Tuesday, August 7, 2018

(Sd5) Correcting Jim Steele’s poop on Peter Miesler, aka citizenschallenge.

Since I have Jim Steele’s attention (among others) it’s time to respond to his 2015 LandscapesAndCycles’s blog article: “Clarifying Peter Miesler’s (aka CitizenChallenged) Dishonest Internet Sniping: Emperor Penguins” before moving on to my recent FCFP column.

My investigation into Jim Steele and his LandscapesAndCycles nonsense was/is also intended for students of the climate science disinformation campaign, as a dissection of arguments and strategies.  Along with a close up look at their amoral bare-knuckles approach to winning arguments, while dispensing with truth and honesty as their free speech right. 

Thus the concept of malicious abuse of our free speech rights - along with an example of what I call direct constructive intellectual confrontation.  Sure “engagement” is better, but sometimes one must confront before serious engagement is possible.  

Jim Steele’s blog post:

Clarifying Peter Miesler’s (aka CitizenChallenged) 
Dishonest Internet Sniping: Emperor Penguins
has the highlighted background - Complete as he wrote it, I added only some red highlights, I have not done any courtesy spell corrections, thus allowing Jim to shine through.

Jim Steele's introduction: Miesler is not a scientist nor does he understand biology. He is simply obsessed withe discrediting any skeptical interpretation. 
I never claimed to be a scientist.

Jim Steele is not a scientist either. 

He has a middling biology background and his career was spent as camp director at the San Francisco State College Sierra Nevada camp; trail guide for college students; and he made a local name for himself as an astute bird watcher.  

Bet you can’t find a peer reviewed research paper authored by the guy, I sure haven’t been able to.  

Yet, Steele has no problem implying he’s some sort of authority on biology and any number of species, all thanks to his vaunted title “SFSU Emeritus Instructor.”  Mind you, it’s not due to any comprehensive scientific studies, which he’s never produced.  
He (cc) refuses to accept any and all evidence that refutes climate driven extinction. 
Steele may I ask, what pray tell seriously "refutes climate driven extinction fears"?  

Do you know anything about the consequences of past major climate changes on Earth?

Steele’s repeated ridicule of the general fears regarding long term AGW driven extinctions and catastrophic climate change reveals a frightful, if not ignorance, then call it state of denial regarding fundamental biology and a warming biosphere: 
Climate Impacts on Ecosystems
  • Overview
  • Timing of Seasonal Life-Cycle Events
  • Range Shifts
  • Food Web Disruptions
  • Threshold Effects
  • Pathogens, Parasites, and Disease
  • Extinction Risks
Biological consequences of global warming: (was) the signal already apparent (in 2000) ? 
Mass extinctions and climate change: why the speed of rising greenhouse gases matters - March 23, 2016  

also of basic math and how it related to the reality we inhabit.  Okay I’m no expert, but Dr. Albert Bartlett was, take a listen,

Dr. Albert Bartlett, Professor Emeritus in Nuclear Physics
or for more detailed version:
Arithmetic, Population and Energy - FULL LENGTH
Because my career has been dedicated to improving environmental stewardship, he seems overly obsessed with discrediting my essays and assassinating character. 
The victim saint? 

Ironic, considering Steele’s own nasty and melodramatic adjectives and his full frontal assault against his perceived enemies.

Listen to that IEEE talk, it’s saturated with Jim confusing the science and belittling genuinely accomplished professionals.  
Lacking any background in science, he quickly mis-characterizes any discussions he doesn’t understand,  to assert my words must be lies or deception.
Lacking any background?  What does Steele know?

This should be about the facts, not the messenger.

But since Jim wants to make a big deal out of it - I’m a life long student of evolution and Earth sciences with a passion for understanding our planet, her biosphere, geophysical processes and humanity’s place in it.   I first learned about anthropogenic global warming in high school science classes because of my love for understanding how our planet operates.

When and why did Steele get interested in global warming science?  Was it a result of his hatred for our government and taxes, like his pal Anthony Watts?  Or was it something else?

Instead of letters after my name, I have over a half century of honest curiosity and pro-actively searching out and absorbing the knowledge scientists have worked so hard to attain and unlike Steele I don't think I'm smarter than real experts  
But you be the judge-

Worth adding is that I’ve made the effort to reach out and correspond with the scientists that Jim has committed his calumny against.

February 7, 2015
Jim Steele watt's up with your venomous self-indignation?

