Confirmation bias

So, Lindzen f*cked up (Misrepresentation from Lindzen) badly enough that he needed to apologise. He is being weaselly, though, in throwing the blame on someone else. And he is wrong to say that the URLs of the datasets were the same.

Part of his “apology” is rather amusing:

The public interest in this quantity, however, does make it a matter subject to confirmation bias

and to pull a comment out (thanks dp):

That’s exactly true – someone (Howard Hayden) got a result that they liked (looked like GISS had changed numbers) and confirmation bias made them and Lindzen believe it and publicise it without adequate checking.

[Incidentally – there was a slight comment hiatus over the weekend, partly due to me being busy, and partly due to something at mt failing. I’m now going to turn off approve-before-appearing and see how that goes. Well, that didn’t take long. Spambots are fast. OK, I’m going to try leaving moderation off but turning captchas on. I think its better for people to be able to see their comments immeadiately. I think mt is broken. Anyway, back to moderation – please comment on that, if you’re interested.]

Lindzen goes emeritus

For a fair while now I’ve defended Lindzen {{cn}} on the grounds that he is actually a Real Scientist, albeit edging ever further off onto the sceptical wing. And this has been difficult because whilst his papers have, I think, been reasonable his public pronouncements and his congressional-testimony type stuff has been poor.

But, happily, the recent “peer review gate” nonsense he has been spouting allows me to declare him Emeritus. I was going to say he has jumped the shark but I think that is wrong; this isn’t some Curry-like stupidity, this is more the kind of full blown Black-helicopters-of-peer-review we expect from an incipient fellow of the Breakness Institute.

Eli has the story, as do others: Lindzen writes a paper. It gets rejected. He resubmits it to PNAS and asks for his buddies to review it, including some (like William Happer) who were manifestly unfit to review it. They tell him, quite properly, No. He throws a hissy fit. They keep telling him No, whilst doing their best to accomodate him without destroying the standards of their journal (the way Azen and Wegman managed at CSDA). And all of that could be defended as just a rather strong-armed attempt to get your views published in the teeth of bad reviews. We’ve all wanted to push stuff we “know” is good past review, sometimes; Lindzen is a bit different in that he has (or thought he had) enough clout to lean on PNAS.

What makes him stark staring Emeritus is his belief that publishing this tawdry tale is actually a good idea for him. How mad do you have to be to do that?