Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Clarifying Landscapesandcycles Dishonest Internet Sniping #1

OK, time to get back to my Landscapesandcycle's project or I'll never get it behind me.  While I stall on my complaint to San Francisco State University administration, I'll review a couple blog posts that Jim's dedicated to me.

Mr Steele's words are in Courier font, and since this is copied off his website the "I wrote's" are his words, and where he quotes me remains in Courier.  My response appears in Verdana font.  Please notice how much of Jim's defense depends on calling me offensive names as if that makes his words more authoritative.

Landscapesandcycles.net - "Clarifying P.M.’s (aka CitizenChallenged) Dishonest Internet Sniping: Emperor Penguins"
Citizenschallenge is not a scientist nor does he understand biology.1 He is simply obsessed with discrediting any skeptical interpretation.2 He refuses to accept any and all evidence that refutes climate driven extinction.3 Because my career has been dedicated to improving environmental stewardship, he seems overly obsessed with discrediting my essays and assassinating character.4 Lacking any background in science, he quickly mis-characterizes any discussions he doesn’t understand, to assert my words must be lies or deception.5
1)  I have never claimed to be a scientist or biologist.  I claim to have a reasonable understanding of our global heat and moisture distribution engine (climate system) - I'm aware of my limitations, that's why I've asked Mr. Steele for clarifying details.  It is he who refuses to respond to any emails I send him.  

Please notice at his Landscapesandcycles blog no comments are allowing.  The man who screams about scientists refusing to debate, refuses to allow discussion following his many blog posts. 

1b)  Incidentally, Mr. Steele likes his name on everything he does.  I'm more reticent because I'm no authority, nor do I possess a profound personal vision that allows me to presume I'm wiser than the collective consensus of tens of thousands of practicing scientists, past and present.  I'm about sharing ideas and information so others can access it and build their own understanding.  I like thinking I'm part of that ageless process, student and teacher intertwined.  

I like going by Citizenschallenge when writing because it's closer to the mark than this silly flesh and blood and the name that represents it, it will all be gone soon enough, so CC I shall sign.  But, Mr. Steele won't grant me that modicum of respect, instead he thinks that by plastering my christian name all over it'll serve to intimidate me and so it does.  But such is life and mine has been full of intimidations and challenges that must be risen to, so on we go.

2)  Jim, I'm offended by your easy malicious slander of respectable professional scientists.  I obsess over correcting misrepresentation of what the scientists and the scientific understanding is actually telling us.  I also like filling in the important information that your skewered interpretations strategically omits.

3)  Nonsense, l'm all for discussing the evidence in a rational, orderly and constructive manner.  I'm also open to learning new lessons.  I'd be willing to start a more rational examination of our respective opinions and the evidence we build them on.  We don't need to like each other to be civil to one another.

4)  Oh gosh Jim, don't play the victim card.  I have acknowledged your wonderful work with that meadow, bird counting, and as nature guide.  I have nothing but respect for that part of your life and wish you had not abandoned it in favor of this counter-productive, heck downright destructive, for profit publicity campaign to demonize the "climate science consensus" and wildlife studies while peddling wild conspiracy theories.

5)  I offer copious support for my claims.  It is Jim who avoids an up-front rational confrontation of our respective contentions and the substance of our evidence.

Example 1.

I wrote:
“I first contacted Ainley to determine if his “drowning chicks” were based on observation or theoretical beliefs. Ainley confessed his claims were based on a sentence in Barbraud’s paper that stated, “Complete or extensive breeding failures in some years resulted from early break-out of the sea-ice holding up the colony, or from prolonged blizzards during the early chick-rearing period.
The early break-out of the sea-ice holding up the colony was merely a belief consistent with global warming hypotheses.”

