Lubos the Adjuster


Physicist Lubos Motl, long-running commentator on all things climate, declared recently he agreed with BEST’s Steven Mosher readers were ‘anti-science nut jobs’.

I agree with Mosher: these “principled” critics of all adjustments are surely throwing the baby out with the bath water. And by the way, I do agree with the description of those who get crazy whenever somebody mentions the word “adjustment” as anti-science nut jobs, and yes, I do think that a large number of such people exists among the WUWT regular readers

Except Mosher said no such thing.

Mosher did call WUWT readers anti-science nut jobs but at a different time. Trying to convince people not to use the word ‘denier’, he said even such loony nut jobs as WUWT readers refrained from using ‘SS’ for Skepticalscience:

anti science nut job

I pointed this out [#1]:

lubos beg

Lubos claimed he hadn’t mixed anything up


I gave him the link to Mosher’s comment – the ‘evidence’. Lubos disappeared it [#2]:

lubos4 link

I waited for about an hour and asked, ‘hey, could you look, a comment (with evidence) disappeared:

lubos look


What I got in return:

This is the part where the tricks start. After a while, Lubos allows the second of my comments – the disappeared one – to appear. Along with a long reply.

rant lub

Lubos was not only tweaking comment timings, he was going the extra mile agreeing with Mosher—it was now ‘infantile’ to be using such acronyms as SS, and a sign of ‘demagoguery’.

Something must have clicked. He was infantile not too long ago himself:

Dear Shub, I haven’t mentioned the funny exchange whether the acronym of Skeptical Science is “SS” at all if I have to say it now, then indeed, the right acronym of the website is “SS” 🙂

So this is what Lubos does:  he goes back to his own comment where he made the “SS” joke (marked ) and adds a sentence. He adds the bolded portion to make his words fit better:

Dear Shub, I haven’t mentioned the funny exchange whether the acronym of Skeptical Science is “SS” at all – if I have to say it now, then indeed, the right acronym of the website is “SS” 🙂 even though I may avoid this acronym because John Cook is too small a crackpot to hijack such a formidable trademark

before after-01


Ironic? A physicist supporting adjustments to past records, adjusting the record of his own comments?

How does one trust anything Lubos’ has written or said?

The dishonesty in this brief interaction repeats like a fractal in the climate debate. Everything from the desirability of adjustments to skeptics ‘demanding’ them and their impact is spin and PR.




  1. omanuel

    Seventy-years of adjustments to experimental data/observations are ending and the “consensus scientists” now seek to justify their actions in hiding, adjusting or ignoring data/observations the government did not want the public to know about.

    Sorry. Their are no excuses for deceit in science. It won’t work.

  2. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001)

    Shub, vfh is that this is a most disappointing performance on the part of Lubos – whose previous comments and/or responses over the years have always struck me as being rooted in reality.

    So, I have to wonder what might have (for want of better wording) captured and enslaved his “responses” to your comments.

    Perhaps he was induced to succumb to climatically correct derision and deception in order to protect a grant application. But who knows, eh?!

    All I can surmise is that the closer we get to Paris 2015, the more ludicrous (and unsubstantiated and/or unjustified) the claims we are likely to see.

  3. Brad

    Lubos blew his integrity at the Jonova website regarding David Evans “Notch theory”. Anything after that are merely death wails…

  4. stewgreen

    Shub, with these eco-warriors it seems you are not always talking to the name on door. Like Obama”s twitter account is non run by him but by a nunch of activists, I think other people might ve delegating their reply work.

  5. Shub Niggurath

    Hilary, as far as I can tell, Lubos does no climate-related research.

    Check out the list:
    Mosher’s original advice to ATTP readers to avoid ‘denier’ as a term – not high-minded or from high standards, but from realpolitik
    Mosher’s article on adjustments, which Lubos did not read – claimed it was skeptics who demanded adjustments, and not rejected.
    The acronym ‘SS’ was used previously sporadically at Skepticalscience and other places – in a non-derogatory manner.
    SKS activists subsequently dressed themselves in Nazi costumes via photoshop – they did hijack the ‘formidable trademark’
    BEST claims both – that adjusments make no difference, and that adjusments make large trend differences.
    Mosher chose to write his ATTP spin because the ATTP blog was ‘trending’.

