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Daniel B. Botkin Replies to Insinuation that He Lied

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  • Daniel B. Botkin Replies to Insinuation that He Lied

    On Jun 30, 2014, at 1:21 PM, Daniel B. Botkin <danielbotkin@rcn.com> wrote:

    Dear Mr. Reece,

    Thanks first for posting my testimony and second for reporting this statement to me. Of course I did not lie and never have.
    The documentation concerning Vongraven admissions about the polar bear counts are given below and in attachments.
    What shall we do to correct the statement that I “lied’? Do you suggest we put up the entire information below? That is all right with me. If the writer uses a fake name, then that should be called out as well.

    The main point, of course, is that Vongraven admits that the IUCN statements that polar bears are declining has no scientific validity. The attack on me is an attempt to hide the reality of this statement, thereby keeping the falsehood that polar bears are declining as if it were true and scientifically correct. This point should also be made on your website.

    I mentioned this “lied” statement to colleagues, and they urge me to put up a note to the effect that this is defamation of character and if we can find out the actual name of the writer, I would bring a lawsuit against him. This may be way beyond what is necessary at this point, but I do take these accusations seriously.

    Please let me know that you have received this reply.

    Dan Botkin

    Assertions by Vongraven (see attachments as well).

    The Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystem Report of the IPCC 2014 cites: Vongraven, D., and Richardson, E., 2011: Biodiversity - status and trends of polar bears. Arctic Report Card:
    Update for 2011, 2012, from http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcar...lar_bears.html. I put this url into my computer just now and it says that this is no longer available. However,
    the statement by Vongraven is also on http://polarbearscience.com/tag/dag-...ven/(attached), from which I quote:

    Tag Archives: Dag Vongraven
    Polar bear population now officially 13,071-24,238 says IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group
    Posted on February 14, 2014 | Comments Off
    Without fanfare of any kind (so far), the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) has just announced, via a notice posted on its website, that it has revised the population estimate for polar bears to 18,349 (range 13,071-24,238), based on a new status table posted today.
    The average is down slightly from the 2009 estimate of 19,747 (which was officially stated as “20,000-25,000″), but that “decline” is an illusion.

    In addition, Vongraven has admitted in writing to Susan Crockford that “It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand” and “the global estimates were “…simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand” and according to this statement, were never meant to be considered scientific estimates, despite what they were called, the scientific group that issued them, and how they were used (see footnote below).” These and additional statements by him are attached.



    From: John Reece [mailto:jnareece@earthlink.net]
    Sent: Monday, June 30, 2014 9:36 AM
    To: dan@danielbbotkin.com
    Subject: House of Representatives Written Testimony

    Dear Dr. Botkin:

    I posted your written testimony before the House of Representatives on a website to which I am a posting member. As a consequence, in response to your point #14, an anonymous college professor of some sort of science who goes by the pseudonym of “lao tzu” posted a rebuttal in which he suggested that you lied in that part of your testimony. I cannot believe you lied, and I do not wish to leave the suggestion that you did unanswered. However, I am an octogenarian in very poor health and am also a neophyte re science, so am not capable of responding in your stead. I hope you can provide a clarification that I may post in defense of your point.

    Here is the context in which it was suggested that you lied:

    Originally posted by lao tzu

    Now, I've looked at Botkin's critique in his congressional testimony, looking especially for statements that can be checked. The following caught my eye:

    14. Some of the reports conclusions are the opposite of those given in articles cited in defense of those conclusions.

    For example, the IPCC 2014 Terrestrial Ecosystem Report states that “there is medium confidence that rapid change in the Arctic is affecting its animals. For example, seven of 19 subpopulations of the polar bear are declining in number” citing in support of this an article by Vongraven and Richardson, 2011. That report states the contrary, that the “‘decline’ is an illusion.

    Note this isn't a "very high" or "high" confidence issue, which are the colloquial terms used in the report. This is, as acknowledged in AR5, an iffy conclusion, in contrast with other conclusions with much more support. What attracted me especially was the citation. It's available online.

    Biodiversity - Status and Trends of Polar Bears
    D. Vongraven and E. Richardson (2011)

    I've read the report, and invite you to do the same. It's quite short. Contra Botkin's testimony, the report does not state the contrary; it does not state the decline is an illusion.

    I don't think it's possible that his misreading was inadvertent. He has the required competence to know that what he said here was not the truth. In short, looks like he lied.