I then requested dates of those breakouts from Barbraud but as I reported he replied. “They are difficult to find”

Citizenschallenge emails:
CC has emailed me, my colleagues and most bizzarely human resources at SF State University, demanding that they push me to reveal "my source for drowning chicks".
~ ~ ~ ~ ~  
Yes I was reduced to sending emails all over since Jim refused to respond to my emails.  But my emails to San Francisco State University have been quite different, beginning with: 
Jan 13, 2015 |  Question re academic standards.  
"Does San Francisco State University have a codified 'academic standards' that SFSU professors and instructors are expected to abide by? 
If so can you tell me where I can view the document? 
Also, can I assume that instructors at your Sierra Nevada Field Campus are expected to abide by such standards? 
Any information you can offer will be much appreciated."
In contrast to the clear attribution of my statements,  CC’s emails epitomize both his obsession and blindness

My written passage above clearly stated that the source of the drowning chick stories was the Barbraud paper and that paper was footnoted just a few paragraphs earlier. Perhaps I should not think the worst of CC, if he is totally blind. Only if that is true, then I apologize for thinking the worst about him.
Nonetheless CC emailed me and Dr. Ainley, highlighting my paragraph above, and then CC states, “Steele says you [Ainley] are the source of the drowning chick stories. So Ainley naturally replies, “Steele is sadly mistaken.”  What Dr. Ainely and other researchers (whose replies CC tries to manipulate) do not realize, is they are responding to CC’s fabricated world that have twisted my words. That raises the likelihood that CC is a chronic liar or worse.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
But the issue is that "drowned chicks" - doesn't appear anywhere.  
Dr. Ainley assures me that he's never used those words and Mr. Steele has produced no source for his "drowning chicks."  Seems like it's his own creative rhetorical trick to get eyes rolling and laughs from his audience, while ridiculing scientists.   
Here's what the Barbraud et al. study says: 
"Breeding success varied extensively throughout the period, and its variability has increased progressively since the 1970s (Fig. 1c). A combination of local factors has probably contributed to the high variability in breeding success. Complete or extensive breeding failures in some years resulted from early break-out of the sea-ice holding up the colony, or from prolonged blizzards during the early chick-rearing period. Overall breeding success was not related to SST anomalies or sea-ice extent, possibly because variation was the result of a combination of confounding factors related to sea-ice conditions or weather conditions.  
However, the proportion of eggs that hatched a chick was negatively related to the extent of pack ice in winter (r2 = 0.284, P = 0.02), with wider pack ice resulting in lower hatching success." p.185  http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v411/n6834/abs/411183a0.html
The reason it's an issue is because Mr. Steele uses the claim "drowned chicks" to ridicule penguin wildlife studies.  
Example 2:

I wrote:
"Two years ago the fecal stain method identified several large, hitherto unknown colonies and nearly doubled our estimate of the world’s Emperor Penguins. That didn’t mean climate change had necessarily increased penguin numbers, but a larger more robust population meant Emperor Penguins were far more resilient to any form of change."

Citizenschallenge wrote:
"far more resilient to any form of change." Nonsense, the study makes no claims about resilience to "any form of change."

Biologists understand that larger populations are naturally more resilient. But lacking any understanding of biology, CC re-directs the issue.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~  
Here again it's Jim's creative interpretation that's re-directing the issue.   He's interpreting the paper according to his assumptions, he is not reporting on what the paper said.   
Implying the study addresses penguin "resilience" to climate change isn't true.
When organizations like the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorize to what degree a species may be headed towards extinction, part of their calculus is the size of the population. It is not easy to determine if a change in a species’ sub populations or overall population size is due to natural fluctuations or the result of threatening factors that humans need to address. Still, larger populations can better withstand fluctuating populations whether or not the causative factors are temporary or a directional downward trend,  or if the trend is a natural drop or caused by humans.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~  
That's not the issue here.   
Jim falsely implies the paper said something it didn't say, nor even address. 
It is true that the study reporting a doubling of the population did not discuss Emperor Penguin’s resilience, but I never claimed they did. I simply reported that the study’s results clearly revealed the population was twice as large as scientists first assumed, and as customarily understood by biologists, we understand larger populations make the species more resilient.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~  
Then he should have reported it like that.  
Instead Jim comes up with "far more resilient to any form of change" which is nonsense.  
What's happened is that now we know that twice as many penguins are at risk by the same environmental factors that we thought were threatening what was assumed to be half as many penguins. 
None of that undermines other studies about penguin vulnerability, nor about the basic scientific understanding of global warming and it's increasing threat to Antarctic habitats.

Example 3.