  6. catweazle666

    I’m afraid it is not solely because the initials of SepticalScience are ‘SS’ that the acronym has a certain relevance. Here’s an example:

    Their ineptitude at leaving such incriminating material in plain view on their site does not exactly enhance their reputation, of course.

  7. Paul in Sweden

    It is apropos to refer to the natural abbreviation of SS for SepticalScience, a website that is run by John Cook, an Australian that posts pics of himself dressed as a NAZI soldier.

  8. russellseitz

    I must respectfully disagree with the view that a large number of anti-science nut jobs exist among readers of Watts Up With That.

    By any objective criterion, a very large number of anti-science nut jobs would be a more acurate description.

  9. Willard

    Come on, Shub. How can you be so sure Lubo reads AT’s?

    I don’t think you can dispute that the Moshpit has a very low opinion of those who dispute adjustments, and if you read Judy’s, I’m sure you’ll agree that the expression “nut job” fits into the Moshpit’s repertoire. Here’s an example to cheer you up:

    It would be perfectly normal to report on the variety of christian attitudes, from nut jobs who think “god hates fags” to more broadly held views. One would not judge the fairness of these reports by counting the number of nut jobs who hold extremist views and limiting the words expended by the proportion of the population. being accurate and engaging means that sometimes you cover the extremes.


    Some nut jobs, climate extremists, have argued that the arctic would disappear by 2013 or so. How does one cover this “fairly” Do we report that this guy is a minority. do we give his fever brained nonsense the 10 words of print it deserves? nope. And what of the nuts who blathered on about model results that predicted 10C of warming. […]

    There are other gems, but you should get the drift.

    It thus seems that all that remains is this ClimateBall ™ episode with Lubo.


    The backstory behind the comment you screenshot at AT’s may be of interest if you please.

  10. Shub Niggurath

    Willard, there is a bit more story to this whole thing than you see. Which is why I am able to be 100% sure Lubos mixed up two different things.

    ‘There are all types of nutjobs- from the ‘God hates gay people’ nuts, to the 10C nuts to the WUWT reader nuts … ‘ – I’m not sure that really works. I’ll be honest, I don’t think WUWT readers and/or commenters are ‘nuts’.

    I don’t know what Mosher’s thing is, but his public persona is quite different from just a few years back.

  11. Willard

    > I’ll be honest, I don’t think WUWT readers and/or commenters are ‘nuts’.

    This was kinda obvious considering your posts on adjustments, Shub, but I appreciate the clarification. In return, I’ll concede that Lubo’s confusion transpired quite splendidly.

    With engineer-minded chaps in mind, the farer I’d go would be ‘nuts and bolts.’ To be able to screw in eco-warriors, Obama’s Twitter account, private photos and Paris 2015 in just a few comments takes some grasp of ClimateBall ™ mechanics. Even Oliver’s drive-bys take dedication.


    > [Moshpit’s] public persona is quite different from just a few years back.

    I agree. He has softened a bit since he started to do scientific work. You should see the old threads at the Auditor’s, and Tony’s. Even at the start of Judy’s it was quite something.

    Note that he was using “nut job” at AT’s for dramatic effect, i.e. to emotionally coerce AT to ban the D word.

  12. Shub Niggurath

    ‘This was kinda obvious considering your posts on adjustments, Shub, but …’

    Not sure I follow. I’ve written a total of two posts on adjustments.

  13. Willard

    Sure you must be joking, Shub.

    Here’s the fall of your first one:

    For all the hype, BEST’s methods produce local records that are no better than the NCDC, conjuring ad-hoc rationalizations for ‘adjustments’ from the temperatures themselves. The reasoning is circular and BEST and others do not even attempt to hide it. Journalists like Booker are right to question such methods and data.

    How much posts should you have written until readers get that you share some of the concerns regarding the adjustments as (say) Booker?

  14. Shub Niggurath

    I thought we were talking about WUWT, not Booker. I don’t think the people who read WUWT and comment are ‘nuts’. This is irrespective of whether or not they agree with me on adjustments. A majority very likely don’t agree with me.

