This was originally posted as a spoof disclosure of the BBC drama’s script. But now that the programme has been aired, this article simply serves as a reminder that sometimes the truth can be funnier than its spoof.

——————

Scene 1: Dr Phil Jones is at home with his wife knitting gloves for orphaned babies, when the telephone rings.

Telephone: Ring, ring.

Dr Jones: Hello, Dr Jones speaking.

Pause

Dr Jones: No! Say it’s not true. That’s not possible. I had already told everyone to delete them.

Pause

Dr Jones: Okay, I’ll be in first thing in the morning.

Mrs Jones: Is there a problem darling?

Dr Jones: Possibly. The Dean wants to see me first thing. There has been a security breach and some things I said in some emails may be given a lot of publicity.

Mrs Jones: But surely that’s a good thing. Your friend Michael always seems to think so.

Dr Jones: Yes, I know my sweet. But these are things that the Dean thinks won’t look good once they have been taken out of context and deliberately misconstrued.

Mrs Jones: But who would do such a thing?

Dr Jones: Oh my darling, you are so naïve, and that’s why I love you. The truth is that there are people out there who want to destroy the world and the only way they can do that is if they first destroy my reputation as a top class scientist who always tells the truth.

Mrs Jones: But darling, that is the truth isn’t it? Darling, why are you looking at me like that?

——————

Scene 2: The Dean’s office.

Dean: Ah, Phil. Do come in and take a seat. I’m afraid the CRU is in a spot of bother. You see, there has been a leak.

Dr Jones: By that, do you mean cyberterrorism perpetrated by climate change deniers?

Dean: We will say that, but the truth is we don’t know. But that’s not important right now. We need to talk about your email correspondence. Some of it looks a bit dodgy.

Dr Jones: For example?

Dean: Well what about this one here where you talk about ‘Nature’s Trick’?

Dr Jones: I simply meant that the deception we pulled off in an article in Nature could be used again for our latest slide show. What’s wrong with that? I think you will find that ‘deception’ is innocent mathematical terminology.

Dean: That’s good. We’ll use that one. ‘Trick’ is an ambiguous term and we can play on that. But what about ‘Hiding the decline’? That seems to disambiguate somewhat.

Dr Jones: Not at all. We were not hiding anything that shouldn’t have been hidden.

Dean: Keep talking.

Dr Jones: Well, we all know that temperatures have continued to rise, so showing a proxy temperature reconstruction that goes the other way would only confuse. We didn’t want to confuse the audience. Hence, ‘Hide the decline’.

Dean: But doesn’t that also mean that you hid from the audience the fact that the proxy reconstruction was totally unreliable?

Dr Jones: Your point being?

Dean: Okay, let’s move on. What about this where you said that the death of <redacted> was ‘in a way good news’?

Dr Jones: Banter.

Dean: What?

Dr Jones: Yes, it’s all banter really. Besides which, the Christians said the same thing regarding the death of Jesus but no one is going after them – well, not any more.

Dean: Yes, but Jesus was one of us. We can’t say such things about our opponents. It’s not a good look.

Dr Jones looks hurt.

Dean: Okay, I’ll write down ‘just banter’. But we also need to talk about this one where you say that you aren’t going to hand over the data to someone who just wants to prove you wrong.

Dr Jones: But you have to understand what a pillock this guy was. Every day, questions, questions, questions. No matter how much we stonewalled him, he just wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t get any work done. How am I to save the world with such distraction? I am the head of the CRU, part of the finest academic organisation in the world. My word should have been enough. Oh but no! This guy wanted to see data. He was obsessed with data. That’s the sort of person I was dealing with.

Dean: But couldn’t you have just handed it over?

Dr Jones: You wouldn’t be asking that if you had seen it.

Dean: Even so, scientific method and all that.

Dr Jones: So what are you saying? Do you want my resignation?

Dean: God no! We have the reputation of the UEA to think about. But there is going to have to be an investigation, and I am going to have to make quite a few phone calls to my friends in the Royal Society. I just needed to talk to you first to get the story straight. I’ve written down ‘cyberterrorists, banter and mathematical jargon’. Is that it?

Dr Jones: Yep, that just about covers it. Will that be all?

Dean: Yes Phil. You go home to your good wife now and take some time off to finish the orphans’ knitwear. Don’t worry about anything. We scientists stick together.

Dr Jones: Thank you Dean.

Dr Jones gets up to leave.

Dean: Oh! There is just one more thing that I almost forgot. What’s this about the Freedom of Information requests?

Dr Jones: Oh fuck!

THE END

86 Comments

  1. Not too sure we had a Dean. Head of School was a female Social Scientist, very anxious to protect the well being of CRU staff, and so blew her top at the evilness of climate sceptics. The head of UEA, Ed Acton, was a Vice Chancellor and a Russian history specialist. Much has been made of this, but Machiavelli was Italian not Russian wasn’t he? Ed would have taken advice/instruction from the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research who was an ex head of CRU and so totally unprejudiced. So I don’t know who your fictional Professor Phil Jones was being interviewed by, but as a partial script it will be spellbindingly riveting when enacted. Will be interested to read scene 3 where a newly invigorated Phil Jones raises high the Great Hockey Stick of Mann and vows vengeance upon the climate-wicked.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Alan,

    I had Acton in mind but I didn’t want to write out ‘Vice Chancellor’ every time. I was rather relying upon my version not being read by someone such as yourself who knows better. I suspect that the BBC will be hoping something similar. Just go with it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. John. For the past two days have been trawling through Cliscep articles written around the tenth anniversary of Climategate. Very interesting. A palpable pawl of disappointment that the email and computer code release did not result in more tangible results, and renewed anger that investigations meant to identify the guilty produced only respite for academics that had clearly misbehaved. I expect that the deliberately timed The Trick will regenerate the same feelings amongst those of us with clear eyesight.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. ALAN
    UEA has an article on its website about the forthcoming BBC film
    https://stories.uea.ac.uk/the-story-behind-the-trick/
    titled: “The Truth will set you free.”

