Der Spiegel On Monnett – Shoddy Scientist Who Is A Victim Of An Intrigue

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Now that the science behind the threat of polar bear extinction has fallen to pieces too, it’s worth looking at how the German elite media has approached the story, at least those who have not chosen to ignore the inconvenient embarrassment altogether, as most have done.

Der Spiegel, to their credit, has given the story online, front page treatment here. But one notices that Der Spiegel couldn’t help making it sound like an intrigue involving environmentalists, power politics and oil companies lurking in the background pulling strings:

It is a mysterious story that a research suspense story needs: Powerful oil companies in the background, dead polar bears as icons of climate change – and a scientist under suspicion.”

Der Spiegel then goes on to explain why Monnett was suspended, first explaining how Monnett sees it:

In Monnett’s view, scientists like himself are standing in the way of the Obama-government to open up the ocean area off the coast of Alaska for oil drilling. That’s what the government of the state under Republican Sean Parnell wants. That’s what the oil companies, foremost Shell, want. And that’s what the White House wants.”

According to Der Spiegel, Monnett views himself as a lone victim of a conspiracy for having played a major role in getting the polar bear on the list of endangered species. Finally, past the half way point of the piece, Der Spiegel points out that Monnett’s scientific work was indeed sloppy and grossly lacked data:

Indeed the hated scientist had to admit last winter in a hearing that hardly any documentation for viewing the dead polar bears exists. There were no clear photos. The animals also did not show up in any official datasets of the expedition.”

Der Spiegel also noticed that the peer review was everything but rigorous, the paper sailed through the process with hardly any scrutiny:

In the publication of the Polar Biology article, it appears no one was disturbed by this. Even in-house reviewers in Monnett’s office as well as three anonymous peer reviewers of the journal simply waved the paper through with only slight modifications.”

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16 responses to “Der Spiegel On Monnett – Shoddy Scientist Who Is A Victim Of An Intrigue”

  1. DirkH

    The usual Big Oil slur from Der Spiegel. Will be eagerly picked up by their million of depressive Malthusian German readers. Two weeks ago i had one of them in my car, i was driving us from a hotel to a company where we had work to do. I knew he was a Spiegel reader because every monday he has the rag on his desk. Without being provoked he explained to me that we’re all gonna perish to which i remarked “You’re more of the glass-half-empty type, are you?”. Nothing tops listening to a Malthusian lunatic right after a very good German breakfast 😉

    1. Lex

      Yeah the deniers are the Malthusian, sure buddy. Read Club of Rome and CFR documents, pro-warmists are the biggest eugenicist communist pieces of trash on Earth.

  2. Edward

    Not sure what Monnett’s angle is, I know for sure that Al Gore used this fable [dying Ursus Maritimus] to augment his lamentable film: “an inconvenient truth” – which was a scandalous yarn and grossly hyped guff, for profit doom-mongering.

    It plucked at the heart strings [it was meant to] of every child in the world – though Lord knows why youngsters find these [imposing] bears so ‘fluffy’ – they are bears who can swim and hunt and fish [they just don’t pooh in the woods] for heavens sake.

    If it transpires, that, Charles Monnett did purposefully seek to deceive and obfuscate [will we ever find out?] he should be left on an ice floe in a far flung northern island and left there to fend for himself – he’ll then be able to observe the Bear’s marvellous propensity for swimming, survival and hunting from close range……!

    1. DirkH

      Monnett does admit that he had an insufficient sample size to do meaningful confidence estimates.
      http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=4177

      IMHO, publishing the observation as such is perfectly OK; but going on to talk about a 75% mortality rate is unscientific BS. He should have known better.

      1. Ulrich Elkmann

        Just take a look at the “grilling protocol” by the Inspector General, posted on Watts Up With That. This is on the cognitive (and semantic) level of a 10-year-old dressed down by the school principal for breaking a window. This guy does not know better.

      2. Edward

        Correct Dirk, he SHOULD know better surely but [as we have seen on numerous other occasions] the subtext seems to be: ‘ never let the truth get in the way of a good story’.

