This is the first of a series I promised at
when I first started this blog over a year ago.
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When the Climategate story broke in late 2009, Wattsupwiththat led with two emails from Professor Phil Jones. The second was the famous “hide the decline” mail. The first received less coverage. It read:
“Subject: John L. Daly dead. Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004. Importance: Normal
Mike, In an odd way this is cheering news ! One other thing about the CC paper – just found another email – is that McKittrick says it is standard practice in Econometrics journals to give all the data and codes !! According to legal advice IPR [Intellectual Property Rights] overrides this. Cheers Phil”
The fact that Professor Phil Jones was shocked!! (his exclamation marks) to discover that there were scientists who think it standard practice to publish their data, and that he was evidently relieved to discover that his supposed Intellectual Property Rights over the temperatures of the surface of the globe might mean that he would never have to reveal this personal secret to the world clearly had more scientific importance than the fact of his rejoicing over the death of someone many of us had never heard of.
So the fact of Phil Jones being cheered by the death of John Daly got forgotten (partly because it wasn’t of any scientific importance, while his attempts to hide his data from public view clearly were) and partly because the Climategate emails were of doubtful provenance, and we all felt a bit guilty about reading them. No doubt we’ve all said things like that which we’d be ashamed of if they were made public, haven’t we?
I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I can’t imagine the circumstances in which I’d be cheered by the thought of someone’s death, especially someone I’d never met.
OK, maybe a jealous husband with a gun licence and friends in high places – but really – I’m stretching it.
Phil Jones seemed a mild-mannered sort of person, judging by his appearance before the Parliamentary science committee and the revelations about his thoughts of suicide.
So what had John Daly ever done to Phil Jones to make him rejoice over the news of his death?
Nothing. He disagreed with him, that’s all.
I’d never heard of John Daly before Climategate. He was born in Bournemouth, England in 1943, and died in Australia in 2004. In 1989 he wrote a book called The Greenhouse Trap”, (Bantam Books, 1989). When I started writing this, the book was advertised on Amazon at prices ranging from 100 to 1000 dollars. It’s now unavailable.
The fullest account of his life is at http://www.john-daly.com/obituary.htm
The following is a slightly edited version, reproduced without permission, but I hope the authors will allow it. I recommend people to consult the original.
John Daly was born in Bournemouth, UK, on 31 March 1943. His father was subsequently killed when his merchant vessel, Lancastrian Prince was sunk by German U boats off Newfoundland with the loss of all who were on board. John never saw his father.
After the war John’s mother, Mary Daly, was faced with the financial difficulties of raising both John and his sister Nicky in post-war Britain. Consequently, John was sent to live with his uncle in Cobh, Southern Ireland, and grew up surrounded by his cousins. Later on he was able to return to England to live with his mother and to study to become a ship’s radio officer.
He went to sea at the age of 17 for the Blue Funnel Line, where he travelled the world’s oceans, with extensive shore visits to many countries. At sea he became an autodidact, teaching himself through omnivorous reading, and developing his powers of analysis. A merchant seaman is always concerned about the weather, and a radio operator is always receiving weather reports. Thus John was able to study weather, climate and astronomy while actively observing them. Thus began his lifelong interest in climatology.
After three years at sea, John was successful in securing a position as a civilian radio officer for GCHQ at Cheltenham (the successor to the famous Bletchley Park intelligence organisation). In this job, however, he found himself “bored out of his mind” and resigned after only 2 years. […] John and Amy then settled at Milford Haven, Wales, where John worked as a radar service engineer for Decca. [At] Aberystwyth .. he took out an honours degree in economics. […] In 1980 the Daly family emigrated to Launceston, Tasmania, where John established a company manufacturing the two marine electronic devices he had invented (Daly Bilgeguard and Daly WatchGuard). Although this was commercially successful, by 1992, he found it intellectually insufficiently challenging. So the business was sold and John having already moved into teaching electronics and economics, became a full-time senior-secondary college teacher.
It was at this time he became particularly interested in the global warming issue. His first public foray into this issue was a 1989 monograph “The Greenhouse Trap” published by Bantam Books, which is still relevant to the debate.
In 1995 he established his website “Still Waiting For Greenhouse”
He was one of the earliest pioneers in the use of the Internet to disseminate information and arguments concerning one of the most extraordinary episodes in the history of Western Civilisation, that is, the attempt to de-carbonise the world economy on the grounds that increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide will result in climatic catastrophe.
John was concerned that the legitimacy of these de-carbonisation campaigns was based solely on scientific theories that were both highly questionable and unsupported by empirical evidence. Although self-taught, John was a gifted scientist. He was particularly talented at presenting complex scientific climate data in a format that was easily read and understood by the layperson. As a result, his web site appealed to those who wanted to gain understanding of the various scientific arguments pertaining to the greenhouse effect in order to be able to contribute to the political issues surrounding the global warming debate.
The website acquired a huge readership from all over the world; a readership which included many well-qualified academics and scientists of repute, who have publicly recognised his scholarship and his scientific acumen. The non-scientists also appreciated John’s website both for its content, and because it represented the voice of an independent and gifted scholar who saw something seriously wrong with establishment climatology, and took it upon himself to demonstrate why it was wrong.
Since the birth of the website, more than two million hits have been registered. Although his talents and achievements were recognised abroad, particularly in the US, his antagonists in university and government science circles within Australia rarely lost an opportunity to refer to him as a “school teacher”; they often addressed him, with mock deference, as Dr Daly ; and in their submissions, usually referred to the unanimity of “elite scientific opinion” concerning their predictions of global warming and its anthropogenic causes. […]
The global warming debate is as much a religious as it is a scientific issue, which is why it is conducted with such passionate intensity. John Daly always conducted himself with good humour and courteous civility. The Internet has very recently provided the means whereby those outside the corridors of power can speak truth to each other, wherever they might live around the world and because, in the end, the corridors of power cannot be sealed off from the rest of the world, the truth will permeate into those corridors.
Just as the invention of the printing press destroyed the capacity of the ecclesiastical and political authorities of the 16th century to control what was written and spoken, the Internet has made possible open, independent, uncensored forums to be established, and for unfettered debate to occur outside official circles. One of John’s great legacies is the use of the Internet to publish scientific articles that had been rejected through the ‘peer-review’ control system.
Because of the Internet, the spectre of public nakedness now haunts the global warming establishment. This is due in no small part to the long hours which John Daly spent in his tiny study in Tasmania, corresponding around the world with admirers, interlocutors, and detractors, and preparing the next material to be loaded onto “Still Waiting For Greenhouse”.
[…] His life is testimony to the fact that one person, if armed with intelligence, energy, perseverance and a commitment to the truth, can change events. John Daly was above all valiant for truth and his memory will long endure.
Ray Evans & Rachel Daly
A full list of his publications is at http://www.john-daly.com/dalybio.htm