Irony-gate: Viscount Monckton, a British peer, says his paper was peer-reviewed by a scientist.

“The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley” is full of crap himself. Before casting a wary eye on his new ribaldry, however, let me direct you to yet another dismantling of his “thesis” — this one by Deltoid at ScienceBlogs: “Monckton’s triple counting.” [UPDATE: Even more debunking here.]

twit3.gifBut I digress. The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, as he prefers to call himself, or TVMOB, as I will call him because, damn, the acronym is just too sweet, has penned an epistle to the president of the American Physical Society, which you can peruse here. [Please note that the picture on the right is not TVMOB nor do I think he would ever participate in this.]

TVMOB is displeased with the new APS disclaimer on his article: “The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions.”

TVMOB writes, “This seems discourteous.” You see, TVMOB holds the view that peer review occurs if his article gets suggested edits by a co-editor who happens to be a scientist.

Let me not make the obvious point that being edited by an editor ain’t scientific peer review. You can read the editor’s requested edits on page 2 of TVMOB’s letter. Anybody who has actually been peer-reviewed will note that the proposed edits aren’t anything close to what a peer-reviewed set of comments looks like, especially for an analysis as flawed as this one.

Since TVMOB’s letter is straight out of Monty Python, let me rather make the point in kind that a peer is “a person who holds any of the five grades of the British nobility: duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron.”

By that definition, I am sure that TVMOB’s paper was not given proper peer review. Indeed, I’m not certain TVMOB has a proper peer on this Earth. Perhaps Senator Inhofe or President Bush.

But pity the poor modern British viscount who whines in his letter, “I had expended considerable labor, without having been offered or having requested any honorarium.” Join the club, buddy. Since when do you think scientific newsletters pay you a nickel? Oh, I forgot. You aren’t a scientist.

I especially love the conclusion to his epistle:

Please either remove the offending red-flag text at once or let me have the name and qualifications of the member of the Council or advisor to it who considered my paper before the Council ordered the offending text to be posted above my paper; a copy of this rapporteur’s findings and ratio decidendi; the date of the Council meeting at which the findings were presented; a copy of the minutes of the discussion; and a copy of the text of the Council’s decision, together with the names of those present at the meeting. If the Council has not scientifically evaluated or formally considered my paper, may I ask with what credible scientific justification, and on whose authority, the offending text asserts primo, that the paper had not been scientifically reviewed when it had; secundo, that its conclusions disagree with what is said (on no evidence) to be the “overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community”; and, tertio, that “The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions”? Which of my conclusions does the Council disagree with, and on what scientific grounds (if any)?

Having regard to the circumstances, surely the Council owes me an apology?


Pistols at dawn, perhaps?

One denier website actually labels this “PeerGate scandal.” But I believe they have missed the irony.

Should you be interested in learning more about TVMOB, go to the Science & Public Policy Institute website where he is Chief Policy Adviser. You will learn he has astonishing scientific credentials such as a “Nobel prize pin,” because he commented on the IPCC Fourth assessment report. This has “earned him the status of Nobel Peace Laureate. His Nobel prize pin, made of gold recovered from a physics experiment, was presented to him by the Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, New York.” Also “his limpid analysis of the climate-feedback factor was published on the famous climate blog of Roger Pielke, Sr.” I kid you not.

Monty Python is alive and well. Oh, and TVMOB knows how to use the words “primo” and “secundo” and “tertio.” Some of us can only dream of such scientific achievements.

Finally, if his writing has made you a fan of TVMOB, you can go to “” and purchase products labeled with the Monckton family crest, including mouse pads.

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16 Responses to Irony-gate: Viscount Monckton, a British peer, says his paper was peer-reviewed by a scientist.

  1. Peter says:

    My first thought was that you made this up, but apparently it is true. Well, TVMOB, did go to the Bali conference you know. Surely that must count?

  2. Peter says:

    Oh, and from the link in my previous comment, you can also download his presentation which, among other interesting things, has a theme apparently home made by the guy himself.

  3. Dennis says:

    If this event were not so serious, I’d be laughing like the episode of Fawlty Towers where Basil is infatuated with the so-called peer who shows up and doesn’t realize until too late he’s a con man. It’s pretty obvious that our current peer — TVMOB — is a con man about climate science, and the denial community is our Basil Fawlty. Will our Basils please open up the suitcase of “valuables” and examine the bricks inside?

    TVMOB’s “research” has been thoroughly reviewed by real scientists whose own research has been reviewed by scientific peers (not hereditary ones).

  4. roger says:

    That was a good one, Dennis :)

  5. Gary Herstein says:

    I don’t know, I think Monckton is more like the Black Knight: “Come back here you pansy! I’ll bite your legs off!”

    (Bugger, now I’ll be humming “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” all day.)

  6. Dennis says:

    Gary, I’m not as well-versed on the subject of British titles: is a knight a peer?

  7. David B. Benson says:

    Dennis — I don’t think so, if you are referring to the Britsh peerage. Just barons and up.

  8. Bud says:

    A knight is not a peer, no. Just a plain old sir…

    Monckton never fails to crack me up. I trust the APS will politely ‘peer-review’ his request for an apology and offer constructive suggestions on where he can shove it.

  9. RP says:

    I think it was mis-transcribed. That was a PIER review.

  10. Maybe Monckton will come up with a theory about dinosaurs next…

    [That’s another Monty Python reference]

  11. scruss says:

    It’s not as if the title of Viscount of Brenchley is particularly old – it was created in 1957. As Christopher Monckton was about 5 at that time, it doesn’t mean that they have much history to protect …

  12. Gary Herstein says:

    My reference was to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, of course.

    A knight is not a peer, but a scientist is usually a doc’.

  13. El Cid says:

    I think you should all stop making fun of the The Fourth and Final Discount Monk’s Tongue Lord Chrysalis Murmurer of Peter Benchley.

  14. Umlud says:

    I don’t know why his knickers are all in a twist about how “offensive” the wording was at the top of his article. I mean, if you take a look at the other one, “A Tutorial on the Basic Physics of Climate Change”, you’ll see the same disclaimer as on TVMOB’s. And what is that offensive heading?

    The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review, since that is not normal procedure for American Physical Society newsletters. The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007: “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.”

  15. Shyster says:

    I notice you don’t begin to refute the assertations of Monckton, just his claimed “whining”.

    As usual, another snot who declares, “Don’t confuse me with the facts! I know what I know!”

    What a sad, sad, individual…

  16. Joel says:

    Did you notice that there is a new commentary at the APS from a member decrying the APS’s “policy statement” on AGW? They point out that advocacy and exclusion of continuing discovery and collaboration violates the “openess principle” of scientific research.

    Here’s the article: