Zombie Lies

A guest post by Kevin O'Neill

zombie lie n. A false statement that keeps getting repeated no matter how often it has been refuted.

Steven Goddard must be a fan of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark because Real Science is nothing if not repetitive. Like Carroll's Bellman, Goddard must believe, "What I tell you three times is true." Still, Goddard isn't taking any chances. Some lies get repeated four or five times.

Take the case of "open water" at the North Pole: Real Science has repeatedly tried to make the case that the current loss of Arctic sea-ice is nothing unusual. One specific piece of evidence to 'support' this claim is a photograph of a U.S. Navy Submarine - the USS Skate - supposedly in open water at the North Pole on March 17, 1959. This is a zombie lie. Goddard repeats it no less than 5 times:

And just in case, there's also a guest post by Goddard, Open Water At The North Pole over at WattsUpWithThat.

The USS Skate *did* surface at the North Pole on March 17, 1959. And that *is* a photo of the USS Skate. It is *not* a photo of the USS Skate surfacing in open water at the North Pole on March 17, 1959.

The best guess is that the photo is from *August 1958* - when it surfaced at Drift Station Alpha.

Real photos of the USS Skate at the North Pole have been available since at least 1961; that's when the Commander of the Skate, James Calvert, published Surface At The Pole, Commander James Calvert
USN, The Extraordinary Voyages of the USS Skate
. Within can be found the following images:

Rather than open water, the Skate surfaced through ice in a frozen lead. And as Patrick Lockerby has chronicled over at The Chatter Box, in Surface At the Pole Calvert details how they didn't find any open water on their 1959 cruise until several days *after* they surfaced at the North Pole - and when they did it was hundreds of miles from the pole and the 'open water' was a hole in the ice about two-feet in diameter!

This same zombie lie can be found all over the denialsphere. See! PROOF the Arctic was just as warm or warmer in the recent past! AGW is a fraud. No, the only fraud is claiming the USS Skate surfaced
in open water at the North Pole in March of 1959. Steven Goddard can keep repeating this zombie lie as often as he wants - we'll keep shooting it down.

UPDATE: Goddard has (sort of) admitted the truth: Navy Changes Their Caption. You see - it was all the fault of NavSource Online


  1. Whooops .... Headline "Navy Changes Their Caption" turns out to be a little wide of the mark. Navsource.org is not the US Navy. Navsource.org is a photo resource registered in Funchal Madeira, where needless to say there is no US Navy base.

  2. Housekeeping note: the 2nd image appeared one paragraph too early.

    Goddard's "Navy Changes Their Caption" is itself in error. NavSourceOnline is not a US Navy website, so the Navy hasn't changed their position one iota.

    Reading the comments is illuminating:
    GregO:This is revisionist history and is the hallmark of a totalitarian government. This is the kind of history re-writing Soviet Russia did in the cold war.

    Me:Yeah like the commander of the boat will say that perhaps it happened in August instead of March, perhaps it never really happened...

    Siliggy:Here are the history re-writers at it again...

    But the real whopper in the comments comes from Steven Goddard himself:I have written over 10,000 articles about a huge range of topics.

    Apparently SG thinks posting an image of an old newspaper clipping counts as 'writing an article.'

  3. Oh, and the last paragraph (before the UPDATE) should read:
    "No, the only fraud is claiming the USS Skate surfaced in open water at the North Pole in March of 1959."

    I know it seems a bit redundant since we're talking about the photo, but given any chance to misinterpret ... you know how that plays.

  4. Hey, this is a nice blog! Love the name.

    Today Goddard (I never go there, but it showed up in my Google Alert mail) claims that Arctic Sea Ice Extent Highest Since At Least 2006. Of course, this graph gets updated, and after today's update the Arctic Sea Ice extent on the outlier Arctic ROOS graph is no longer highest.

    I notified good old Steve. Will he write an update, I wonder?

  5. Goddard: "I have written over 10,000 articles about a huge range of topics."

    It can take me months to research and compose a post at my blog. How does Goddard produce so much, so quickly?

    Based on observations of his output, Goddard posts any old chatter between the two hamsters running the controls in his head.

  6. What is this I see. Less than 18" of ice???


  7. You have to keep working at it all the time.