I wrote:
LaRue’s new study advances the science by analyzing the shifting patterns of penguin poop, and her results are prompting some scientists to “unlearn” a key belief that has supported speculation of the Emperors imminent extinction”

Citizenschallenge wrote:
“No scientist was claiming "imminent extinction" - take a look:”

My reference to extinctions are based on comments in 2 papers.
In the 2009 paper Demographic models and IPCC climate projections predict the decline of an emperor penguin population  the authors used the phrase quasi-extinction 8 times and concluded, “To avoid extinction, emperor penguins will have to adapt, migrate or change the timing of their growth stages” suggesting the Emperor wont adapt quickly enough.” 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Here's another example of how Jim manipulates information.  He chooses the emotional: scientists claim "imminent extinction" - then he turns to a couple current census studies that show reasonably good population numbers and morphs that into a bludgeon to ridicule those scientists and their claim of "imminent extinction" which they never said.   
Jim is imminent the end of the decade or the end of the century?

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/01/26/0806638106"We show that the increased frequency of warm events associated with projected decreases in SIE will reduce the population viability. The probability of quasi-extinction (a decline of 95% or more) is at least 36% by 2100."
I suggest that 2100 isn't "imminent" to anyone but a geologist. 
The authors amplified their speculation on extinction risks with a press release from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, with the alarming headlines “Emperor Penguins March toward Extinction?” Writing “emperor penguins could be headed toward extinction in at least part of their range before the end of the century.”  Generating similar headlines here  and here . 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~  
Not a hint that there is substance and information worth becoming familiar with in those papers - a slam shot and that's it.  But that's not teaching or learning. 
In the 2001 paper Emperor Penguins And Climate Change the authors argued that the declining population was due to low survival that they linked to climate change. They argued against the greater likelihood that live penguins simply emigrated elsewhere writing, “High emigration from this colony to others is unlikely as the nearest colony is 1,000 km away and penguins, like all seabirds, are faithful to their breeding site once they have started to reproduce”
LaRue’s paper reported that new unknown colonies are being found and new colonies are being established. My only claim was LaRue’s evidence showed 1) that there are nearby colonies and that both contradicted Barbraud’s earlier claim that the nearest colonies was 1000 km away so emigration was unlikely. And 2) the probability is greatly increased that members of  these new colonies are inhabited by refugees fleeing the disturbances at DuDu.
I have never argued that LaRue’s paper "proves" the DuDu’s emperors fled to those new colonies. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
But he sure implies it. 
Yes and that paper is from 2001 and scientists are constantly adding to their knowledge and refining their understanding.
The question of penguin migration, what's driving it, how much has occurred, which newly discovered colonies were established, and which are recent migrants, these are all still open questions being investigated.  There is nothing about current studies that allows for Jim's scathing pronouncements. 
Plus Jim steadfastly ignores the physical changes occurring that are guaranteed to speed up over the course of the next decades.  Heck he's claiming nothing has changed down there based on a temperature record from one uniquely situated French research station at Terre Adelie (DDU), Antarctica, but that's a different story.

Example 4.
I wrote:
"But Jenouvrier’s reference to sea ice’s influence on Emperor penguins during “second half of the 20th century in Terre Adélie” is a belief that should have been wisely abandoned. It was originally based on bizarre speculation in a 2001 paper Emperor Penguins And Climate Change,9 speculations that defied well-established biology and contradicted observations."
“The paper’s authors, Barbraud et al, reported a 50% population drop from 1970 to 1981, and they blamed a prolonged abnormally warm period with reduced northward sea-ice extent. But any correlation with northward sea ice extentnt was absolutely meaningless.”

Citizenschallenge wrote:
"well-established biology" … notice there's no follow up. Nothing is explained.”

