Because I don’t want this to happen. And even if it will happen, still I will be the last one standing with a house full of lighting.
Peter Gleick of “weak thought” and “let’s-pump-up-some-controversy-exactly-when-my-book-is-published” fame has surfaced again, this time in a comment to a photograph posted by Andy Revkin on Facebook, showing Lord Monckton and Brad Johnson in Cancún.
Sadly, there isn’t much positive to report this time either.
Ironically (or exactly!), Gleick’s comment is posted exactly underneath my quote from Carl Sagan, “the cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas“. Here’s Gleick’s:
I cannot believe that Monckton has a booth. Astounding.
And this is my reply:
Whilst I am not surprised by Peter Gleick’s comment, exactly juxtaposed to Sagan’s quote, a quick google search identifies Lord Monckton as “advisor” to CFACT.
Therefore it is incorrect to claim that Monckton “has a booth” in Cancun.
On the… other hand CFACT describes itself as “a UN credentialed NGO [that] has been sending delegations to UN conferences for many years“. So if anybody is itching for a bit of censorship and has a problem with the UN credentials system, an email or two in the direction of that glass building in Turtle Bay are in order.
As I find myself repeating, AGW has been so far impossible to falsify, in the sense that nobody has any idea of what kind of observation or observations would be needed to disprove it, either as-is or in its catastrophic form.
This is no small detail, as the very existence of catastrophic AGW is used by many people in blatant violation of Cromwell’s Rule:
if a coherent Bayesian attaches a prior probability of zero to the hypothesis that the Moon is made of green cheese, then even whole armies of astronauts coming back bearing green cheese cannot convince him
How many AGWers would be able to accept the famous exhortation, “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken“? Very very few, especially among those of an activist variety. And this brings one straight back where I started for tonight’s research, a chance view (via the concept of “scientific allegiance“) of a short, emotional clip from “The Ascent of Man” by Jacob Bronowski, author of the quote that is the title of this post.
Bronowski makes a very poignant point, inviting each and every one of us to reach out to people, instead of transforming them into numbers. And what is the accusation of “denialism” but an attempt to de-humanize anybody that is not an AGW True Believer?
The world being built anybody using the term “denialism” in an AGW context ain’t pretty. Bronowski again:
There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility. That is the human condition; and that is what quantum physics says. I mean that literally.
Roger Pielke Jr and Benny Peiser have been guests of London think-tank “Legatum” in the evening of Nov 16. This is my microblogging of the evening (I’ll edit it slightly when I have a few mins):
Finally I have managed to get a copy of The Climate Fix, autographed by its author.
(*) I have congratulated Roger for disseminating the news about the $82B dodgy insurance deal, but then asked him and Benny why replace the humongous failed climate policy of old with some other humongous policy; why not concentrate efforts on small but significant issues like particulates; and what would prevent Governments from raising a carbon tax and spending money on something that has nothing to do with carbon.
It’s so simple, no rabid environmentalist or holier-than-thou climate scientist will understand it…so I won’t explain it here, and leave it as an exercise to the (rational) reader starting from this quote:
“Now, if for the past 20 years we had been told that there is a probability of some change in the climate due to CO2, and a very small possibility that it is likely to lead to a drastic lurch, then I could join with you and the consensus. Instead of which I have been repeatedly told that trillions must be spent urgently because there are only a few months to save the world and it is the most urgent problem, more urgent than hunger, malaria and indoor air pollution, likely to lead to the collapse of the entire economy and moreover that the science is settled and to question it is to be equivalent to a criminal. So, apologies if I sound a little exercised on this, but as a huge champion of science I feel very, very let down by the science establishment, especially the laughably poor enquiries on the emails published this year. Ask yourself if these emails had been within a drug company about a drug trial, whether the establishment would have been so determined to excuse them”
I shall rephrase it for the IQ challenged:
IF for the past 20 years we had been told that:
THEN I could join with you and the consensus.