    Some of the lies therein:

    – those stolen emails and documents were crudely misrepresented by climate deniers
    – a global media storm, which came to be known as Climategate, focused its attention on one man – Professor Phil Jones
    – Prof Edward Acton .. will not easily forget the way “reason was drowned out by the din from the climate change deniers’ echo chamber and their fellow-travellers in the media”.
    – “UEA was in the firing line only because its work was of such immense significance, helping in effect to redefine the human predicament,” he says.
    “There was a sense of menace. Of malign, partly anonymous, but well-funded figures determined to discredit science and undermine UEA.”

    Like

  5. Has anyone here seriously considered that the emails were mostly taken out of context and that even if it indicated that some conduct wasn’t as ideal as might have been hoped, there was little in the way of actual wrongdoing?

    Like

  6. ATTP,

    Have you ever seriously considered that every single one of us had seriously considered that the emails were mostly taken out of context and that even if it indicated that some conduct wasn’t as ideal as might have been hoped, there was little in the way of actual wrongdoing — before we had totally rejected the idea?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. No Ken. It doesn’t work like that. Your question was implying that we hadn’t thought about the issue enough. My counter-question was implying that you fail to give us credit for having done so.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. ATTP
    As I pointed out here:
    https://wordpress.com/comment/cliscep.com/95844

    The “context” argument is absolutely false. It was precisely the bloggers who provided the context which makes sense of the emails, and reveals the seriousness of the matter. Destroying an email, or changing the date on a paper, or keeping an article out of magazine might seem fairly innocent examples of academic bitchiness, until you add the context of work on an international report aimed at guiding the world’s affairs for the rest of the century.

    This was one of the occasions when blogging made history. Dozens, maybe hundreds of people came together on threads at WUWT and Climate Audit to make senses of a ragbag of contextless emails. What you have there is a record of collective problem solving that couldn’t exist before the internet. (I mean the record couldn’t exist. Any decent history of revolutionary events, e.g. Reed’s “Ten Days that Shook the World” on the Bolshevik revolution, records that this is what happens in critical situations, and many observers, like Reed, record the seemingly miraculous nature of such events.) Truly, a miracle happened.

    Now, even without context, there are dozens of comments which demonstrate grave wrongdoing. You know that. You know that deleting emails, getting editors sacked and preventing articles from being published because you disagree with them is wrong don’t you? What the context provided by bloggers did was explain, and to some extent exculpate Jones, in demonstrating that he was simply part of a bigger racket, and by no means the leading figure. And the BBC and UEA are insisting it’ all about Jones, the poor sod, and he doesn’t seem to disagree. And Jones and Trevor Davies and Edward Acton and Sheers and the BBC are all uttering lies that can be disproved with a simple quote from the emails, and they don’t care, because no-one is going to do that anywhere that matters. Because deniers are “malign, partly anonymous, but well-funded figures” with the power to set back human progress ten years, but utterly incapable of getting the truth published in any mainstream media.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. > Destroying an email, or changing the date on a paper, or keeping an article out of magazine might seem fairly innocent examples of academic bitchiness, until you add the context of work on an international report aimed at guiding the world’s affairs for the rest of the century.

    I heartily agree, Geoff – a conspiracy theory means little without conspiracy ideation.

    Like

  10. WILLARD
    In the paragraph of mine that you quote I didn’t draw what I think is the obvious conclusion. Just to be clear, it is this:
    ..and given the context (preparation of IPCC reports aimed at guiding economic and energy policy for the world for decades to come) what might seem like isolated examples of academic bitchiness becomes an organised misdirection of science for political ends. It took George Monbiot five minutes to see that Jones should resign (and six months to repent of this insight.)

    As you heartily agree with my interpretation of the importance of the context, I assume you agree with my conclusion. Or do you have some other interpretation of destruction of emails, hiding unwanted data, etc.?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Willard,

    There is no conspiracy ideation in what Geoff has pointed out — only a context that heightens the need for scientific integrity and therefore further justifies the concern of onlookers.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. As far as I’m aware, no emails were deleted, no papers were secretly kept out of the IPCC reports, and no data was hidden. So, is your view that we should punish people for what they said in what was intended to be a private email, even if nothing nefarious actually happened? In some cases, there are even valid interpretations that are not consistent with nefarious intent.

    Like

  13. Geoff,

    It is important that you use the correct terminology. You insist on referring to ‘lies’ when Owen has already explained that they are condensed complexities. It is an artistic trick on a par with Phil’s ‘mathematical’ one.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ATTP,

    ‘Nefarious intent’.

    I like that one. So do we now need to discuss whether nefarious intent sits easily on the throne of climate science?

