Changing the rules after the fact

One of the key criticisms of the Oxburgh inquiry was that it ignored three key papers written by people at CRU, but these papers are only being considered key because they were not investigated. Had they been looked at, other papers would have been declared key.

The Oxburgh report considered some but not all CRU papers. The papers were chosen in consultation with the Royal Society as a representative sample of work done by CRU. Lord Oxburgh never set out to examine every single written word that came out of CRU as it was not necessary in order for the inquiry to determine if scientific malpractice had taken place.

Unfortunately this left the door wide open for deniers to complain that some key papers (which presumably do show scientific malpractice) were not looked at by Oxburgh:

the articles that had actually been criticized here were for the most part excluded. Every CRU hockey stick article (Jones et al 1998; Mann and Jones 2003; Osborn and Briffa 2006) was excluded.

However if papers which demonstrate malpractice exist, one would expect that the deniers would have made them known to Oxburgh before he concluded the inquiry. But they did no such thing.

In fact looking at the submissions by Steve McIntyre (of Climate Audit) and Andrew Montford (of Bishop Hill) one finds no mention of the supposed ‘key’ papers.

This leads to an obvious question: Why are these papers key? If McIntyre, Montford and their ilk thought that these papers were key why didn’t they include them in their submissions before the inquiry? Why are they complaining about them not being included only after the inquiry concluded?

The answer is simple:

the papers are key, post hoc, because they were not considered by Oxburgh. Had Oxburgh considered them, a different set of papers would have become key.

The rules were changed after the fact. No matter what papers Oxburgh looked at, the deniers would have clamed that he missed the key papers. They are desperate to find any reason to dismiss l any investigation that doesn’t arrive at the ‘right’ conclusion.

And that makes them deniers.

Note: I am purposely avoiding wading into the whole Judith Curry kerfuffle. My short take, is that she is naive about the true intentions of people like McIntyre and that leads her to assume he is looking at the issue honestly. He isn’t.

2 thoughts on “Changing the rules after the fact

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  1. Don’t forget that the, erm, writer Andrew Bolt declared the results of the Oxburgh inquiry to be null and void because Lord Oxburgh rode a bicycle to work.

    The inactivists are becoming more and more incoherent each day. When will the public wake up? When will newspaper reporters wake up?

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