INSTEAD I have been repeatedly told that:
So, apologies if I sound a little exercised on this, but as a huge champion of science I feel very, very let down by the science establishment, especially the laughably poor enquiries on the emails published this year
There we go again with the Guardian trying to launch yet another warmist plaything, this time of course not killing anybody, or in truth, killing even more people than before.
I am talking of course of “Fate of the World“. a game that (according to Adam Vaughan)
“puts players at the helm of a future World Trade Organisation-style environmental body with a task of saving the world by cutting carbon emissions or damning it by letting soaring temperatures wreak havoc through floods, droughts and fires“
Obviously, with much less splatter to show there is not going to be an outcry like with Franny Armstrong’s disaster, yet there are many reasons to rejoice at this ultimately self-defeating propaganda piece. You see, the video game, renamed “World of Warmcraft” on Twitter by the incomparable Ed Yong of Discover Blogs fame, is surely like a dream come true for many a skeptic.
As suggested by Vaughan, and then reported in an accompanying first-hand-experience article by Jack Arnott, gamers aren’t going to be presented pretty choices:
“Put an emissions cap on a growing economy, stifling growth, and they’ll get fed up and throw your agency out of the area. Encourage investment and prosperity and there’ll soon be environmental consequences.[...] wars and natural disasters are often triggered inadvertently by your decisions, and you’re informed each time a major species becomes extinct [...] If a regime is refusing to bow to demands, why not sponsor an insurgency force to take them out? Better yet, if a country has an unforgivably high population to emissions ratio (I’m looking at you, North America), why not covertly sterilise the population?“
(Yes, yes, of course it’s all in the spirit of “dark humor“. Who would have ever thought, “dark humor” includes now playing mass-murders and genocide on a games console…let’s get out those Rwanda jokes and Hiroshima stand-up comedy!!)
What will people learn from Fate of the World, but that, according to mainstream AGW belief, hugely unpopular policies are needed to prevent “environmental consequences“, alongside forcing people to remain (or to become) poor, killing many of them by absolutely unlawful, violent regime-change sponsorships, eliminating the undesirables, etc etc? Even the existence of a “Dr Apocalypse” mode, “in which your goal is to raise temperatures around the world as much as you can without losing the political support of different regions” (in Arnott’s words) can be easily seen as a further manifestation of “AGW believer bloodlust”.
Why, if I will ever need to demonstrate that the average AGWer is a humanity-hating warmonger looking forward to inspire violence and ruin the lives of as many people as possible…I’ll do worse than pointing to a copy of “Fate of the World”.
…is his ability to carry people over with him towards the realm of pure silliness.
Of course I still think that Gavin Schmidt should be considered as the best thing that ever happened to climate skeptics. But while Schmidt’s innate ability is to undermine his own arguments to no end (I am sure they guy would lose a debate about UFOs against an astrologer), Romm is becoming an inspiration for a great number of his followers to go along wherever he takes them.
There we have, for example, Tom Friedman’s obsession with praising Dick Cheney (!) and China (who cares about its treatment of journalists, when it’s investing in “clean energy”?). Yes, Friedman believes every word Romm says. Now however the game is reaching new heights, so to speak, with the most incredibly stupid rhetorical attack this side of Philipp II of Macedon threatening Sparta. The attack, that is, against solidly-warmist Scientific American for the one and only reason of having spoken about Judith Curry.
Romm takes a long long road around the problem, of course, but the main trouble (what? An article about Curry?) is never far…suffice it to say that the article’s own author, writing in Climate Central of all places, goes straight to the point, and tries to justify why he “wrote about Judith Curry” and if it is “irresponsible to discuss Curry’s views” (rather than deal with Romm’s empty complaints about online polls and the use of the IPCC AR4 report).
Lemonick keeps hammering on and on about his crystal-clear orthodoxy…of course, Curry’s “valid points” are “often points the climate-science community already agrees with”. And of course, “some of her other points are not very persuasive at all”. So for Lemonick, Judith Curry either talks trivial, or stupid. Tertium non datur. We’re back among miracles.