This is another example of CC's blinding obsession that is simply dedicated to character assassination. My following sentences most definitely did “follow-up” but CC could comprehend that because he has no science background or skill.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~  
It was a population study that reported what was observed at the time!  It doesn't deserve that malicious derision. 
I had continued to write, “Indeed the northward extent of sea ice had varied from 400 to 150 kilometers away from the colony, but the Emperor’s breeding success and survival depends solely on access to the open waters within the ice such as “polynya” and “leads.” That open water must be much, much closer. When open water was within 20 to 30 kilometers from the colony, penguins had easier access to food and experienced exceptionally high breeding success. When shifting winds caused open water to form 50 to 70 kilometers away, accessing food became more demanding, and their breeding success plummeted.7 Yet Barbraud et al absurdly argued that a reduction in sea ice extent, for unknown reasons, had lowered the penguin’s survival.9 It was catastrophic climate change speculation based on nothing more than a meaningless statistical coincidence.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
"absurdly argued... unknown reasons 
But on page 185 the study explains : 
"Decreased frequency of krill recruitment associated with a decreased frequency of extensive winter sea-ice may be responsible for low population sizes of krill, and lower krill abundance is associated with areas with less winter sea-ice cover."  also . . .  
"... Breeding success varied extensively throughout the period, and its variability has increased progressively since the 1970s (Fig. 1c).  
A combination of local factors has probably contributed to the high variability in breeding success. Complete or extensive breeding failures in some years resulted from early break-out of the sea-ice holding up the colony, or from prolonged blizzards during the early chick-rearing period. Overall breeding success was not related to SST anomalies or sea-ice extent, possibly because variation was the result of a combination of confounding factors related to sea-ice conditions or weather conditions. However, the proportion of eggs that hatched a chick was negatively related to the extent of pack ice in winter (r2 = 0.284, P = 0.02), with wider pack ice resulting in lower hatching success. 
One paradoxical and unexpected result of this study is that the extent of pack ice, which is a key factor in the Antarctic ecosystem, has two opposite effects on the demographic parameters of emperor penguins. Sea-ice extent in winter negatively affects hatching success, by increasing the distance between the colony and feeding grounds. Conversely, annual sea-ice extent positively affects adult survival by increasing food availability. ..." 
(NATURE | VOL 411 | 10 MAY 2001 | www.nature.com) 
Any biologist familiar with Emperor Penguins will agree, correlations with the extent of pack ice are biologically meaningless.  Breeding success depends on a break between pack ice and fast ice, that allow penguins easy access to open water to feed. Changes in the sea ice extent is meaningless.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~  
Pretty absolute, the final word.  But a joke considering that it ignores complexities such as food availability, competing species, human interference.  
What's meaningless is Jim's certitude. 
CC typical tactic is to ridiculously suggest that because my 2000 word blog post does not encompass every argument ever about climate change, 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~  
There was no climate science in Jim's 2,000 word blog post!   
It was a bunch of complaints about penguin population studies, with huge omissions.  
Admittedly some of the issues Jim raises are real, but what he hides from his audience is that the scientists are all well aware of these issues and their is a vigor constructive debate going one and the science moves forward learning more all the time, even while some are busy cherry picking then mixing and matching their information to suit.   
More important is appreciating that those issues with penguin population studies have no bearing whatsoever on our understanding of global warming.
if I don't post an encyclopedic discussion, then I am "fraudulently" hiding and distorting the truth. I am tricking my audience. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The derisive tenor of Jim's talks and blog posts speaks for itself.  
The magnitude of the trifles he leaves out and the misleading impressions he injects also speaks volumes about malicious intent.
To deal with the greater complexities, I have written in much more detail about the other factors affecting penguins in my book. So I do not want to waste any more time on this CC post that is just mindless and rambling blather
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Learning requires a curiosity and willingness to look at all the evidence at hand.   _____________________________________
But if you have questions please contact me. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
I've tried but Jim hides. 

For more details about the penguin story and how Mr. Steele misrepresents it:

Sunday, December 28, 2014
Steele's penguin "climate horror story" YouTube series, Video 4a
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Appendix Steele's penguin "climate horror story" YouTube series, Video 4a

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
#7 Penguins, butterflies and consensus - CC/Steele Landscapesandcycles Debate


Catmando said...

Steele does not like to be confronted by his misrepresentations. He cannot handle being wrong. I confronted him once to say where he got a point about climate change in Texas from even after he had given the reference because it just wasn't there. Steele maintained what he said was true. His version of climate science is based on distortion and not a version of reality that neutral observers would recognise.

citizenschallenge said...

True enough. Though his chosen roll is to reinforce the unskeptical faithful.
He stays as far from objective observers as possible,
beside that's not where the speaking honorariums are to be found.

While the beat goes on. . . :- (