Dear Jim Steele,
With time to reflect, I'm confused by your display of moral outrage in that January 7th WUWT broadside? Come on, lighten up, you should recognize the Shakespearian overtones and appreciate we were made for each other.  
Besides, it was you who jumped into my lil climate change sparing camp over at SkepticForum back last spring.... you were the big shot daring anyone to dispute your nonsense.  Did you really think I was going to allow your Republican/libertarian "hey no worries, it's all a hoax" challenge to go unanswered?  Then in your IEEE 'climate science horror' series and LandscapesAndCycle you're the one that told folks to check original sources.  
Well, I have and I've received responses including many full texts of published studies from:
Dr. Ainley,
Dr. Breckner,
Dr. Fretwell,
Dr. Guillaume,
Dr. Jenouvrier,
Dr. Kaiser,
Dr. Kato,
Dr. La Rue,
Dr. Tate,
with a couple still in the pipeline.

Be happy!  Here we are, "Citizenschallenge" vs. "LandscapesAndCycles"

You the defending champ of "NoWorries - it's a hoax" 
Me the advocate for "Learning about our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine"  
Please take into account that I started complaining about Steele’s deception in his IEEE talk:

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

Example 1.
I (Steele) 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”
 deception in his IEEE talk and he mixes the two:
Please notice Steele offers no citation or quote.
Meisler emails:
Meisler 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".
Hmmm.  Okay, here’s my email to San Francisco State and it reflects my response to a couple not so vailed threats.

January 25, 2015

Dear Mr. Steele, regarding your 1/7/15 WUWT post - an open letter…

Yesterday I became aware of a shocking, misinformation laced "Watts Up With That" blog post written about me January 7th by our good Mr. Steele.  Considering Anthony Watts won't allow me to comment at WUWT it seems appropriate to share this email I've just sent to Mr. Steele (among others).  I won't be responding to the specifics in that contorted dishonest WUWT blog post.  Although I'll be happy to answer any questions submitted to the comments sections after this open letter.
To whom it may concern,
Ms. Mendoza, Assistant to the Dean, San Francisco State University 
Ms. Griffin, Public Affairs, San Francisco State University 
Ms. Kelly, Academic Affairs, San Francisco State University 
Mother Jones
Four Corners Free Press
Climate Science Defense Fund

I am copying you on this email to Mr. Jim Steele because I feel seriously threatened by your emeritus instructor (www.sfsu.edu/~sierra/Instructor_JimSteele.html) and I'm hoping for an objective moderating arbiter.  I do appreciate Mr. Steele has a bone to pick with me, for reasons best understood by reviewing: 

INDEX - Jim Steele's climate science horror collection, Landscapesandcycles, 2014 

But, I believe I've written nothing to justify the viciousness and misleading prose of his recent WUWT article - over a matter that would best be handed with dispassionate dialogue.
In contrast to the clear attribution of my statements, 
The point is, Steele’s quote, along with his colorful delivery, is not in the Barbraud paper, nor in anything Ainley ever said!  

It’s that sort of malicious tweaking of facts and the constant injection of uninformed judgmentalism, where simple honest constructive education based on objective evidence and the experts best understanding is what’s called for. 

That’s why I’m calling out Mr. Steele.
Miesler’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 Mielser, if he is totally blind. Only if that is true, then I apologize for thinking the worst about him.

Nonetheless Miesler emailed me and Dr. Ainley, highlighting my paragraph above, and then Miesler 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 Miesler tries to manipulate) do not realize, is they are responding to Miesler’s fabricated world that have twisted my words. That raises the likelihood that Miesler is a chronic liar or worse.
Here’s what I wrote and also how Dr. Ainley clarified the story:

Question re your "drowning chicks" claim 
January 9, 2015

Jim Steele
John R Blair, Director of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus
Dr. Ainley

Mr. Steele,
I'm trying to track down the claim you made before the IEEE audience (and at your blog) that scientists have stated that baby penguins are falling through ice cracks and drowning.  From the video "Penguins, Polar Bears and Sea Ice by JIm Steele - Part 4 of your YouTube Presentation to the Life Members of the International Electrical and Electronic Engineers:

1:00 - ... So they nest on fast ice.  "Fast ice" is ice that's fastened to the coastline.  And that becomes real thick and that's where they breed, so the story was CO2 increases; it warms things; it melts the ice; and when ice melts, the baby chicks fall into the water and drown.  And they made allusions to this.  
[2]1:25 - Well... I asked the guy, I couldn't find any evidence of that.  I looked at satellite pictures when they were saying this.  And the guy who printed that he thought the babies were falling in because the ice was breaking out early. I said can you give me some dates so I can correlate it with satellite stuff.  And he goes to me, well, ah, it's really hard to find this right now.  So why do you publish this when you have no information, but you're pushing this as a climate horror story

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
You(Steele) don't offer a source for that claim, nor did you respond to my public request for that information.  