None of that will ever be enough now that Romm is on the case. And his believers: Salon.com wonders about a “new barbarism” (cue the usual, trite conspiracy theory), whilst the FAIR blog denies there is any (any) “worthy argument” ever made by any climate skeptic (or Judith Curry). So for Jim Naureckas Scientific American did something pretty bad, as “skepticism” is “not a respectable scientific position” because everything the mainstream scientists do is right from day one, and everything the non-mainstream scientists do is wrong by definition. This will go into the miracles list as well.
I tell you, one day Romm or somebody in his coterie will come up with the equivalent of the GIA’s 1996 declaration that the whole of Algerian society (apart from a few people) were to be massacred as some kind of “fake Muslims”. Even Osama bin Laden could not stomach as much, and we only have to wait until even the most rabid AGWers will have their “Zouabri” moment and wake up to the only possible consequence of Romm’s scorched-earth policy: complete and absolute inaction about anything that is climate-related.
And that’s why Romm’s attack against Scientific American is so incredibly stupid.
Since I couldn’t get enough connectivity in the conference hall tonight, here are my quasi-live notes about President Václav Klaus’ Inaugural Annual GWPF Lecture at The Great Room of Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce in London (UK):
(these notes are provided as they are, with very little corrections – I will post my own reflections later)
(UPDATE: see also Reuters)
Atrocious weather getting worse…is Al Gore in town, by any chance?
Around 70 people. Klaus’ book free to all attendants.
I meet Rupert Wyndham of BBC’s Complaint Procedure fame
Packing up quickly. Many are diplomats, as I have later learned.
7:07 Lawson and Klaus
Peiser starts. There is a lectern this time and a microphone. Videorecording equipment.
Klaus introduced as political leader but also an intellectual, of the classical liberalism variety: individual liberty, limited government, freedom to dissent.
“couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate speaker”
Copenhagen failure, Climategate, IPCC debacle: change in the political atmosphere.
Pres Klaus has been calling for rational and freedom-loving people to respond to the threat posed by collective environmentalist hysteria.
Klaus’ accent sounds better than mine
Special thanks to Nigel Lawson. Large range of institutions that support those that doubt current-prevailing dogma. This is not enough. Bias, carefully-organised propaganda needs to be countered with rationality.
Cites Bob Carter. The issue is not the warming, but the “dangerous human-induced warming”. Scientific debate is not about the policy. Public-policy debate has enormous implications. Governments, politicians, lobbyists search to grab more decision power for themselves.
Response to climate change can become the most costly mistake in history after Communism.
Cites McKitrick. Nobody is an expert on global warming. Too many aspects. Every body is an amateur on many if not most topics.
There are many respectable but highly-conflicting scientific takes on the subject. We must resist the attempt to shut down the debate. Real risk is to end up renouncing democracy.
Need to separate environmentalist myths from theories.
Has followed the literature. Carbon dioxide is a minor player, not primary cause of global warming. Cites Nobel-laureate: carbon dioxide across geological scales. Planetary changes don’t ask for permission.
Dangerous public policy consequences: many have concluded the current hypothesis is very weak. Not sufficiently tested. Can’t be used for policy decisions without looking at alternatives, opportunity costs, etc.
That is why he wrote the book about “green shackles”. (humor: since you’ve all got it, no need to continue speaking). Published in 16 different languages including Japanese and Arabic.
A year after publication, “Appeal to Reason” by Nigel Lawson. Klaus wrote the preface.to the Czech edition.
We are not on the winning side yet, but looking back since the launching of the AGW propaganda at the Rio Summit in 1992 and subsequent general pickup of the hypothesis, things have been improving.
Reputation of the scientific integrity of some of the most prominent researchers has been undermined, eg the Hockey Stick that was the basis of the 2001 IPCC report: pseudoscientific mindset, faulty data selection, frenzied propaganda, unscrupulous campaign, dubious statistics, etc etc (it’s a citation)
Copenhagen 2009 showed heterogeneity of views,
Three simple facts GW armies should keep in mind
1- Global mean climate does change, has changed, and will undoubtedly change
Over last 10k years, climate has been much the same and average temperature has not changed. Long-term, slight cooling.