    Like

  15. Geoff. You could have warned me about the contents of UEA’s puff piece about the “much put upon” Professor Phil Jones. I almost choked when I read

    “ All my working life it has been very important to me to be a good, ethical scientist. When I was called a fraud or a charlatan, I felt attacked to the very core ”.

    The second part I buy; the first, not so much.

    I never dare put questions about climate change into exams testing student understanding of my taught modules. I knew such questions were likely to be second marked by someone from CRU and I didn’t trust them to be fair and accommodating to students who may have reached different views to their own and expressed this in their answers. That probably tells you everything you need to know about how much I judged their ethical worth with respect to this particular quality.

    Clearly Jones hasn’t reread his own emails lately. Jones wasn’t the only CRUite being targeted, but he may have been the most sensitive to having his emails released and criticised.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. ALAN
    Sorry not to warn you. The shocking stuff to me was the quotes from Professor Acton, about “malign, partly anonymous, but well-funded figures determined to discredit science and undermine UEA.” Wot, no Protocols of the Elders of Zion? He’s a historian, expert on Alexander Herzen and the Russian revolution for Gaia’s sake.

    Acton says he will not easily forget the way “reason was drowned out by the din from the climate change deniers’ echo chamber and their fellow-travellers in the media. UEA was in the firing line only because its work was of such immense significance, helping in effect to redefine the human predicament.”

    I always thought the human predicament was something to do the meaning of life and mortality, the sources of evil, the big questions of religion and morality. If Jones has really “helped redefine the human predicament,” by dividing the globe into big squares and estimating the temperature in one square with strategic infilling from a square next door, I suppose we should thank him for it. He’s certainly simplified the work of philosophers.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. > As you heartily agree with my interpretation of the importance of the context, I assume you agree with my conclusion.

    Holy non sequitur, Geoff! I don’t agree with your interpretation of the importance of the context, whatever that means. I only agree with you that without conspiracy ideation, no conspiracy theory can haz any legs.

    Something tells me that you’re conflating context from the contrarians’ interpretation of it. That wouldn’t be a first.

    Like

  18. Willard:

    without conspiracy ideation, no conspiracy theory can haz any legs.

    True. If you don’t have a tendency to believe conspiracy theories, you won’t tend to believe conspiracy theories. Tautology is not actually against blog rules, just irritating.

    Something tells me that you’re conflating context from the contrarians’ interpretation of it.

    So please provide context which explains why hiding declining graph lines, threatening to stop papers from being published, destroying emails etc. is ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. ATTP (14 Oct 21 8.04 am)

    As far as I’m aware, no emails were deleted, no papers were secretly kept out of the IPCC reports, and no data was hidden.

    Your lack of awareness is hardly an argument. As I suggested to Willard, if the sole defence of the emails (and hence the attack on the “malign, partly anonymous, but well-funded figures determined to discredit science..”) rests on the fact that the emails were taken out of context, then please provide a context which explains why they aren’t what they seem to be – an ongoing conspiracy by a bunch of second rate groupthinkers to meet honest enquiry and criticism with lies, subterfuge and censorship. And don’t try the “under attack” angle. The plotting to circumvent FOI predates the first FOI request.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. > If you don’t have a tendency to believe conspiracy theories, you won’t tend to believe conspiracy theories.

    I’m not talking about the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories, Geoff, but about conspiracy ideation. The point you’re trying to trivialize is quite simple. What you present as an interpretation of the context is first and foremost conspiracy ideation. Witness your “plotting to circumvent FOI predates the first FOI request.”

    Hope this helps.

    Like

  21. Mr physics, the prosecution case seems very clear. The case for the defence seems to be “it didn’t happen”. I wonder what a jury would make of it all…

    I would also like willard to explain the wider context of those emails where people openly talk about using peer review power to exclude papers from consideration.

    Like

  22. ATTP
    “What happened to innocent until proved guilty”? It was superseded by “We didn’t ask them if they’d done anything wrong, just in case they admitted they had.”

    Are you suggesting that Jones was lying when he said he’d rather destroy data than hand it over, that he’d hidden the awkward facts, that he’d keep papers out of publication etc.?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I see it like this.

    The BBC regards the hack as a cybercrime and Dr Phil Jones as a heroic victim. Technically they are probably correct on the first point; the second point is rather more subjective.

    Now change the scenario to a hypothetical one where an oil company’s emails have been hacked, and one of the released emails refers to “hide the emissions” and another refers to “Alan’s geology trick”. I cannot in my wildest dreams see the BBC making a film about it, but if they did, the hero would be the hacker, who would be described as a whistle blower rather than as a cyber criminal. The villain would be the person whose emails had been made public, the nasty “big oil” money-grubber.

    One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. WILLARD
    Of course my interpretation of the context is conspiracy ideation (= “the capacity for or the act of forming or entertaining ideas” – Merriam Webster.)

    I see Jones saying “delete all emails” and I form or entertain the idea that he’s plotting to hide things. The context is dozens of other emails suggesting the same thing. Now what’s the context that you see that shows I’m wrong?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Guys,

    “But emails” is dead. You need to move on. But if you insist, here’s a better allegory:

    My MP3 collection contains some copyrighted music I have purchased and some non-copyrighted music. Over the years I have forgotten which MP3s have copyright and which have not and it would now be time consuming for me to separate the two.