But since you mentioned Dr. Ainley in your talk, I contacted him and asked him about it.

"CC wrote: I tried but couldn't anything on this claim about chicks falling into the sea, so finally I emailed Dr. Ainley and asked him about it.  He responded with the following:

Dr. Ainley responded: "Peter, I don't know who them and they are, but I think the statement about chicks falling into the sea when the ice breaks out ultimately came from the Barbraud & Weimerskirch 2001 paper attached (1st complete paragraph on p 185). 

Essentially, the fast ice on which the EMPE are breeding is blown out to sea prematurely with eggs, chicks and attending adults going with it. Of course the adults are unaffected. …"

"In any case, I think the attached paper is the original source, with someone projecting some literary license to exaggerate, of the babies falling into the sea story." {my highlight}

Emperor penguins and climate change
Christophe Barbraud & Henri Weimerskirch
NATURE | VOL 411 page 185 | 10 MAY 2001 | www.nature.com
Which is the point I was making, Jim Steele freely injects his own literary license and tactical misrepresents with malicious intent.  He’s also great at creating straw men who are easy to slay.

Example 2:
Steele 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."

Miesler 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, Miesler re-directs the issue. 
Pretty weak generalization.  Notice, Steele admits those words do not come from the study.  Why is he claiming I erred?

Actually, I directed the issue to asking: Why is Steele using a population study to imply claims the study never made!
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.

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. 
Go back to “I wrote”, that’s exactly what Steele was implying, his audience should be assured by the study that Emperor Penguins “were far more resilient to any form of change.” 
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.
Well then why not say that?  Why all the bias driven re-interpretations? 

Incidentally,  warming driven changes substantially altering entire and multiple landscapes that large populations dependent on, this would indeed put those populations at increased risk - no matter how large the populations.

Example 3.
Steele 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

Miesler wrote:
“No scientist was claiming "imminent extinction" - take a look:”
Here’s the part Steele censored for his audience,

Effects of climate change on an emperor penguin population: analysis of coupled demographic and climate models"

"... Uncertainty is included by incorporating multiple climate models and by a parametric bootstrap procedure that includes parameter uncertainty due to both model selection and estimation error. The median of these simulations predicts a decline of the Terre Adélie emperor penguin population of 81% by the year 2100. We find a 43% chance of an even greater decline, of 90% or more. 

The uncertainty in population projections reflects large differences among climate models in their forecasts of future sea ice conditions. ..."

My point, no scientist was claiming “imminent extinction” - that’s Steele’s political theater at work!  And if media articles were printing that, then blame the media, don’t insult the scientists!
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.” 

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
A most dishonest tactic of GOP contrarian types, they go on as though scientists are responsible for sensational news headlines and inaccurate stories.  

Although, read those linked stories, they seem reasonable.  There is also the reality unfolding, ignoring it doesn't make it go away.

April, 24 2018
Mass penguin deaths in New Zealand a climate change ‘wake-up call’

Thousands of little blue penguins—the world’s smallest penguin species—are washing up dead on the beaches of New Zealand’s northeast coast, in a mass death event that occurs every two decades or so

Michael Slezak, October 13, 2017
Penguin disaster as only two chicks survive from colony of 40,000

A colony of about 40,000 Adélie penguins in Antarctica has suffered a “catastrophic breeding event” – all but two chicks have died of starvation this year. It is the second time in just four years that such devastation – not previously seen in more than 50 years of observation – has been wrought on the population.
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. 
What’s with the “contradicts earlier claims” - these are scientists reporting on the new data they have gathered using revolutionary new methods.  

In addition to earlier data - not claims.  
Why always the nasty spin Jim?

Conclusions are based on the evidence at hand, new data brings surprises, its the march of science.
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 Steele feels free using inflammatory wording like “imminent” when no scientist says imminent extinction - or “unlearn” and “contradicted herself” when it’s about gathering more evidence and, as always, allowing the facts to drive one’s conclusions.

Example 4.
Steele 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."
Abandon what?  

The record of observations that were made back then?