    Regardless, take a look at WUWT – they were not part of the recent spate of questions over the global temperature record. They do not figure in this storyline. Watts has kept away from criticizing BEST in the recent past. Sure, there may be occasional questions posted by guest authors but Watts has largely stayed out of the Paraguay and Arctic questions asked by Booker. I thought this was well evident:

  15. Willard

    > I thought we were talking about WUWT, not Booker.

    Actually, we were talking about your own beliefs, Shub, or rather the number of posts you need to have posted until readers would be justified to understand that you have concerns about adjustments. Besides, your fall reads “journalists like Booker” and not just “Booker.” Tony’s is a climate news outlet, whatever its echoing capacity, and he used to be some kind of journalist.

    In any case, my point does not rest on identifying a specific story. Only the object of the concerns, which should be about the adjustments. Whether these concerns refer to surface stations, water buckets or antediluvian trees, the type of concern is the same.


    The main thing that changes between these different concerns is the justification behind them. Take this old story at Jeff’s:

    Your 2009 post contains “bold statements”. Not “bold” as in “containing strong language”. Bold as in:

    > [T]he large positive adjustments to the records provide most of the signal in the GISS global temperature record.


    > So what we have is a process which allows the systematic choosing of ever warmer records over time which is so convoluted nobody can figure out what really happened.

    et cetera.

    These are bold statements indeed. The last one made Zeke ask:

    You still believe that “the large positive adjustments to the records provide most of the signal in the GISS global temperature record” even though your own reconstruction using raw data finds similar land trends? Or were you narrowly referring to the difference between GISS and other records (e.g. their arctic interpolation, which I wouldn’t consider “large positive adjustments” per se)? Sorry if I’m misinterpreting your position, but the original post seems to be making a rather bold claim.

    As emphasized, this question asks about a belief, Jeff.

    Here’s your answer:

    At the time, the data we had on tobs and other adjustments exceeded the halfway point of the trends over the full record length (not the recent 30 years). I have not checked this value myself but accepted someone else breakdown of the corrections. If it is somewhat less, that’s fine too. Either way, some adjustments are necessary so that I’ve never held the position that they were illegitimate or even unnecessary.

    My position was, and is, if the adjustments are necessary fine, let’s make sure that we understand the full rationale for them and not hide it from those investigating the problem. CRU used to be the most cited source of global temperatures yet nobody really knew what was in it.

    All you’re saying is that if the adjustments are OK, you’re OK with them. This counterfactual is empty, Jeff. Where’s your statement of belief, Jeff?

    What Lubo claims about Tony’s “nuts and bolts” seems to apply to Jeff.

  16. omanuel

    Perhaps their intentions were not evil, “the road to hell is paved with . . .”

    CHAOS and FEAR in AUG-SEPT 1945 frightened Good, Honorable People into

    1. Forming the UN in OCT 1945, and

    2. Forbidding public knowledge of the energy that had destroyed Hiroshima:

    Those Good, Honorable People” may not have intended to isolate society from the reality (truth, God) of creation, but that is exactly what happened!

  17. Shub Niggurath

    Willard, you are twisting around too much, and quite unnecessarily.It’s lazy to say ‘Booker, Anthony Watts, eh what difference does it make they’re all the same’ – which is exactly what Lubos did.

    Watts *does not* have the same questions as Booker. Watts accepts the global temperature record and its integrity. Since he did not post much on the Paraguayan stations, or Iceland, or the Arctic, the debate of these issues *did not center around WUWT as many temperature issues did once in the past*.

    The ‘type of concern’, ‘concern’ style of meta-argument does not work at this point. Either BEST/Mosher or NOAA or GISS can explain why records like Puerto Casado look the way they look, or they cannot explain it. Right now, they cannot explain it. The best they can do is ‘that’s not the way to think about it’, or, ‘it doesn’t matter’. Anthony Watts is not questioning BEST or Mosher, or NOAA on this point. Others are. If you have not followed this crucial but perhaps subtle point in the skeptical side of things, I don’t blame you but it is true.

