Sokal Revisited – I Smell a Hoax

November 7th, 2007

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.

Benny Peiser sent around on his CCNet list a link to the following paper:

Carbon dioxide production by benthic bacteria: the death of manmade global warming theory? Journal of Geoclimatic Studies (2007) 13:3. 223-231.

It has the following statement within the text:

Moreover we note that there is no possible mechanism by which industrial emissions could have caused the recent temperature increase, as they are two orders of magnitude too small to have exerted an effect of this size. We have no choice but to conclude that the recent increase in global temperatures, which has caused so much disquiet among policy makers, bears no relation to industrial emissions, but is in fact a natural phenomenom.

These findings place us in a difficult position. We feel an obligation to publish, both in the cause of scientific objectivity and to prevent a terrible mistake – with extremely costly implications – from being made by the world’s governments. But we recognise that in doing so, we lay our careers on the line. As we have found in seeking to broach this issue gently with colleagues, and in attempting to publish these findings in other peer-reviewed journals, the “consensus” on climate change is enforced not by fact but by fear. We have been warned, collectively and individually, that in bringing our findings to public attention we are not only likely to be deprived of all future sources of funding, but that we also jeopardise the funding of the departments for which we work.

We believe that academic intimidation of this kind contradicts the spirit of open enquiry in which scientific investigations should be conducted. We deplore the aggressive responses we encountered before our findings were published, and fear the reaction this paper might provoke. But dangerous as these findings are, we feel we have no choice but to publish.

Shocking, it seems. But call me a skeptic skeptic – I’m calling this a hoax.

11 Responses to “Sokal Revisited – I Smell a Hoax”

  1. Roger Pielke, Jr. Says:

    Your hoaxer?

  2. 2
  3. Andrew Dessler Says:

    Hi Roger. I think that it’s important to point out that, unlike the Sokal paper, this one did not get published. In fact, I would say that it’s highly, highly unlikely that something this obviously false would ever make it through peer review at JGR, GRL, etc. The only lesson here is that Peiser is either (a) careless or (b) knows nothing about climate science. Both could also be true.

  4. 3
  5. jfleck Says:

    Andrew -

    I think you’re being too hard on poor Benny. Maybe he’s just open-minded?

    Roger -

    You pointed the finger of blame at this “Thorpe” character awfully quickly. Frankly, it makes me suspicious. I’ve been wondering what you’ve been up to out there on your “European sabbatical”. :-)

  6. 4
  7. Roger Pielke, Jr. Says:

    Ha. Amazing what you can learn via a web domain whois query;-)

    Thorpe looks like the consultant, I’d bet there is a collaborator as well …

    It’ll be interesting to see if the “paper” shows up on political sites . . .

  8. 5
  9. Roger Pielke, Jr. Says:

    One born every minute:

    This poor fellow doubts that the “paper” will be reported on by the BBC. I think he is probably right;-)

  10. 6
  11. jfleck Says:

    Looks like Ron Bailey apparently also got taken, albeit briefly:

  12. 7
  13. TokyoTom Says:

    Someone posted a link to the paper on my blog. I`ve been enjoying the spoof references that the paper contains.

  14. 8
  15. Daniel Says:

    Two of the authors claim to be from department of Atmospheric physics at Göteborg University, Sweden. As an employee of that university I have never heard of that department. It simply does not exist. And there are no employees at the university with these names.

  16. 9
  17. Chip Knappenberger Says:

    Wow. It is amusing at how fast this “hoax” was ferreted out, and the belly-slapping that some folks are getting in their analysis of who reported it when and how long it took them to correct themselves, and yet other such obviously ludicrous statements are published in the New York Times ( and embraced the world around.

    “CO2 PRODUCTION BY BENTHIC BACTERIA: THE DEATH OF MANMADE GLOBAL WARMING THEORY?” — who’d be dumb enough to believe that?!? snicker, snicker

    “Our home — Earth — is in danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.” — oh yeah, right on, let’s give that man a Nobel Prize!

    Both premises are equally “made up.”

    -Chip Knappenberger

  18. 10
  19. Russell Seitz Says:

    Anyone mistaking for science a ‘paper’ presenting such pure gibberish as :

    4δ161 x Λ³Жญ5,6,1,8Φ-4 = {(ΣΨ²Њyt3 – 14๖P9) x 49}/2β x ⅜kxgt -§”

    and dealing in concentrations of “4.3 x 10ˉ²¹g/m²” –quite literally a drop in the ocean — is the lawful prey of whoever devised this comedy classic.

    Need I remind you that Limbaugh does not believe that CFC’s cause O3 depletion either, and was deliberately misrepresening _Nature_ to that effect as recently as September 27 ?

  20. 11
  21. ConfusedCollegeStudent Says:

    When people have an agenda they want to push, they won’t necessarily be upfront or obvious about it. Reading this three paragraph statement, it helps to be attentive to the wording of this seemingly innocuous statement against scientific censorship: does any real scientist, who publishes something as ground-breaking as a anthropogenic global warming – busting study, announce with a kind of Hollywood bravado “we lay our careers on the line”? Or “As dangerous as these choices are, we feel we have no choice but to publish.” Doesn’t sound like a real scientist, to me.