GW armies are presenting a few decades as a threat to the planet to respond to with a wholesale change of our lifestyles.
Why are they so successful? Doctrines usually take much longer. Specifics of our time? Constanlty online? Religions less attractive? Desire to refill the emptiness with a new noble cause, saving the planet?
Environmentalists discovered some “more noble” than our down-to-earth lives. Can’t be accepted by somebody that lived under “noble” communism.
2- Medium-term timescales, 150 years (joke about Keynes), temperatures have shown a warming.
This is since the Northern Hemisphere emerged from the LIA two centuries ago. Trend was repeatedly interrupted.
Warming is modest and everything suggests future warming and consequences are not a cause for concern and something to battle against.
3- CO2 in atmosphere sometimes precedes, sometimes follows temp increases. Not fully understood.
No need to dispute those facts. Dispute is when people claim the coincidence in time is a “proof” of AGW. This is the current doctrine. This has existed for centuries, always with nature as the “starting point” to go back to. People are considered a foreign element. But it makes no sense to speak of a world without people, because there would be nobody to speak to (laughter).
Mentions his studies of econometric modelling. No conclusion can be based on correlation of two or more time sequences. So simple correlations do not exist.
Eg CO2 emissions did not start to grow visibly until 1940s. Temperatures at times moved in the opposite way of CO2.
Statistical analysis doesn’t demonstrate anything. Two Chinese scientists used random walk model for global temp variations. Result shows the model perfectly fits the data. No need to add human effects. No other model has given a btter fit.
There are other aspects of the doctrine, not just the simple relationship between temps and CO2. Another is the idea that increasing temperatures will be detrimental to the planet.
Many environmentalists don’t want to save man, but nature. Economics for them is irrelevant. For example the Stern review and its unreasonably low discount rate (that was what prompted Klaus to join the debate). The choice of discount rate is critical (cites Lawson). High discount rate=little meaning in any intervention.
We should use the market rate, as it is the “opportunity cost” of climate mitigation. Stern and others do not want to do that.
Klaus doesn’t deny increasing temps will see losers and winners. Even if overall is going to be detrimental, with proper discount rates the consequences are too small to worry about.
Why do many people think differently? Many have invested too much in GW alarmism. Fear of losing out on the political and professional side. Biz people hoped to make a fortune and are not ready to write it off. There is a coalition of powerful special interests endangering us. (hence the subtitle of his book.
We need to stand up against all attempts to undermine our democratic society.
We need to be prepared to all kinds of future climate changes but never accept to lose our freedom
ends at 19″43
room is packed. >100
there is a video being taken
Peter Glover: Arctic forum. No engagement at all on the two sides. The “other side” never seems to have thought things through logically.
Klaus: Many scientists are engaged Journalist in The Times keeps receiving articles and books about the dogma. The fact that the other side doesn’t listen is not new to people that lived under Communism.
Q: Roll back the ETS in Europe?
Klaus: Cap-and-trade is one of the policy measures in the hands of the environmentalists. It’s not just the USA staying away from it. But the EU is post-democratic (laughter)
Hartwell (metallurgic engineer): Presentation is political. Royal Society published paper on climate change. Many scientists there are seriously interested. We should manage the risk of future rises in temperatures
Klaus: Not impressed by science established by committee or vote. Remember nobody is an expert in GW. Another quote from Bob Carter: wide range of disciplines among “climate” scientists. Most alarm from scientists from meteor and computer modelling. Geologists see no cause for alarm.
Klaus says he has used computer models too. Computer modellers are not climatologists.
Q: Ecological modernisation used by many groups to look for environmental problems to push for technology. Amount of money in the academic community is very strong. WG-III is real push for IPCC.
Klaus: can’t understand sustainable development. Environment should be differentiated from GW.
Physicist: Comment on RS. Previous head didn’t’ give space to “deniers”. current document requires further revision. Draft Copenhagen agreement deals with putting together a world government (57? 58?). Why didn’t you use that?