    In fact, I remarked on this on this very thing:

    Steven Mosher responded bizarrely, blaming AW for letting Brandon Shollenberger write about BEST and posting Josh’s cartoon.

    Moreover, as I said, my questions/take about adjustments have few takers, if any, among skeptics, including WUWT commenters

    Either all the above is relevant, or you wanted to make a minor point but I am stuck on it because I can’t see what it is.

  18. Willard

    Perhaps I was unclear, Shub.

    Your smoking gun is a comment from a conversation at AT’s which, had you read it properly, may not imply what you think about Tony’s “nut jobs.” Even if it did, I see no reason why Lubo would have been interested to read AT’s comment thread up to where it appeared. Perhaps I’m wrong there, it doesn’t matter much.

    Besides, it would be easy to find more dismissive comments from the Moshpit at Judy’s, even by today’s standard. This is where you should find where the ClimateBall ™ fight started between Brandon and him, if you’re interested in the backstory, BTW.

    Your claim that Moshpit’s behavior has deteriorated over the years (paraphrasing) fails to take into account the Moshpit ca 2009. The only relevant difference is that nowadays he works to improve science via BEST, and that any comment at Tony’s or Judy’s regarding that project gets a response from him. Was it not the answer you were looking for?


    I don’t think you hold any card against the previous paragraphs. All the claims are topical to your own storyline. The only thing I have not discussed is your main claim, which has been formulated as a rhetorical question:

    How does one trust anything Lubos’ has written or said?

    which amounts to a way to play the man more than the ball, contrary to your claim elsewhere that it is your editorial policy not to do this.

    Is that clear enough, or do you want me to repeat more slowly?


    What remains is this, which has nothing to do with what I said:

    It’s lazy to say ‘Booker, Anthony Watts, eh what difference does it make they’re all the same’ – which is exactly what Lubos did.

    I claimed that my point was independent from the difference you put between all these concerns. I also claimed that the the main thing that changes between these different concerns is the justification behind them. Do you want me to unpack these two claims and prove you wrong, or could you just re-read them slowly and consider the possibility that I might have a point?

    How you can read this as a way to dismiss all of these concerns in one go as Lubo did (at least this is what you say) is beyond me. Well, that’s not true: chances are your ClimateBall episode with Lubo rests on the very idea you hold that there might valid concerns regarding the adjustments. We both know that I know that: I’ve quoted you saying so.

    Come to think of it, the previous ClimateBall episode at Jeff’s illustrates the very same point, by showing how raising concerns regarding adjustments could lead to some kind of epistemic ambivalence. Editorializing on the trust we should put on Jeff’s words after that episode would be both an ignoratio elenchi, a non sequitur, and an ad hominem. The latin trifecta.

    Therefore, my own policy regarding concerns is to be thankful for them, whether they are justified or not, whether they produce some kind of ambivalence or not.

  19. Shub Niggurath

    Willard, let me just say I absolutely hold the only card needed – I know what Lubos confused with what, and I know why he did it.

    That however is immaterial. What matters is only that he made a simple mistake and didn’t have the sense to admit. Lubos just turned out to be a baby with a big ego who cannot stand being wrong in small things so he had to hold up comments, lie about them and rearrange sentences and add material in his own comments to make them reconcile with each other. What I pointed out to him was so innocuous. why did he do what he did?

    On a blog, the commenter trusts the blog owner with his text. If anyone can go into comments and add whatever they want, clearly, there is a breakdown in the whole system. People who delete entire comments or ban commenters are far more honest. This way, one can make commenters look stupid, make oneself smarter and much worse. Lubos couldn’t hold himself back from stepping on that slippery slope. How does one trust what he writes? And I say this as a (former) Lubos fan. I don’t trust a word of what he has to say, or said in the past.

    You are right though that the above does not affect the substance of what he wrote about adjustments. Sadly, however, what he wrote about adjustments is nonsense on its own merit. It was him making broad-brush cliched statements without knowing any of the specifics. He’s lost touch with the climate stuff and is fighting imaginary objections no one’s making.

    Which is why one finds him saying:

    “I am not saying that the local temperature data are unaffected by such adjustments – they surely are…”

    which makes Booker’s point.

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