Here's a curious piece by Kiley Kroh I just ran across while looking for wind power articles in ThinkProgress' Climate section, that others here might find to be interesting. Nate Silver’s New Science Writer Ignores The Data On Climate Science I hadn't realized that Nate Silver, who used to write here, and then at the New York Times, just started his own website, FiveThirtyEight, this week. This launch is receiving poor reviews, with extra scathing criticism for science editor, Roger Pielke Jr., who is apparently raising eyebrows in the scientific and environmental communities.
To summarize: it's terrible. Reviewers from Paul Krugman to Tyler Cowen — who seldom agree on much — have panned the launch. If you need to be personally convinced, just check out this example. Yikes. ...
At this point, I'm not sure what more Silver could do to demonstrate the Judith Miller hazard. Because FiveThirtyEight's science coverage stinks of sublimated ideology. The opening science pieces were pretty bad, but far more telling was Silver's hiring of climate troll Roger Pielke Jr. ...
That kind of squid-ink careerist nonsense is what led Foreign Policy to put Pielke on its list of climate skeptics. It's what led the late, famed climatologist Stephen Schneider to dismiss him as a "self-aggrandizer who sets up straw men, knocks them down, and takes credit for being the honest broker to explain the mess." Pretty much.
This author notes that Pielke's PhD is in political science not climate science.
Kroh, of ThinkClimate offers so many examples of Pielke, Jr.'s "numerous distortions of data and statistics," that have been "debunked by actual climate scientists," it is challenging to choose just three examples.
Pielke routinely seeks to minimize the impacts and severity of climate change and in the process, has been repeatedly criticized as inaccurate and misleading by some of the nation’s foremost climate scientists. ... Most recently, Pielke tangled with Obama science advisor and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, John Holdren, over the relationship between the severity of California’s epic drought and climate change. In February, Pielke slammed Holdren for offering a scientifically-grounded explanation of how climate change is worsening western drought. As Joe Romm observed, “Holdren’s views are right in the mainstream of climatologists’ view of drought. I can think of no climate scientists who share Pielke’s startling assessment of Holdren’s views as ‘zombie science.’”
James Annan, another climate scientist, has written numerous takedowns of Pielke’s flawed analyses. “There’s obviously a simple conceptual misunderstanding underlying Roger’s attempts at analysis,” Annan observed. ... but Annan is quick to point out the lack of a foundation on which to base that claim. “I challenged this obvious absurdity and repeatedly asked him to back it up with a calculation,” Annan wrote. “After a lot of ducking and weaving, about the 30th comment under the post, he eventually admits ‘I honestly don’t know what the proper test is.’”
Kroh recounts several other cases of Pielke apparently misbegotten encounters with world famous, highly regarded climate scientists.
While discourse amongst scientists is necessary and beneficial, Pielke has a track record of consistently cherry-picking and mischaracterizing the work done by climate scientists and has made a name for himself by disparaging their work. Pielke’s methods echo a key problem observed by leading climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf: “blind application of statistics, without understanding of the science (both in terms of the physics and in terms of knowledge of the technical literature) is very dangerous.”
Pielke was also included in Foreign Policy's 2010 "Guide to Climate Skeptics.
I should point out that this is the first I am hearing of these concerns, and know nothing about this other than what is in this article. There are always many sides to every story, and as this criticism was just published today, I do not believe Nate Silver, and Roger Pielke Jr., have had an opportunity to respond to these criticisms, yet. I just checked their new site. If, or as soon as they do, I will post links in an update. I was not even aware that Five-Thirty-Eight had spun out its own website.