Klaus: Only retirees dare write against AGW. COP-15 was so confused there was no point to go there. Details impossible to follow and not relevant. Documents have no writers and no readers
Q: Bloggers have changed the nature of the debate
Lawson: Yes. Extremely-expensive decisions should not be taken without a proper debate and there hasn’t been one. The RS has been obliged to move a little bit, not much, but more than nothing. Even the BBC says dissenting voice ought to be heard.
What would convince Pres Klaus that there is something to worry about? What would he choose, climate disruption or liberty?
Klaus: Empirical evidence is what is needed. Starting point still remains. Quality of measurements for example is important. Models are not convincing, too many mistakes in the methodologies, statistics, I am not convinced
Philosopher: The psychological side. Green lobbyists want to have cars and dirty industries banned. They found the scientific reason in AGW. Political agenda feeds on fear.
Klaus: One reason for scaring us disproved, another one pops up. My interests at the beginning of the 1970a. Could get only economical reviews and scientific publications. Couldn’t understand Club of Rome and Limits to Growth. That’s total nonsense. Same computer modellers of LtG continued with AGW. Same people.
Q: AGWers are organised by somebody?
Piers Corbyn: Prepare for extreme events…ask the UN to do that?
Klaus: Anybody controlling? People that have outlived communism are oversensitive regarding the issue of getting controlled
Q: Oxford Union debate, victory. Other side went for ad-homs. Wind farms are completely useless and evidence is transparent. How do rational politicians live with that knowledge?
Klaus`; Times journo asked if other leading politicians are against AGW? Many have similar views but are afraid to say it openly. Anecdote. Some nonsense is very evident. Solar energy during the night. Wind farm generation by electrical motors.
Lawson concludes. Mentions Klaus’ bravery as he is still in office.
end at 20:29
Mukul Devichand…try to remember this name (well, it helps if you’re Indian, Welsh, or both)…why? Because Mr Devichand’s “The Spirit Level: the theory of everything?” programme on Radio4 tonight has surely been the most shocking BBC documentary since Oct 18, 1922.
You see, Mukul “Scourge of Science” Devichand HAS QUESTIONED A COUPLE OF SCIENTISTS’ THEORY.
The shock! The horror!
Yes, you’ve read it correctly. Rather than recording the usual regurgitated press release in order to reaffirm how any scientist that happens to be near a microphone is always right and always will be, Mr Devichand has done his job, what should be the normal job for every self-respecting journalist at the BBC and elsewhere: he has put forward interesting, probing, challenging questions to the scientists at hand, making sure the listeners understood the limits of the proposed theory, and going as far as to suggest some of the criticisms could be warranted.
Have you ever heard of a more evil person? (yes, I have)
The programme had no qualms in discussing the policy implications of the proposed theory, and didn’t try to paint opponents as anti-Science people. Finally, there was an open admission that (esp. in matters of public policy) things will always be interpreted according to one’s “heart”.
Is this an example of things to come? I HEREBY EXPRESS MY SUPPORT FOR THE PROMOTION OF MR MUKUL DEVICHAND AS BBC CLIMATE NEWS SUPREMO.
Just think, how many Jos Abbesses are out there, lurking in wait of another chance to metaphorically beat a BBC employee to submission at the first sign of doubt…
The best thing that has come out so far from Splattergate is that (embarrassing self-absorbed conspiracy-obsessed holier-than-thou Italian University professors aside) at least some AGW believers are waking up to the PR and dictatorial horrors lurking within the “environmental” movement. Look at Revkin’s one-two thrashing of 10:10, for example:
Personally, I’ve got to agree with a critique offered by a YouTube account holder who was one of many who took up the 10:10 invitation to download and repost the video — in this case with the environmental group’s “apology” superimposed on the imagery: If the same kind of video had been made about blowing up atheists, agnostics, christians, jews, muslims, whites, blacks, asians, homosexuals, left-wingers or right-wingers, it would have been met with understandable disgust; this video is a shameful display of DOUBLE STANDARDS.
