Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Another Fake Climate Scientist Exposed: Willie Soon

Thanks to Chris Hayes in a segment on his  Monday might 'All In' for exposing yet another paid hack climate denier posing as a climate scientist and "astrophysicist". This would be none other than Willie Soon, whose dubious history regarding climate science precedes him.  This concerned a spurious paper in a joint 2003 effort by Soon and Sallie Baliunas with a graphic misuse of statistics. Reference to it may be found at:

The methodology used by Soon and Baliunas was terrible, and any proper referee versed at all in statistics would've tossed most of their analyses out in a heartbeat. Especially their deliberate  use of 50-year data periods, increments when the IPCC scientists had already disclosed anthropogenic warming appears at 30 -year levels. In effect, Baliunas and Soon employed what we call a 'selective effects filter' to cull the data they preferred not to have to deal with. As serious climate critics pointed out in the aftermath of the paper, by using much wider 50 year periods one essentially whitewashes the signal right out of the data.

Sadly, it seems Soon hasn't learned his climate lessons. But mayhap he's being paid too much as a shill for the denial lobby to do so. Hayes led off the segment with a pie chart showing 97 percent of published climate papers agree global warming is happening and humans are the primary cause. This elicits the question: 'Who makes up the other 3 percent?'

Hayes' immediate response was that these minority climate change deniers (I disdain misuse of the word 'skeptics' as Chris does) are not all they appear That is, objective researchers in pursuit of scientific truth. Such is the case with Dr. Willie Soon, ostensibly based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, until one digs beneath the surface. (And btw, when one is praised by the most infamous climate change denier - James Inhofe - one knows he's hit new lows and is really a bottom feeder scientifically.)

Hayes then went on to cite the truth about Soon using a clip and excerpt from the New York Times. e.g.

"Though often described on conservative news programs as a 'Harvard astrophysicist', Dr. Soon is not an astrophysicist and has never been employed by Harvard."

More technically, Soon is actually a part-time employee of the Smithsonian which jointly runs  the Center along with Harvard. More to the point, Soon is only there because he brings in his own funding. What exactly this translates into wasn't known until Greenpeace submitted Freedom of Information Act requests for Soon's grant correspondence. What they found also appeared in the Times' piece on 'Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher (e.g.':

"He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers."

Can anyone say 'paid whore' for the fossil fuelers? I can!   Especially as Soon, according to the Times:

described many of his scientific papers as “deliverables” that he completed in exchange for their money. He used the same term to describe testimony he prepared for Congress.

So can Hayes. As he put it:

"There are now one point two million more reasons to doubt his work."

Which, let's face it, would already be doubt worthy given how he earlier played with statistics to wash out the actual global warming signal from his paper.

Maybe Soon needs to very soon click on the link below to see the more rapid melting of ice caps and glaciers, which we're actually seeing in real time, showing climate change-global warming is happening as I write:

The preceding ought to get even the most blinkered global warming denier's attention, as well as

See also:

And more documents on Soon's deplorable brand of science can be found here:

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