  3. R. de Haan
  4. Ulrich Elkmann

    Now, if one were a seasoned conspiracy theorist / kremlinologist, one might see the fact that Der Spiegel brings this up as a bit of either soul-searching or recognition that AGW is a lost cause. Der Spiegel has been the most insistent purveyor of Global Warming, as well as every fashionable version of Armageddon (at least as far as “quality journalism”is concerned – as the public, as well as they themselves, still view the magazine). Those readers who formerly had to rely on them now have Internet access and can tell if they are led by the nose. Focus magazine, which started out as a direct competitor to Der Spiegel, then downgraded itself to a kind of handy “consumer’s guide”, now seems to have reoriented itself to fill the top niche once more, sans the constant alarmism and capitalism-bashing. All of which makes itself felt in the circulation numbers (it does not help that the nimbus of the magazine was founded on their exposing political scandals of the Watergate calibre (scaled down to Bonn proportions), usually connected to Franz Josef Strauss – these days they run “the last photos of Marilyn Monroe”)… Of course Der Spiegel cannot make a prompt U-turn without losing even more readers, but at least they can start to backpedal a bit. (Interestingly, they can point to a few skeptic pieces they ran over the years – invariably in their “Essay” section and/or as excerpts from books, to make it clear that “we do not share our authors’ opinions” – about one per year.)

  5. R. de Haan

    I’ve posted the link about the expanding glacier for two reasons:
    1. the information comes from NASA
    2. we still have Glacier Gate hovering over the heads of th UN IPCC and Pauchari and the ever obedient MSM blowing things out proportion without spending a single minute on desk research.

    F(oxtrot) them all.

  6. DirkH

    Probably Der Spiegel plucked the story from here.

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/07/29/arctic_scientist_suspension/index.html

    The Salon article contains the same kind of Big Oil allegations. Salon would also be a convenient source as they’re as left-leaning as the Hamburg rag.

  7. R. de Haan

    Christopher Booker: Rajendra Pachauri is back to tell us: Trust me
    http://climaterealists.com/?id=8148
    The IPCC’s chairman wants us to forget all those scandals about hockey sticks and HImalayan glaciers.

  8. R. de Haan

    HadCRUT3: 30% of stations recorded a cooling trend in their whole history
    http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/07/hadcrut3-30-of-stations-recorded.html

    1. DirkH

      Wonderful. And this:
      “In fact, the Gaussian has a standard deviation of 2.36 °C per century.

      The “error of the measurement” of the warming trend is 3 times larger than the result!”

      In scientific circles, one calls this a Null result, right? 😀

    2. mindert eiting

      Yes Ron, Lubos Motl is doing the research that should have been done by climatologists years ago. I assume that he does not earn a penny with his work. I really enjoy this: science for free on the internet.

  9. hemp

    …………Charles Monnett the wildlife biologist working for the BOEMRE who popularized the notion that and endangering the arctic predators was placed on while he is being investigated for scientific misconduct in relation to his ….We might never have heard of any of this but Monnett is being passionately defended by PEER and the staff of that organization is so thoroughly infatuated with its own assumptions and perspective that it cannot even imagine what the material it is disseminating enthusiastically in Monnetts defense would look like to parties less ideologically committed than themselves….News Agency …The Inspector General excerpts had me for instance in stitches….Disclosing as it does the level of rigor of methodology being employed …ERIC MAY Well actually since you re bringing that up 18 and and I m a little confused of how many dead or drowned polar bears you did observe because in the manuscript you indicate three and in the poster presentation …CHARLES MONNETT No….ERIC MAY you mentioned four….CHARLES MONNETT No now you re confusing the um the estimator with the uh the sightings. There were four drowned bears seen….ERIC MAY Okay….CHARLES MONNETT Three of which were on transects….ERIC MAY Okay….CHARLES MONNETT And so for the purpose of that little ratio estimator we only looked at what we were seeing on transects because that s a you know we couldn t be very rigorous but the least we could do is look at the random transects.

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