The latest SwiftHack meme: ‘Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL’ outrage

It’s odd how some (sticky? viral?) memes propagate through the denialosphere. The classic example is how “hockey stick” lost all of its original context, and soon there was very little that was not a “hockey stick” according to the denialosphere: from the temperature projections in the AR4 to pre-industrial vs. current CO2 levels. And through an apparent belief in sympathetic magic, all it took was the labeling of something as a “hockey stick” in order to discredit it in the eyes of a certain audience.

The SwiftHack “scandal” is proving to be no different. “Hide the decline” has metamorphosed from the truncation of certain dendro proxy data post-”divergence”  into a fraudulent artificial inflation of, by turns:

  • the global surface temperature record
  • the US surface temperature record (occasionally with unrelated graphics of real NCDC adjustments)
  • GCM projections of future warming

And so on. They’re not really sure what it means, but they’re sure that it’s undeniable evidence of fraud and the global Gore-Commie conspiracy. It’s humorous to watch this spring up repeatedly in comment sections of forums and the like, as the reality-based community seems to be all over it. You can still see it popping up, but its “juice” has been diminished incredibly.

The latest (I’m sure as I write this something new is coming down the pike) meme concerns two nearly identical snippets of code in “briffa_sep98_d.pro” and “briffa_sep98_e.pro”, e.g. at RealClimate here and here, and addressed at Deltoid here. The code comments talked about “arifical” [sic] adjustments and “fudge factors”, and as such it is being taken as undeniable proof of Something Nefarious.

The code in question appears to “test the sensitivity of certain calculations to the presence or absence” of the post 1960 divergence problem in Briffa’s MXD archive. It does not appear to have been used in any published paper, figure, or data set. [Denialists can feel free to set me straight on that- you've got a fixed range in which the publication had to occur, the name of at least one coauthor, the archive it supposedly en-fraud-ulates, and a pretty good idea about what this adjustment will look like] In spite of this, if you’ll find claims that this bit of code is in fact:

  • “Mike’s Nature trick”
  • Phil Jones’s use of “Mike’s Nature trick”
  • fabricated warming in the global surface temperature record
  • fabricated warming in the US surface temperature record
  • fabricated warming inserted into the projections of GCMs

And so on.

I’m guessing that we can expect to this sort of thing repeated over and over and over again for weeks if not months to come. A line in an email, some snippets of code, etc. will be trotted out (completely excised of content) with no grasp of what it actually means as the newest Proof That Definitely Shows Global Warming Is Fake And We’re Serious This Time. The supporting evidence will be non-existent, the explanations of what the “proof” does will be incoherent and self-contradictory, but the confidence with which it will be paraded around will be unshakable. It will be the final nail in the coffin of radiative transfer the hippie scam.

Until the next one.

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6 responses to “The latest SwiftHack meme: ‘Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL’ outrage

  1. Benjamin Steele

    I’m glad to see some other blogger who isn’t being taken in by the anti-scientific outrage. I just wrote a post about this topic as well.

    http://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/climate-change-scandalous-e-mails-and-wendell-berry-2/

  2. Benjamin Steele

    I’m glad to see some other blogger who isn’t being taken in by the anti-scientific outrage. I just wrote a post about this topic as well.

    http://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/climate-change-scandalous-e-mails-and-wendell-berry-2/

  3. Benjamin Steele

    I wanted to mention one other thing. You might want to change your tags because your post isn’t being listed with most of the other posts wordpress bloggers have written. If you added the tags ‘swifthack’ and ‘climategate’, more people would see your post.

  4. Thanks for this. You should see what deepclimate and desmogblog have found out about those in denial being financed by big oil and conservative think tanks, and how those in denial subverted the peer-review process and published pseudo-science. That is the true “ClimateGate”

    For more go to deepclimate.org and
    desmogblog.org

    Please keep confronting those in denial with science and facts. Those seem to be at least two of the primary things that those in denial cannot tolerate or get right.

  5. Pingback: Deniers are gleeful about the CRU emails | Rationality Now

  6. Strange that you should use the viral meme terminology. Look up “viral memetic infection” and you’ll see that this is more than about trashing science and scientists — it is about spreading cult-like thinking.

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