Barbraud and Weimerskirch (2001) 

"Between 1952 and 2000, the emperor penguin colony located near Dumont d'Urville Station (66.7V S, 140.0V E) in Terre Adélie was monitored continuously, generating the longest data set available on an Antarctic marine predator. Data from the meteorological station 500 m from the colony shows that, after a period of stability in the 1960s (average temperatures -17.3 VC), winter temperatures began to vary extensively and were high throughout the 1970s until the early 1980s (average -14.7 VC); they then decreased but remained variable until the present time. No trend was detectable for the summer temperatures. The breeding population of emperor penguins was stable until the mid-1970s, but declined abruptly by 50% in the late 1970s and has stabilized since (Fig. 1b)."
and “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.
Curious how Steele can make such a self-certain dismiss of the understanding of recognized experts in their field.  

After all, Steele never researched penguins.

Besides he ignores well recognized details such as this,

Emperor penguins threatened by Antarctic sea ice loss

July 21, 2012 - Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
The authors stress that their projections contain large uncertainties, because of the difficulties in projecting both climate change and the response of penguins. {the same caveat appears in their earlier papers}  However, almost all of their computer simulations pointed to a significant decline in the colony at Terre Adélie, a coastal region of Antarctica where French scientists have conducted penguin observations for more than 50 years. 
“Our best projections show roughly 500 to 600 breeding pairs remaining by the year 2100,” says lead author Stéphanie Jenouvrier, a WHOI biologist. “Today, the population size is around 3,000 breeding pairs.”

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

This is another example of Miesler's blinding obsession that is simply dedicated to character assassination. My following sentences most definitely did “follow-up” but Miesler could comprehend that because he has no science background or skill.
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”.  
Only if one ignores the available information.  
Let Suzanne Goldenberg explain some reasons why sea ice does matter to Emperor Penguins: 

“Warming Puts Emperor Penguins at Risk of Extinction”  
July 6, 2014

As a top predator in Antarctica, the main threat to emperor penguins’ survival comes from climate change which is melting the sea ice.

The loss of sea ice is reducing the supply of krill, the tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that populate the Southern Ocean, and are the emperor penguins’ main food source. Young krill feed off of algae living in the sea ice. When the ice goes, so do the krill.

Changes in the ice around Antarctica may - in the short term - boost some of the emperor penguin populations, especially along the Ross Sea, the researchers said. Sea ice off the western coast of Antarctica has been on the increase, because of break-up of glaciers and winds.

But by 2100, all 45 known emperor penguin colonies of Antarctica will be on the decline because of loss of sea ice.

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.
So Steele is saying Barbraud, Jenouvrier, and their teams aren’t familiar with penguins or biology?  Really Mr. Steele? 

Take a look at C. Barbraud’s track record:

and Steele calls me ridiculous for believing their stories over his opinion?
Miesler's typical tactic is to ridiculously suggest that because my 2000 word blog post does not encompass every argument ever about climate change, if I don't post an encyclopedic discussion, then I am "fraudulently" hiding and distorting the truth. I am tricking my audience.
A bit melodramatic still true enough, but not so ridiculous. 

Key components matters, deliberate omissions matter, misrepresenting facts matters, vandalizing the good reputations of honorable professionals matters.
 To deal with the greater complexities, I have written in much more detail about the other factors affecting penguins in my book. 
That would be lots more handwaving.  

Incidentally, I have some 50 posts that detail specific errors, issues and complaints regarding Steele’s greater complexities.   There might be some mistakes, lets look at them honestly and find out.
So I do not want to waste any more time on this Miesler post that is just mindless and rambling blather
But if you have questions please contact me. 
Bold words, ironically this was posted within the confines of Steele’s blog where comments are not permitted.

Feigned superiority, then disappear into hiding.  That’s not the behavior of someone who is intellectually secure, or competent in his product, but it sure is typical of the self-styled "skeptics" I've pursued.

Steele loves being in control of the narrative and anyone offering corrections, critiques or objections to his calculated misdirections is considered a personal enemy and treated as such.  That’s certainly not the scientific rationalist approach to learning. 

Steele’s approach is nothing less than a bare-knuckles amoral political fight.

Steele is but one little outbreak, still he’s a fractal worth studying and publicly discrediting.  Since, he’s such an telling example of the alt-right’s winning strategy of replacing honesty and constructive debate with ME FIRST bullying and a refusal to listen to facts; or to consider our planet’s physical reality; or to others knowledge and concerns. 

January 1, 2018
2018, now what? Considering the Problem in 14 VERSES.


citizenschallenge said...

I shared this with Jim Steele after posting it, he was courteous enough to acknowledge receipt, but just barely.
For the record this is what he wrote:

Jim Steele 9:55 AM August 8, 2018:

This country boy had to google it: "too long; didn't read"
Jim can't be bothered.

citizenschallenge said...

Next time you hear Steele bad mouthing scientists for not wanting to debate with him,
why not share this invitation.