    Out of the blue an acquaintance sends me an email asking for me to send him my MP3 collection.

    I know this acquaintance runs a website where he is apt to publish the MP3s I send him. If I supply him I could get into trouble. I am not a lawyer, I just don’t want this hassle.

    So I send a reply back to him saying legal agreements prevent me from sending him the MP3s.

    After a while he sends me another message, informing me that he talked to my Sister who admits to have been given MP3s by me in the past. Therefore how can I claim legal agreements prevent such a release? He repeats his request I send him my MP3s.

    I reply that the legal agreements only allow me to send MP3s to my family. This isn’t technically true I think, but giving it to someone I trust to not publish the music publically on a website is a far cry from handing them over to someone I suspect will do so.

    Hearing that I only send MP3s to family members, he comically contacts my second cousin once removed and gets him to contact me and ask for the MP3s.

    Knowing that this cousin is just going to forward the MP3s to my acquaintance, I refuse and go back to my original stance that legal agreements preclude the release.

    He now demands I send him the legal smallprint encoded in the metadata of each MP3 to prove such legal agreements exist.

    I just cannot be bothered with this. It’s pathetic. If he really wanted the MP3s so much why doesn’t he go and buy them himself?

    I send him some smallprint anyway. He replies that some of the smallprint doesn’t even say it’s copyrighted. I am not entirely surprised, I didn’t waste time checking all of it for the sake of someone who is simply wasting my time.

    He demands I at least send him the non-copyrighted MP3s.

    Do I want to sift through my collection reading small print to decide which is copyrighted and which is not? Not for this asshole.

    I shoot him an email simply stating the release would harm my relations with the law.

    He gets uptight at this and bad-mouths me on his website, telling his regulars how my “story has changed”. Sure it has, but understandably. Nevertheless he riles up enough of his website regulars and gets dozens of them to spam my inbox with requests for MP3s.

    What a bastard.

    https://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/02/cthulhu-explains-it-all.html

    Like

  26. ATTP,

    “What happened to innocent until proven guilty? It would seem that the onus should be on those who claim wrong-doing to demonstrate this, not the other way around.”

    To what wrong-doing are you referring here? I think the charge is one of writing emails that demonstrate nefarious intent.

    At 8.04am you stated:

    “In some cases, there are even valid interpretations that are not consistent with nefarious intent.”

    The implication here, of course, is that you concede that in the remaining cases one could not find a valid interpretation other than those consistent with nefarious intent. So is it guilty as charged then?

    Anyway, I agree with Geoff. Until you can provide an example of how the interpretation seems nefarious only when the required context is not taken into account, I fear this debate will prove entertaining for everyone but valuable for no one.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Willard, just as one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, I think what constitutes a “better” allegory is in the eye of the beholder. 😉

    Like

  28. WILLARD (14 Oct 6.51 pm)
    Missing from your analogy:
    The MP3s don’t belong to you, you’re just the librarian charged with cataloguing them. You’ve remastered some of the titles, you can’t remember which ones, and you’ve thrown away the originals. You say some are copyright, but the record company says not. The recordings are, according to your boss (and 97% of musicologists) so important that they change our view of the human predicament. Other fans ask if they can hear them. You say you’d rather destroy them.

    Sensible people conclude that you’re a loony and your collection must be worthless, given how you treat it. Understandably, you disagree.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. GEOFF

    Nobody died and made you King of the Sensible People.

    Calling me a loony while playing the tone police won’t change the fact that the Auditor behaved like an asshat.

    There is no debate to speak of – you guys lost. Suck it up.

    ——–

    Willard, for your information it was I, John Ridgway, and not Geoff who moderated your last comment. No one has called you a looney, but this time I thought it would be informative to let everyone see for themselves the sort of offensive and childish contributions that I had hoped to avoid. You can come back off the naughty step if you promise to behave.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. should never let Willard loose on a thread – 1st rule in keeping the planet temp below 1.5/2.0

    Like

  31. Dfhunter,

    Willard is perfectly entitled to involve himself in this debate. However, boasting that someone has been ‘ninjaed’ whilst also accusing someone else of being high handed (even though they had already declared their position to be an opinion that can be ‘understandably’ disagreed with) is not what I was prepared to encourage. We have all indulged in that sort of rhetoric in the past, so there are no saints amongst us, but I thought we might try to keep that sort of thing out of it this time around.

    Anyway, this is all academic as far as Willard is concerned, since he has now played the ‘you have lost this argument already’ card. Of course, we did know this perfectly well the moment we read the Radio Times. But that doesn’t mean that we condone the cheating.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. > this is all academic as far as Willard is concerned,

    Thank you for probing my mind, John.

    Mark has indeed been ninjaed as I covered the concept of Freedom Fighter a few years ago already. That’s just a fact of the Internet life. It’s no big deal. And GOEFF indeed called me a loony. Search for “sensible people conclude that you’re a loony ” on this page. And no, being coy does not count.

    Perhaps I should emphasize how contrarians coyness is self-defeating. Lulzing is all well and good, but it does not replace constructive criticism. Scientists moved on since the 2000s. In fact many of them were not born when MBH was published.

    You can haz all the data and code you want nowadays. And what are our contrarians doing with them? Nothing. They rehearse old conspiracies based on stolen emails instead.

    A pity, really. So much contrarian energy that could do good.