    He'd get busted on those claims if he made them at a scientific conference, but this is the House, in front of a committee that featured a ratio of 3:1 climate skeptics vs. the real world ratio of 3:97. There was no one to call him on this misstatement, and I'll submit that this was by design. That kind of biased ratio of responders doesn't occur by accident.

    This is the basis for the claim of medium confidence that "rapid change in the Arctic is affecting its animals."

    <image001.jpg>

    Not even Botkin disputes rapid change in the Arctic, so what is he critiquing? That changes in climate have affected Arctic animals? That we should have medium confidence in this?
    Last edited by John Reece; 07-06-2014, 08:15 AM.

  • #2


    (also fixed misspelling in thread title.)

    Comment


    • #3
      Here's the 2011 Article on Polar Bears: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/report11/...lar_bears.html

      Links to the full 'Report Cards': http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard_previous.html

      "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


      "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

      My Personal Blog

      My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

      Comment


      • #4
        I inadvertently missed out the following line from the bottom of Dr. Botkin's response; it contains a word that seems to be misspelled (the word in it's present form is not found in Merriam-Webster Unabridged). Also, I think the missed-out line was intended to include a hyperlink, which is missing:
        Dag Vongraven _ polar bear decline is an illustion polarbearscience.pdf><IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group says its global population estimate was “a qualified guess” _ polarbearscience.pdf>

        ETA: When I first tried it, this link did not work in my received copy of Dr. Botkin's reply; when I tried again, I got this:
        Polar bear population now officially 13,071-24,238 says IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group

        Posted on February 14, 2014 |

        Without fanfare of any kind (so far), the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) has just announced, via a notice posted on its website, that it has revised the population estimate for polar bears to 18,349 (range 13,071-24,238), based on a new status table posted today.

        The average is down slightly from the 2009 estimate of 19,747 (which was officially stated as “20,000-25,000″), but that “decline” is an illusion.

        As for the 2005 and 2009/2010 status tables, they do not add up the columns to give the totals — you have to do that yourself, which is how I got the numbers above. There is no mention of a change to the global estimate total in any of the “announcements” on their website.

        As occurred in 2005 and 2009, an overall reduction in the total was achieved primarily through removal of an estimate present on their tables since 1993 (Laptev Sea, “800-1200″). Changing this estimate to zero reduced the average total by 1,000 but does not reflect a real-world change.

        In addition, four subpopulation estimates were reduced, three of them only slighty (details below) and three subpopulation estimates (Foxe Basin, Western Hudson Bay and Southern Hudson Bay) were increased to reflect recent aerial survey results. Two others were increased slightly.

        A new column has been added to the status table, again without explanation, called the “Trend relative to historic level (approx. 25-yr past).” Although only seven out of 19 subpopulations had anything like an accurate estimate in 1989, four are now considered to have been “not reduced” while three are considered “reduced.” Why this is considered meaningful enough to add to the table is not clear.

        The PBSG say they have decided to update the status table independent of their meetings, which means that no written report or document will be made available to explain any changes — the “justifications” will only be available online.

        These are the people we are supposed to trust to provide honest and accurate information about the status of polar bears worldwide. The changes in the status table provided today, which have been made without oversight of any kind, hardly inspire confidence in the information they provide. See what you think.

        Continue reading...
        Last edited by John Reece; 06-30-2014, 05:45 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by John Reece View Post
          On Jun 30, 2014, at 1:21 PM, Daniel B. Botkin <danielbotkin@rcn.com> wrote:

          Dear Mr. Reece,

          Thanks first for posting my testimony and second for reporting this statement to me. Of course I did not lie and never have.

          The documentation concerning Vongraven admissions about the polar bear counts are given below and in attachments.
          What shall we do to correct the statement that I “lied’? Do you suggest we put up the entire information below? That is all right with me. If the writer uses a fake name, then that should be called out as well.

          The main point, of course, is that Vongraven admits that the IUCN statements that polar bears are declining has no scientific validity. The attack on me is an attempt to hide the reality of this statement, thereby keeping the falsehood that polar bears are declining as if it were true and scientifically correct. This point should also be made on your website.

          I mentioned this “lied” statement to colleagues, and they urge me to put up a note to the effect that this is defamation of character and if we can find out the actual name of the writer, I would bring a lawsuit against him. This may be way beyond what is necessary at this point, but I do take these accusations seriously.

          Please let me know that you have received this reply.

