Climate Change

Cowardy, Cowardy Custard

I received the following in one of my e-mail Inboxes, which, as you can imagine, I was tempted to completely ignore.

To be honest, I’m baffled why this fellow thinks I’m the right person to answer a bunch of Global Warming denier arguments that have had endless rebuttals already.

My advice to Climate Change sceptics everywhere : read the Climate Change Science before asking overly sceptical questions, then you won’t need to ask them.

I’m surprised that someone holding a science doctorate from Cambridge University should be so unknowledgeable about the most critical scientific discipline of our times.

I wonder, perhaps a little snidely, what kind of science, exactly, this person has researched.

Plus, the low level of the complexity of the questions leads me to be dubious about this educational claim from my correpondent. Either he’s not what he says he is – or he just wants to rattle my cage.

What’s that sound ? The sound of an a totally unrattled cage.

And why the e-mail ? Why not have the courage of his sceptical convictions and post a comment on my website ?

Is he trying to hide behind a screen of anonymity ? Could he come out and face me properly ? Or is he just a cowardly cynic ?

subject: Climate Change‏
from: Don & Selina (
sent: 12 February 2010 19:51:42

Dear Jo, I only hold a lowly first degree and PhD (in science) from Cambridge University, so
I am baffled by climate change.

Being a climate activist, you should find it easy to convince me that;

1) the “Hockey Stick” reconstruction is not fatally flawed.
2) hurricanes are increasing in frequency and intensity
3) the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating
4) Polar bears are endangered
5) there is positive water-vapour feedback

Don Keiller (MA, PhD, Cantab)

Of course, in reality, this person is a well-rehearsed Climate Change sceptic-denier, and seems to ask a variety of people similarly taxing lists of questions :-


Dear Professor Briffa, my apologies for contacting you directly, particularly since I hear that you are unwell. However the recent release of tree ring data by CRU has prompted much discussion and indeed disquiet about the methodology and conclusions of a number of key papers by you and co-workers.

As an environmental plant physiologist, I have followed the long debate starting with Mann et al (1998) and through to Kaufman et al (2009). As time has progressed I have found myself more concerned with the whole scientific basis of dendroclimatology. In particular;

1) The appropriateness of the statistical analyses employed
2) The reliance on the same small datasets in these multiple studies
3) The concept of “teleconnection” by which certain trees respond to the “Global Temperature Field”, rather than local climate
4) The assumption that tree ring width and density are related to temperature in a linear manner.

Whilst I would not describe myself as an expert statistician, I do use inferential statistics routinely for both research and teaching and find difficulty in understanding the statistical rationale in these papers. As a plant physiologist I can say without hesitation that points 3 and 4 do not agree with the accepted science.

There is a saying that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. Given the scientific, political and economic importance of these papers, further detailed explanation is urgently required.

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Don Keiller.


Trust me, I won’t be replying to this person. He acts as if he were intentionally wasting other peoples’ time.

4 replies on “Cowardy, Cowardy Custard”

“Trust me, I won’t be replying to this person. He acts as if he were intentionally wasting other peoples’ time”

TRUST YOU!!!!!!!

You have GOT to be kidding!

The wheels are falling off your gravy train and you want us to “trust you”


I got a message today from the same email address today! It was in relation to an open letter I wrote to the Institute of Physics on my blog. He was not so polite to me:


For a physicist you are a bit of a cretin.

However your views on the release of scientific data for verification are positively neolithic.

What kind of blind, bigoted AGW Alarmist t*55£r are you?

Pull your head out of your ar$£ and smell the coffee!

Have a nice day!


I feel quite sorry for poor Selina.

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