    Like

  33. Actually, Willard, no mind probing was required. If you have already declared that there is no longer a debate to be had, there is no reason for us to be worried about the terms upon which you should be allowed to take part. That’s all I had meant by ‘academic’.

    Yes, you did cover the topic of ‘Freedom Fighters’ previously, but why does that mean Mark had been ‘ninjaed’? Couldn’t you have just remarked that you agree with him but added that he isn’t saying anything you hadn’t already? And why does the fact that you had pre-empted his point in another place mean that you are now entitled to refer to him as a ‘Freedom Fighter’ here?

    No, Geoff didn’t call you a looney. He was referring to the person represented in the allegorical account of MP3 stewardship. As you said, that wasn’t even your allegory, and so it presumably does not refer to you, even allegorically. Only Geoff’s final use of ‘you’, as in ‘Understandably, you disagree’ strikes me as ambiguous.

    The rest of your response only confirms what I had said to dfhunter regarding how academic it is to worry about the terms upon which you should be allowed to re-enter the debate. You clearly do not consider it is any longer a valid debate to be had. Fine, we have received that message, but we respectfully disagree. Injustice does not have a shelf-life. Besides which, perhaps your message should be directed towards the BBC.

    As I said, believe it or not, and despite all that has been said before, I am now genuinely concerned that a more constructive dialogue take place. If you wish to scoff at that suggestion, that’s okay. We’ll just leave it there.

    Like

  34. > If you have already declared that there is no longer a debate to be had

    I did not, dear John. There’s no debate to speak of and y’all are not debating at all. GEOFF did not present a deliberation but a mock trial. I applaud your gesturing toward a constructive dialogue. You’re still stuck with the fact that the OP is a mock trial.

    Be seeing you.

    Like

  35. If it pleases m’lud, let the records show that I don’t agree with a single word that the learned counsel has just said.

    Like

  36. WILLARD (15 Oct 2021 2.03 pm)
    No, GOEFF did not call you a loony, he was addressing the imaginary owner of the MP3s. It’s a trivial point, but it’s precisely the kind of misdirection that irritates. I don’t understand ninjaed or lulzing or haz but don’t bother to explain. If, as you claim, many scientists are less than 23 years old, that’s all we need to know. We all did and said foolish things when we were 23, but the heads of state of 200 countries didn’t hang upon our every word and order their subjects to bow down before us.

    Like

  37. anybody know what Willard means by “haz” ?

    found this from google –
    “The heat affected zone (HAZ) is a non-melted area of metal that has undergone changes in material properties as a result of being exposed to high temperatures. … The HAZ is the area between the weld or cut and the base (unaffected), parent metal.”

    maybe he’s a welder by trade !!!

    ps – when he say’s – “What you present as an interpretation of the context is first and foremost conspiracy ideation. Witness your “plotting to circumvent FOI predates the first FOI request.”

    not sure what this welder is trying to say here, but if Mosher is reading he could probably link to email where this “plot” started.

    Like

  38. dfhunter
    Yes, Mosher in a comment here or on another thread linked to an article of his at WUWT where he details how the attempts to circumvent FOI predate any FOI requests.

    What I don’t understand about Willard and ATTP is this: they run a blog which is a mirror image of this one, in that various non-experts discuss climate change with their readers. We disagree diametrically about much, but we share a certain number of basic beliefs – e.g. that the earth is warming, CO2 has an effect, too much warming would be dangerous etc. Shouldn’t we therefore be able to discuss our differences, if not amicably, at least rationally, like socialists and conservatives in parliament, or catholics and protestants in their œcumenical binges?

    They come here sometimes, but, as with extraterrestrials, there’s no meeting of minds. (I never go there I admit, because I’ve never heard of anything good coming of it.)

    What bothers me is that, to any outside observers, we must appear like two bald men fighting over a comb. Nutters. Which we’re not. As long as we are incapable of engaging in rational dialogue the ouside world will consider us as loonies on both sides and cry “a plague on both your houses.” Is that what ATTP and his colleagues want?

    Liked by 1 person

  39. don’t you know yet – we suffer from the “Dunning-Kruger” effect !!!

    even the wife has picked up on that phrase 😦

    anyway to tempt Mosher – https://climateaudit.org/2011/09/02/nsf-on-jones-email-destruction-enterprise/

    “David Holland, the professional engineer who submitted the FOI which prompted Phil Jones to initiate what can only be described as a conspiracy to destroy documents related to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, has repeatedly asked: why did Jones take such a large professional risk by asking other scientists to destroy documents”

    Like

  40. from that Guardian link –
    “Jones foresaw that his arch-inquisitor, the Canadian former minerals ­prospector and editor of the sceptic blog Climate Audit, Steve McIntyre, would be a thorn in his side. As long ago as 2005, before the incoming legislation had been tested in Britain, Jones was laying out his uncompromising views on protecting “his” data. In a note to the prominent US climate scientist Michael Mann in February that year, he noted that “the two MMs”, McIntyre and his co-author the Canadian environmental economist Ross McKitrick, “have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone”

    What a Hero Phil is !!!

