them they’ve been hijacked by wackos, the IOP has rowed back a little, but not very much. They explicitly state that The Institute’s response to the Committee inquiry was approved by its Science Board, a formal committee of the Institute with delegated authority from its trustees to oversee its policy work. It reflected our belief that… In other words, yes it may be a bit mad but we stand squarely behind it and refuse to retract a single word. Naturally enough they try to have it both ways, with The Institute’s statement, which has been published both on the Institute’s website and the Committee’s, has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that… but since they are retracting nothing, that is just pap. The “clarification” can and indeed will be read by any septic worth his salt as re-affirming the original; it is trivial to quote-mine it as such: our belief that the open exchange of data, procedures and materials is fundamental to the scientific process. From the information already in the public domain it appears that these principles have been put at risk… etc etc.

However, it looks like the Grauniad may be putting the boot into the IOP: The institute statement says its submission was approved by its science board, a formal committee of experts that oversees its policy work. The Guardian has been unable to find a member of the board that supports the submission. Two of the scientists listed as members said they had declined to comment on a draft submission prepared by the institute, because they were not climate experts and had not read the UEA emails. Others would not comment or did not respond to enquiries. An institute spokesperson said the submission was “strongly supported” by three members of the board. “All members were invited to comment. Only a few did, all concerned approved [the submission] unanimously.”

So there seems to be some hope that good old fashioned journalism may triumph here, if they persist.

Update: a non-dopey IOP person pointed out that the re-affirmation statement links to Physicists’ message to world leaders in Copenhagen and that to a nice pdf. However… that link isn’t too prominent (I know its at the top, but it isn’t in the line of flow; I missed it), but more importantly this misses the point; it appears to assume that some mature, balanced judgement of the IOP’s views is going on in the septic blogsphere and the Torygraph and whatever means of communication those funny colonial types have. That won’t happen; the IOP can say 99 positive things but only the one negative thing will be reported, as indeed we’ve just discovered. The problem is asymmetry: since we all know GW is happening and our fault (even the septics know this in their hearts) all the motherhood-and-apple-pie statements just make us glaze over: yeah yeah, I know that. All the attention goes to the one bit of wacko-dom. The only solution is to retract the wacko-dom; hopefully the IOP will back down before damaging itself too badly.

UUpdate: thanks to EW, who points out this Deltoid thread which links to Sammy’s right, man is not responsible for global warming by… Terry Jackson BSc Msc MPhil (founder of the Energy Group, Institute of Physics, London) Bangor. And reading the article there, it is clear this isn’t any balanced “true-skeptic” stuff, this is out-and-out la-la-land stuff: The total emissions of CO2 from land and sea amounts to 97% while humans contribute a mere 3%. Last summer Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski etc etc.