          Dan Botkin
          Dear John,

          Indeed, it seems I was mistaken. Contrary to my earlier expressed opinion, it now seems quite evident that Dr. Botkin is 'way beyond" lacking the competence to judge his own misstatements, and I would welcome a lawsuit giving me the opportunity to further publicize the same. He apparently believes a scientific statement expressing medium confidence is equivalent to a logical proposition.

          I am not a scientist, John. I am a mathematician. But even the least competent of scientists should know the difference. Clearly, Dr. Botkin cannot pass this minimal bar.

          As further evidence of his lack of reading comprehension, note his next citation:

          Assertions by Vongraven (see attachments as well).

          The Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystem Report of the IPCC 2014 cites: Vongraven, D., and Richardson, E., 2011: Biodiversity - status and trends of polar bears. Arctic Report Card:

          Update for 2011, 2012, from http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcar...lar_bears.html. I put this url into my computer just now and it says that this is no longer available. However, the statement by Vongraven is also on http://polarbearscience.com/tag/dag-...ven/(attached), from which I quote:

          Tag Archives: Dag Vongraven
          Polar bear population now officially 13,071-24,238 says IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group
          Posted on February 14, 2014 | Comments Off

          Without fanfare of any kind (so far), the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) has just announced, via a notice posted on its website, that it has revised the population estimate for polar bears to 18,349 (range 13,071-24,238), based on a new status table posted today.

          The average is down slightly from the 2009 estimate of 19,747 (which was officially stated as “20,000-25,000″), but that “decline” is an illusion.
          The above reference to the decline being an illusion is from Susan Crockford, not Dag Vongraven, and is most certainly not part of the report he cited in his testimony before the House.

          In addition, Vongraven has admitted in writing to Susan Crockford that “It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand” and “the global estimates were “…simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand” and according to this statement, were never meant to be considered scientific estimates, despite what they were called, the scientific group that issued them, and how they were used (see footnote below).”

          These and additional statements by him are attached.
          Hence, medium confidence that arctic wildlife is being affected by climate change.

          He'd be laughed off the stage if he brought this to a conference. I've seen it happen to competent researchers.

          As ever, Jesse

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by lao tzu View Post
            Dear John,

            Indeed, it seems I was mistaken. Contrary to my earlier expressed opinion, it now seems quite evident that Dr. Botkin is 'way beyond" lacking the competence to judge his own misstatements, and I would welcome a lawsuit giving me the opportunity to further publicize the same. He apparently believes a scientific statement expressing medium confidence is equivalent to a logical proposition.

            I am not a scientist, John. I am a mathematician. But even the least competent of scientists should know the difference. Clearly, Dr. Botkin cannot pass this minimal bar.

            As further evidence of his lack of reading comprehension, note his next citation:



            The above reference to the decline being an illusion is from Susan Crockford, not Dag Vongraven, and is most certainly not part of the report he cited in his testimony before the House.



            Hence, medium confidence that arctic wildlife is being affected by climate change.

            He'd be laughed off the stage if he brought this to a conference. I've seen it happen to competent researchers.

            As ever, Jesse
            Thanks for clearing that up, Jessie.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by John Reece View Post
              Thanks for clearing that up, Jessie.
              So, is your conclusion also that this Botkin fellow is incompetent? Or, are you planning on taking this up again with him to get to the bottom of this? Or should we just let sleeping polar bears lie?
              βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
              ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

              אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

              Comment


              • #8
                Latest message from Dr. Botkin:
                Dear Mr. Reece,

                The House Committee’s procedures request that those who testify submit a draft of their testimony prior to the day of the hearing, and then request that those testifying provide an updated and edited version by a later date, in this case, by today. As a result, I have submitted updated and corrected versions of my two written testimony documents. I thought you would like to have those and make them available on your website. They are attached.

                Dan Botkin
                WRITTEN TESTIMONY TO THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, SPACE, AND TECHNOLOGY.

                Document 1: Review of the IPCC 2014 Report MAY 29, 2014

                DANIEL B. BOTKIN

                Updated and corrected June 30, 2014

                Since 1968, I have published research on theoretical global warming, its potential ecological effects, and the implications for people and biodiversity. Some examples: In 1970, I developed the first computer model of forests used in many versions around the world from then to the present to forecast possible climate change effects on forests. In the 1980s, one of my graduate students added world vegetation to a major climate model. In 2010, I published a paper comparing century Arctic sea ice extent in the nineteenth with that at the end of the twentieth century. I have a paper in press giving the first statistically valid estimates of forest carbon sequestering for large areas of the Earth.