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Geoff,

    Your reference to Catholics and Protestants is very appropriate. It demonstrates how even those who share an underlying belief (in this case, that the truth matters because a lot is at stake) can disagree fundamentally on how the belief should be pursued. I’ve just finished reading a book about The Troubles, and I was struck by the ineffectiveness of the ‘military solution’ as enacted by both sides. The more that military victories were enjoyed, the stronger the opposition became. There is a parallel, I feel, when looking at our debates with the likes of ATTP and Willard. Our jousts and intellectual showboating may make us feel good when we believe ourselves to have come out on top, but ultimately we lose too much moral ground when we engage in such an adversarial approach. The buzz is short-lived once one realizes that no one has suddenly seen the error of their ways and you have just planted the seeds for what is probably a justified retaliation. I’m not suggesting an approach based upon the concept of Christian tolerance because it has a supernatural backing, but because it may make more sense from a strictly game theoretic viewpoint.

    That said, I think the real problem on this occasion was a refusal to accept the validity of a simple question: What is the context in which hiding declining graph lines, threatening to stop papers from being published, destroying emails, etc. is ok?

    Liked by 3 people

  42. John,
    As far as I’m aware, those questions have been addressed on numerous occasions. That some disagree with how they’ve been addressed, doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. I happen to agree with Willard that it really is time to move on and that there really isn’t much more to debate. What would resolve this? Should someone be punished in some way to make people here feel vindicated? What would that achieve? How many enquiries should there be before people agree that it’s been addressed fully, even if they don’t agree with the outcome?

    Like

  43. ATTP,

    I think you should appreciate that the only reason why this article was written was because the BBC chose to bring up the matter once more. The drama appears to be set to portray the official and socially approved account. This account seemed to me (as it did to many others at the time) a travesty that relied upon some risible explanations such as the ‘trick’ reference being to a harmless use of mathematical jargon. That’s just my opinion but it hasn’t changed down the years. So every time someone makes that defence, I will offer my unchanged opinion. I’m not expecting the verdict to be overturned but, as in all cases where an injustice has been perceived, it is entirely reasonable that every repeated reference to the verdict should be met with a reminder that some of us are still unhappy with it.

    History is being revisited, so I think everyone has a right to be involved, irrespective of whether they are on the right or wrong side of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. It took the Beeb ten days to put ‘watch again’ videos of its one-day online ‘Climate Creatives Festival’ online, but they are here at last, so that’s something.

    Here’s Owen Sheers talking to the Beeb’s Chief Content Officer, Charlotte Moore, about The Trick:

    URL:/www.bbc.co.uk/academy/events/climate-creatives-festival/watch-again/q-and-a-with-charlotte-moore

    I haven’t yet got beyond 3m 45s, when, in a snippet from the docudrama, the (surprisingly bald) actor playing Phil Jones says: ‘Not everyone wants the truth to reach them.’

    How very true.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. “Phil Jones says: ‘not everyone wants the truth to reach them'”.

    Oh get over yourself!

    For fun, I’m thinking of starting a sweepstake to see who can guess how many times the word ‘truth’ appears in the text for ‘The Trick’. My money is on 14.

    Like

  46. Just to make it clear, I do understand that it wasn’t actually Phil Jones saying that not everyone wants the truth to reach them; instead it was the playwright delivering a line sanctioned by the BBC. As such it is a message from society. However, one must never, ever underestimate society’s capacity to fashion truth out of desire. Or, to put it another way, an arsehole is still an arsehole when it is between the king’s buttocks.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. To elaborate on my regal sphincter metaphor: society may be king but that doesn’t mean to say that its poop smells regal.

    It is a common mistake to assume that the average climate ‘denier’ is characterized by having a penchant for conspiracist ideation. In my opinion this is not true. The real link is a reluctance to uncritically accept the integrity of those processes that humanity employs to settle the truth. So it doesn’t come as any surprise to us that there were scientists who were having impure thoughts when dealing with opposition to their views. What does strike us, however, is the alacrity with which society was willing to gloss over such revelations with a quick ‘nothing to see here, move on’. The BBC is still doing it now and, might I add, so are others who have commented here. It’s interesting to observe. In writing this article, I think I was just pursuing that interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Times TV Picks are completely smitten
    .. as ever my asterisks highlight their spin

    BBC1, 8.30pm The Trick
    This excellent film tells the real story of the climate scientist Phil Jones, whose life was upended in 2009 when *his* computers were *hacked*,
    leading him to be denounced for fabricating evidence about global warming.
    *He did no such thing**
    Jason Watkins’s spellbinding performance captures the intensity of an experience that rendered Jones so traumatised he could barely speak.
    The superb Victoria Hamilton as Jones’s wife, Ruth, and Jerome Flynn as the PR man Neil Wallis. who helped Jones to defend himself, head an Impressive supporting cast in a show that is deeply human and gripping.

    *hacked” “his* : someone published an entire database of emails
    It is not a proven HACK, it could be from a whistleblower
    Someone with access to the university’s email server would not heed to access *his* Jones personal computers in any case.

    ** Jones did seem to fudge data, the BBC/Times are firmly asserting he didn’t

    Like

  49. @TimesArts also tweeted
    It is hard to think of an actor working today with more range — and perhaps energy — than @Jason__Watkins,
    writes @BenDowell in @timesarts thetimes.co.uk
    Jason Watkins: ‘Climate-change sceptics? I hope it does rub them up the wrong way

    another tweet
    “Talked to Jason Watkins about playing Professor Phil Jones in #thetrick a new drama about the Climategate crisis
    He talks about accessing the grief of losing a child and studying his subjects to get to deeper emotional truths about them.
    It’s fascinating.”

