The bully children have taken over at!


Typically, is filled with very useful (and sometimes difficult to grasp) scientific discussion. I have frequently commented about their site and usually I am complimentary (although they have slammed this site a few times).

Unfortunately, their latest article is reprehensible or at least foolish. I commented on their site but I don’t expect that my criticisms will survive their moderation. If they do publish it, I am sure their many supporters will condemn me. I am reproducing the bulk of my opinions here for you to decide.

To save you the effort of clicking over to their site, 6 of their author panel has challenged the authors of a Nature magazine article to a bet of 2500 Euros if their prediction is not true. They even taunt the scientists to say that surely if they are at least 50% confident in their predictions that this would be easy money.

I find this post to be at best foolish and at worst reprehensible. To make the claim that if someone doesn’t accept a silly bet that they must not believe in their published article is childish. I would expect the same behavior from 10 year old boys on the playground. I am sure that the multiple authors of this challenge thought that this would be a good idea in the heat of the moment but I hope that they have the maturity to realize that it was poor judgment after a few nights sleep and pull this ludicrous article.

Is the new standard that all scientific articles should be judged by in the future? The scientist must not only put his reputation on the line by publishing the article for all to review and discuss but also must be willing to accept all monetary bets that dissenters throw out? To think that this site actually condemned others for paid speaking engagements in NYC a few weeks back. Where is the “discussing ideas and data in order to advance scientific understanding” (their words from their Jan 30 post).

Is 2500 Euros the market rate for a challenge? While I don’t have the personal resources to cover the bet, would the authors of take the bet for 50 million Euros? Since it is obvious that they believe their predictions more than 50%, this would be a lifestyle changing gift. Unfortunately, I can’t make such a bet because I am not independently wealthy but the absurdity of my suggestion is indicative of their poor judgement in starting this battle.

What happened to the common courtesy of yesteryear when if there was a disagreement between gentlemen they shook hands and engaged in a “gentleman’s bet”. Even the crooks in “Trading Places” only bet one dollar when they ruined two peoples lives. Perhaps we should go back to the time of Hamilton and Burr and these guys can fight for their honor with dueling pistols.

At one time I thought was populated by scientists that were trying to explain complicated science. I guess I was wrong, it is run by children that want to show that they can beat up on others.

What’s next from Mssrs. Rahmstorf, Mann, Bradley, Connolley, Archer, and Ammann? Will they defend Vice President Al Gore’s recent comments that the massive deaths in Myanmar are due to global warming?

I take back my above comparison to 10 year old children. I believe that they are probably more civilized in that they usually just resort to the loud “TOLD YOU SO!”

I have request for all of my readers that have taken the time to read to the end of this article. Go to and tell them that this “bet” idea is foolish and they should be ashamed of themselves. Maybe then they will get the hint and stick with discussing science. If you disagree with me, tell me here or tell me there – I won’t even bet you on the disagreement.

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9 thoughts on “The bully children have taken over at!”

  1. Varmus Frank says:

    Very nice diary. Before I read it I had thought the RealClimate bet a good way of showing that the German science team didn’t really trust in it’s own results. You’ve made excellent points here. Regardless of whether the science team has made a legitimate prediction here, they shouldn’t be expected to put down money to back it up. Let the peer review take its course.

  2. tim maguire says:

    Good post. Time is the only thing that will validate or invalidate the claims of the Nature writers. The bet does not change that and the author’s acceptance or rejection of th ebet is irrelevant to the truth value of the aritcle.

    This bet is indicative of the cheerleading attitude that prevails on that site. However more qualified as scientists they might be than me, I rarely visit the site for enlightenment because they are clearly rooting for a team and not simply trying to make the best sense of confusing facts.

  3. admin says:

    Update on this discussion for everyone.

    Evidently, I am being blacklisted at RealClimate now as my comments in their discussion are not being added to the mix. I don’t know how many others are making comments there (I can tell there are some) but it is frustrating that my comments are being edited out of the stream. Obviously this is a good way to control the conversation.

  4. Nick says:

    I’ve a strong suspicion they black list email address.


  5. admin says:

    The folks over at are now admitting that they have not posted some of my comments about not doing this as a gentleman’s bet. Gavin replied to a question about the editing in comment 168.

    Just so my readers are clear, all of my comments on that site were respectful of them and allowed that making a gentleman’s bet (small amount of money or some regional item). I even pointed out that recent mayor bet between New York and Boston for the Super Bowl (Clam Chowder) was a good example.

    I also posted a response to comment 72 that someone must have posted on another site to get so many people to comment. I admitted in a comment that was never published that I had done that on this site.

    Yes, I was critical of the various writers of RealClimate but they evidently would not have that criticism voiced on their pages. I have no idea if their editors blocked other critics.

    Since I am concerned that my last comment will also get blocked, I am reproducing it here:
    “Re. 168. Gentlemen, I do not think that my comments on your site fall into the “tirade and misrepresentation” bucket. If you think that I am putting up a misrepresentation then publish it and poke holes in my logic. I wasn’t doing a tirade because I was simply responding to other comments that were left. I see no reason for you to hold back my comments. Do you really mean to be so Orwellian? I begin to wonder how many other comments get edited out because they are critical of your logic.”

  6. Nick says:

    Likewise. I offered them a bet. Every month that temperatures were above IPCC prediction, I pay them X. Every month it is below, they pay me.

    Clearly a fair 50-50 bet.

    That fell into their “tirade and misrepresentation” bucket.

    If they can’t allow straightforward comments and critiques of their ‘science’, they’ve clearly lost the argument.


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