                I have spent my career trying to help conserve our environment and its great diversity of species. Some examples: When the Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed in 1973, the Commission asked me to analyze the law and explain its key concepts both ecologically and legally; I served on a California State Committee to advise what to do about the then 22 condors remaining in the wild; Under a special bill passed by the Oregon State Legislature, I directed a five year study of the relative effects of forest practices on salmon; Under a special bill passed by the California State Legislature, I directed a study concerning Mono Lake, whose supply of fresh water had been completely diverted to Los Angeles: at the request of the city of Los Angeles, I wrote a report concerning the use of trees, shrubs and other vegetation in a city in a semi-arid environment; I have advised the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission; served as the U.S. representative of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. I have published 14 books about nature and people including one of the leading environmental science textbooks.

                I have always attempted to maintain an objective, intellectually honest, scientific approach in the best tradition of scientific endeavor and have been dismayed and disappointed in recent years that this subject has been converted into a political and ideological debate. I have colleagues on both sides of this debate and believe we should work together as scientists instead of arguing divisively about preconceived, emotionally-based “positions.” I hope my testifying here will help lead to a calmer, more rational approach to dealing with not only climate change but also other major environmental problems.

                I cannot post the entirety of either of Dr. Botkin's corrected pdf documents in any one or two posts, because the words therein are jammed together without any space between words, and it is very arduous, painstaking, and tedious for me to go through the texts separating word from word. It also exacerbates one of my health problems.

                I intend to post the entirety of Dr. Botkin's corrected pdf documents, in serial posts of several paragraphs per post.

                To be continued...
                Last edited by John Reece; 07-01-2014, 10:16 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by robrecht View Post
                  So, is your conclusion also that this Botkin fellow is incompetent? Or, are you planning on taking this up again with him to get to the bottom of this? Or should we just let sleeping polar bears lie?
                  Hi, robrecht.

                  I appreciate you post above. In my initial response, I said that I would just let sleeping polar bears lie. However, subsequent to my response to your post above, Dr. Botkin has taken the initiative to followup with a series of email exchanges with me. Here is the gist of his response to Jessie's defamatory mischaracterization of him first as a liar and then as an incompetent (brackets added by JR).
                  The facts speak for themselves about the serious errors and misreadings of the literature in the two reports. Attacking me is a way to obscure those faults, so I should just move on to other things.

                  I suggest that you make the point that I just wrote: the errors in the reports are real and attacks on the messenger do not change the message. In the polar bear case the reality is that Vongraven admits the whole thing was empty scientifically, and that stands whatever this writer [Jessie] says about the messenger [Dr. Bodkin]

                  By the way, attacking the messenger when there is no way to attack the message is a standard underhanded ploy by those on the defensive.

                  Dr. Bodkin adds in another email:
                  I developed the Computer forest model that for several decades was one of only two methods to forecast effects of global warming on forests and their endangered species. To say I am incompetent means that huge amounts of work by many people using this model and its descendants are also wrong, which provides fuel for those opposed to a human-caused global warming, exactly the opposite of what the Jesse is trying to show.

                  I have many other publications that would make that same embarrassing argument pulling the rug from his criticism.
                  Last edited by John Reece; 07-02-2014, 12:27 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks, John.

                    If you're reading this, Dr. Botkin, hello and welcome! Feel free to join in the discussion directly.
                    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
                    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      John,


                      If you like, pm me an example of the uncorrected test. I might be able to fix it more easily - won't know without trying.

                      "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                      "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                      My Personal Blog

                      My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by robrecht View Post
                        Thanks, John.

                        If you're reading this, Dr. Botkin, hello and welcome! Feel free to join in the discussion directly.
                        Dr. Botkin took some time to consider joining Theology Web, but decided that he has better ways to invest his time and efforts.

                        Thanks again, robrecht, for your very helpful questions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by John Reece View Post
                          Dr. Botkin took some time to consider joining Theology Web, but decided that he has better ways to invest his time and efforts.
                          I wonder if he's on to something....
                          I DENOUNCE DONALD J. TRUMP AND ALL HIS IMMORAL ACTS.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Zymologist View Post
                            I wonder if he's on to something....
                            Pretty sure it makes him smarter than us....

                            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                            "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                            My Personal Blog

                            My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As if that were any great feat!
                              βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
                              ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                              אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

                              Comment

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