    Why call it “the Climategate *crisis*” ?
    that reads as if the author is accustomed to always putting the word crisis with climate.

    Like

  50. So Jason Watkins hopes to rub me up does he?

    Well that’s spoken like a true gentleman. I hope he doesn’t mind too much when I just respond with a philosophical shrug.

    Like

  51. I see that Flora Carr gave The Trick a glowing 3 out of 5 star review in the Radio Times online today. Amongst other pearls of wisdom, the review points out:

    “Hackers stole thousands of emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, focussing on a tiny number that seemed to suggest that scientists had manipulated data in order to exaggerate the apparent threat of climate change.”

    This is not the first time I have seen this numbers game being played. Here is Steve Coogan explaining how it works exactly:

    Like

  52. … and BJW @BarryWoods

    notes how Edward Acton (historian of Herzen and the Russian Revolution no less) approached Sheers to write the thing. Soviet realism?

    Liked by 1 person

  53. I see after “The Trick” tonight on BBC1 (8:30-10pm) they have a follow up on BBC4 at 10pm called – “Climategate: Science of a Scandal” – now that’s sounds interesting, can’t wait to be informed at last about this “Scandal”.

    Like

  54. There’s now a review in the Telegraph:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2021/10/18/trick-review-jason-watkins-does-best-dull-climate-change-thriller/

    “Watkins is a reliably good actor, but here he was let down by a terrible screenplay. Writer Owen Sheers is an award-winning poet, novelist and playwright, but television is not his medium. The story is inherently uncinematic, so any screenplay needed to work hard to hold our attention. What we got was endless exposition and ropy dialogue.

    2/5 stars from the Telegraph…

    Liked by 1 person

  55. I’m allowed to see a couple of clips her in France. The first has Phil and the missus in a car, Phil looking like a secondhand crash dummy, while Mrs Jones soliloquises:

    “It’s going to be important,” that’s what you said. Politicians were just starting to talk about global warming, and you said that when they finally came to act on it, they’d need data they could trust. They’d need evidence. And you, CRU, would be able to give it to them. Well that time may be now. And you were right! They DO need your evidence. And that’s why we can’t let these bastards destroy all you’ve done. It’s too important. You’re too important.

    Like

  56. Jit; No. Beyond parody

    Second clip:
    Young PR Man: But what happens Phil, for our children, and their children? No numbers, just the consequences.
    (long silence. YPRM stares at Phil horrorstruck)
    Phil: (still in crash dummy mode) By 2100, dust bowl conditions across North America, and Africa. Asia too. Sooner than that, a massive reduction in agricultural production, access to drinking water, migration in huge numbers, bush fires on a massive scale, in Australia, on the West coast. And well, melting at the poles, West Antarctic ice sheets, well, because of that, the global sea level rise of, well, metres.
    Old PR Man: (in accent uncannily like Dudley Moore’s query to Peter Cook in their “End of the World “ sketch: “How will it be, brother Eli, this end of which you ‘ave spoke?”)
    What does all that mean for us? People. Make me see it Phil.
    Phil: Well, endless worse case scenarios. 70% of the inhabitable world will no longer be able to sustain human life. Millions of species will become extinct. Coastal and delta cities will be underwater, and (sighs) if the methane in the permafrost and on the seabed is released, well..
    OPRM: Yes?
    Phil: The climate will collapse, and the world will be gone.

    Like

  57. No Jit, my article was the parody. But, as I explain in my new intro, it turned out that the real script was funnier.

    Like

  58. @stewgreen – ooh – how do you remember things like that?

    the main “Trick” prog was dire,seem to focus more time on the 2 PR guys prepping Phil.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. Like Anita Singh in the Telegraph, Ed Cumming in the Independent gives The Trick 2 stars out of 5.

    “Written by the poet, novelist and playwright Owen Sheers, it is billed as a “conspiracy thriller”, which takes manipulation and exaggeration to a whole new level. Really, it’s a tale of one man taking far too long to explain himself.”

    “As the distraught scientist, Watkins has to spend the first half an hour gawping like a carp on ketamine”…

    “Too often, watching The Trick, I found myself craving the raw data. If the people in your show are less interesting than tree rings and thermometer readings, something’s gone awry.”

    Ah yes, but the raw data (or lack thereof) was a big part of Climategate, was it not. Maybe someone should help out and email Ed the Harry_Read_Me file.

    Like

  60. Well – who watched it? I confess I didn’t, on the assumption that if you guys tell me it’s worth watching, I can always catch it on i player.

    Like

  61. I tried but I only got half way through before giving up. It was like watching one of those corny propaganda films that the War Ministry produced during World War Two — those Nazis were such cads, don’t you know. It had a certain ‘this is so bad it is good’ appeal but, ultimately, I found it just too boring.

    I have it recorded and so I may try to finish it today. It depends upon how desperate I become for entertainment.

    Like

  62. Must confess that I didn’t watch it either. It will be interesting to see what the “Gogglebox” people make of it – could be amusing!

    Like

  63. “COP26: ‘Hate tells scientists their work is important'”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-58955787

    “The scientist at the centre of the Climategate scandal and the subject of BBC drama The Trick said scientists need protecting from abuse.

    Prof Phil Jones was head of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in Norwich when its servers were hacked in 2009.

