William Briggs commentary: His actual employment letter to the NY Times

new-york-timesThis is an actual, legitimate letter to the New York Times, responding to its search for a new climate change editor. It may strike you as a tongue-in-cheek put-on, but its author, William Briggs, assured that he really is interested in the position … and really did submit this letter as part of his employment application. He just couldn’t resist employing his typical sense of humor, which is not what most folks might expect from a statistician.

That humorous streak includes taking a few jabs at the NY Times, Climate Chaos Industry, and climate cataclysm computer modelers and “bamboozlers.” So I have a hunch that you may want to share his letter with your readers, friends and colleagues. –Paul Driessen

Employment application*

New York Times is looking for a climate change editor. That’s me!

By William M. Briggs

Dean Baquet and Sam Dolnick
New York Times
New York, NY

Re: Climate Change Editor

Dear Misters Baquet and Dolnick:

Please accept my application for the position of Climate Change Editor, the details of which I saw online.

About the material your paper has been printing about global warming, I’ve concluded that you guys need me as badly as Bill Clinton needs an audience. Better, just as you want in a new editor, I’m “obsessed with finding new ways to connect with readers and new ways to tell this vital story.”

For instance, here’s an angle you haven’t so far considered. We could show readers that global warming models have failed at higher rates than Larry King’s marriages. Budget forecasts by President Obama are more accurate than the temperatures predicted by global climate models (GCMs). A smart man would trust a GCM as much as he would a politician’s campaign promise.

Five’ll get you twenty, your readers don’t know how lousy the models are. And I’d bet my first-year’s salary (I heard you pay well) that they’ll cheer when reminded that it was once a firm scientific principle that rotten models imply busted theories. In this case, it means the existence of serially unskillful GCMs are nearly certain proof that carbon dioxide is not the demon gas it’s been painted.

We’d run this headline: “Wonderful News: Global-Warming-Of-Doom Proved Almost Surely False.” We’d lead with a cheering paragraph that we don’t need to be as nearly panicked as your (and I hope soon my) paper has been.

I know what you’re thinking. Same thing our readers will be thinking. “But how can this be? I thought it was certain that the world was soon to end unless massive government programs were instituted.” We’d have them hooked! Guaranteed boost in circulation.

I envision a series in which we expose the schemers, hangers-on, band-wagoners, activists, fund-raisers, self-deluded, egos (I almost said “politicians,” which would have been redundant), and even frauds and bamboozlers whose claimed knowledge of fluid physics on a rotating sphere is as artificial as that thing perched on Donald Trump’s cranium. Let’s call out these folks who have turned “climate change” into an unhealthy living.

How many times have we heard psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, economists, and other un-trained scientifically ignorant (I use this word in its technical sense) academics lecture us on the horrors that await us under “climate change,” when they wouldn’t know a cloud parameterization from a sigma coordinate? I’ll tell you: too often.

I do know, though. It is the Times’s tremendous luck that I’m at liberty, ready, and willing to take on this monumental task. Together we can screw people’s heads back on straight and get them to worry about something really important. Like the rise of politics dictating science and the corrupting influence of money.

I am an actual bona fide scientist. I have published actual articles in the Journal of Climate, among many others. My specialty is in the value and goodness of models, and the expense and badness of bad science. I’ve written a best-seller (my mom bought two copies) on the subject: Uncertainty: The Soul of Modeling, Probability & Statistics. I know this is a presumptuous questions, but if I get the job can I get this reviewed in the Book Review? Might boost sales.

Climate models have the stink of old garlic on them, but they smell like the purest roses next to the putrescence of some models loved by academics driven beyond their ability to resist to publish (or perish). There is limitless material we can mine, exposing scientism, correcting massive over-certainty, putting science back on rational grounds.

Given its tone, it’s understandable if you think this application is a lark. It isn’t. I’m earnest. If offered, I’d take the job and do better with it than anybody else you’d find. With me, you’re assured of always getting my true and honest opinion.

Bonus: Roger Kimball called me “the civilized world’s most amusing statistician.”

Here’s a list of pieces I’ve written at The Stream: https://stream.org/author/williammbriggs/. All these were meant for a general audience. And I have hundreds at my place: http://wmbriggs.com.

Many of these are more technical or difficult, and do not illustrate how I’d write for a Times audience; nevertheless, they give you an idea of the scope and range of my interests.

I look forward to hearing from you. I can start any time. I’m only a few blocks north of your offices.

Sincerely yours,

William M. Briggs

*Update: In case it’s not clear, I did apply for the job officially, and this really is the letter I sent.

Comments (3)

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    James Bancroft


    excellent piece. It seems even the most simple science fan can pull apart the findings of AlGore if they just had access to the data and the means of collecting that data in it’s raw form.
    I worked testing aircraft for structural failure, and models are only good for finding out what happens when you smash them. you dont build an airplane until your model survives the test, and you surely would be arrested if you built one based on mathematical lies, so the question arises: why in the world are we letting pseudo-scientists and general education failures determine our laws and proceedings of our national policy if they only do it based on lies and political bent?
    I guess my question has it’s own answer…they do it for their own personal lies and personal political bent as long as it gets them paychecks for carbon credits and better seating at the Oscars…or Jeff Epstein’s island resort…

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    It is becoming more and more apparent there is something seriously wrong with much of the main street media . It takes some amateur video from citizens to provide proof there is a lot more going on here than a bout of pneumonia .
    The Hillary health cover up could be addressed very easily . Provide a full medical
    test examination and prove the public is not being mislead about the health of the two candidates for the highest office in the USA .
    Pneumonia … really ? She looked out on her feet . Sad really but the public better not be getting taken as suckers . What’s next a pneumonia relapse on the debate days ?
    I know off topic but even the New York Times seems to have lost an edge . Why ?
    Who is bankrolling the major newspapers these days ?

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    Marshall Rosenthal


    Great letter! Hope you get the job. The bs is suffocating me.

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