Bad Bayes still bad

Tamino, a notorious “climate change” blogger, is alleged to also be a statistician. He certainly seems to know something about time series. (Thanks to this investigation, we know that Tamino is Grant Foster, writer of “blog diatribe”-style climate papers. His affiliation in the linked paper is “Tempo Analytics, Westbrook, Maine”, but I can’t find any other reference to it online).

Unfortunately he might be somewhat off-base when it comes to other statistical principles. His discussion of Bayesian analysis is so confused that I’ll leave it to Andrew Gelman, professor of statistics at Columbia University, to summarise it for us:

Kent Holsinger sends along this statistics discussion from a climate scientist. I don’t really feel like going into the details on this one, except to note that this appears to be a discussion between two physicists about statistics. The blog in question appears to be pretty influential, with about 70 comments on most of its entries. When it comes to blogging, I suppose it’s good to have strong opinions even (especially?) when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Update: Gelman repeated himself on his academic blog, where he elaborates on his opinion in the comments. It’s strange that when I tried commenting (twice) on “Tamino”‘s blog to refer him to Gelman’s comments, I didn’t succeed; but when someone else did the same but with the qualifier that “[Gelman] comes around to Tamino’s side” [which not actually true] in his later comments the link appears.

At the time of writing the comment thread ends with “Tamino” abusing a commenter trying to correct one of his calculations until he eventually admits he was indeed wrong. Oh dear.


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