    Stolen documents were used to wrongly accuse him of making up data on climate change, for which he got hate mail.

    Of the on-going abuse of scientists, he said: “It tells us the work is really important and inspires us to continue.”

    He still receives hate mail each November and December, around the anniversary of the data breach at the University of East Anglia unit and the subsequent “media storm” 12 years ago.

    Back then, as dramatised in The Trick, his life’s work was called in to question, both in some sections of the press and by climate-change deniers.

    “It was a really awful time – I was used to dealing with comments on my work at scientific conferences, but when the media storm arrived, I just couldn’t respond to it,” he told BBC Look East.

    “We were fighting against a massive tide, and people just didn’t seem to want to know about the science, they wanted to know about a few words in a few emails.”

    He said he has seen parallels in other branches of science….

    ……”People have to stand up for science, and realise scientists themselves need protecting.”

    All allegations against Prof Jones and the CRU were rejected in subsequent inquiries.

    Prof Jones still works at CRU and said he had “got to be hopeful” about COP26 later this month.

    “The science is much stronger now,” he said….”.

    So the science was weak, then, was it? Funny, you never said that at the time.

    Still, the BBC pretty much get it all in, including use of the D-word.

    Like

  64. The only named technical sceptics were McIntyre and Mosher, apparently the former not skilled enough to do a hack, which leaves Mosher as the prime suspect … does he have grounds for legal action against the BBC, assuming he had nothing to do with it?

    Mann may also be consulting his busy lawyers, for failing to get a mention.

    It was classic David vs Goliath, CRU as David, those evil corporations as Goliath, the exact reverse of reality.

    Liked by 2 people

  65. The good news is that the show has attempted to entertain its audience into submission but will have failed in this because it failed to entertain. The bad news is that, no matter how bad the reviews, all the reviewers accepted the basic plot line uncritically, including the bit about the scientists being totally exonerated. All except this guy, that is:

    https://dvd-fever.co.uk/the-trick-the-dvdfever-review-jason-watkins-bbc-drama/

    Even I found myself saying ‘steady on old chap’ whilst reading it. Nevertheless, I am in full agreement with this bit:

    “The Trick isn’t a drama, but a shameless lecture, beating us over the head with a baseball bat…”

    And his final warning is worth heeding:

    “The biggest trick is that if you watch this in full, as I did, you’ve just wasted 90 minutes of your life.”

    Like

  66. Climanrecon,

    “…those evil corporations as Goliath”

    Don’t forget those evil Saudis and the nasty Russians. They’re all ‘bastards’ according to Owen.

    Anyway, the appearance of this programme, written by a member of XR, has at least served the purpose of confirming something we bastards have been thinking for a while: Extinction Rebellion is just the military wing of the BBC.

    Liked by 2 people

  67. I invested 20 minutes in this, so I got to see Steves Mc and Mosh mentioned and this lamentable bit:

    The police declare it as a Category A investigation, which is normally reserved for murders, so they’re already overegging the pudding and doubting anyone who ventures an alternate viewpoint. So, when challenged by DS Anita Suppiah (Tara Divina), the cop in charge observes that as the cyberhackers are trying to disrupt “the global response to climate change”, so “maybe Cat A isn’t high enough”. As such, Anita suddenly nods intently. Ugh…

    That’s from the review John pointed to (thanks) and I think (s)he totally nails it with the Ugh.

    DS Anita Suppiah actually asks “Has anyone been murdered?” on hearing the case was being classed as Category A, which is reserved for counter-terrorism. Very good point. And this plays into my current concerns (which are ancient concerns) about the key move of bringing murder forward as a claimed reality, despite the fact that nobody’s been intentionally killed, it’s all about claimed effects of CO2 emissions of mankind as a whole way into the future. This is the canard lying behind the ‘denier’ lie. The mass murders are as real today as those of Hitler.

    The point being, the Category A designation in 2009 meant the UK state and security services were endorsing this barmy and toxic view of history. The XR street-level antics aren’t our only problem.

    Liked by 3 people

  68. I’m determined to go ahead with a BBC complaint. Is there any way anyone can get me a copy of the film, or even just the audio?

    The BBC has already made available the first episode of “the Hack that Changed the World,” a radio series by the BBC’s security correspondent. He claims that author Owen Sheers came to him with the idea that it was all about national security rather than science. The “sinister forces” behind this cyberterrorism are being lined up for action after FLOP26. Something like the censorship applied to anti-vaccers may be on the cards.

    Like

  69. Time and again I get outsmarted by my wife:

    Me this morning: “How can I trust the BBC ever again after this travesty?”

    Mrs Me: “I think you will find that the trust went out of the window with Jimmy Saville.”

    It’s just like my wife to be the one to identify when the BBC jumped the shark.

    Liked by 1 person

  70. JOHN
    At first I thought the comparison far fetched, but then:

    There’s the same premiss that if you’re powerful and important enough you can get away with anything, and the same contempt for the little people, their viewers and victims.

    A guy who woked for the BBC World Service once told me he’d been told by his boss: “We think of our typical listener as the intelligent engineer in Zagreb” – presumably with the little ironical chuckle that there might be any intelligence in a place so outlandish.

    “The Trick” was made for the intelligent engineer in Swindon, and Swindon will have its revenge.

    I see my keyboard has made one of its little jokes.

    Liked by 1 person

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