And now there is also Tom Yulsman of the Center for Environment Journalism’s CE Journal: at first, wondering about “with friends like this, who needs enemies?” and then struggling to deal with a Steve Bloom ready to compare mass murderers and terrorists to climate change skeptics (one suspects, this category includes anybody not fully and precisely agreeing with whatever strain of climate catastrophism Mr Bloom adheres to).
I can’t fault Mr Yulsman really (apparently, his pivotal moment has been the realization that a good friend of his, however skeptical of future climate catastrophes, can’t possibly be an Osama bin Laden in disguise). Actually, I do not believe that it could ever be possible to respond to the likes of Mr Bloom, given the fact that he assumes that people in the present should bear culpability about “future large-scale death of people“.
Those deaths haven’t happened, but I guess it doesn’t matter, does it. It is also a well-known pinnacle of hubris to consider any future as if it had already happened (“forecasting is difficult, especially about the future“), but surely that doesn’t matter either. Preventive justice is a horrible nightmare of untold numbers of perfectly-honest people made to suffer at the mere hint of a risk, but hey, if one thinks about climate policy failures all day long, that’s (alas!) the final solution.
And so…radio has greatly helped in the Rwandan genocide, so let’s find a way to go back in time and put Marconi and Hertz in jail. Likewise for Messrs Benz and Diesel, the Wright Brothers, James Watt, etc etc. Come to think, with the incredible number of wars fought in the name of Christianity, Jesus’ turn on the cross must have been exactly the sort of punishment favored by Mr Bloom’s “descendants’ justice“.
Anybody with £60 and a weekend to spare should attend the two-day event “Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytic Perspectives“, organised by The Institute of Psychoanalysis, Byron House, 112a Shirland Road, London, W9 2EQ for Oct 16-17.
You will be told about psychic consequences of the discovery of personal ecological debt, different structures of feeling in relation to the natural world and about engaging with the natural world and with human nature. You will also be told about unconscious obstacles to caring for the planet, and climate change denial in a perverse culture.
Fear not, however, as it’s specialists in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in attendance. At worst, you’ll risk to be put on a couch under a barrage of questions about your childhood. Think instead of the danger of electroconvulsive therapy, if fully-fledged psychiatrists start opining about your perversions and unconscious obstacles…
to Letters IHT
date Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 2:21 PM
Is climate change a threat large enough to make you undermine the very foundations of your trade? That’s the most important question upon observing your cavalier attitude to Freedom of Information (FOI) in the editorial titled “A Climate Change Corrective” (printed on the IHT on 14 Jul 2010), regarding the alledgedly “manufactured controversy” also known as Climategate.
Forget science, and forget politics for a moment: Climategate, as established by every official British investigation about it, has shown a deliberate, concerted attempt at circumventing the letter and the spirit of the local FOI Act. In more than one circumstance, the Information Commissioner’s Office has found that FOI requests were not dealt “as they should have been under the legislation“. Lord Oxburgh’s and Sir Muir Russell’s reports say as much too, just like the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s.
A wide range of commentators of all scientific and political stances have remarked this, and the general consensus is that from now on science itself will have to change its practice, becoming more transparent and open especially to knowledgeable members of the public. We are talking FOI, after all, an extension to the freedom of speech, a right that people including journalists, and The New York Times, have successfully fought for during the past half-century.
It’s only because of the statute of limitations that there has been no prosecution in the UK regarding the attacks on FOI revealed by Climategate. And what do you have to say about that instead? Absolutely nothing, apart from an absurdly understated remark about “a timid reluctance to share data“.
And so you have sacrificed the right to FOI in an attempt to get “firm action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases“. Good for you. And good for Governments the world over: they will surely rejoice upon hearing that the most influential and authoritative global and US newspaper does not care about FOI. Why, all they have to do is claim “a timid reluctance” to open up their files: and all you will be able to print, will be regurgitated propaganda and half-truths.
I have heard the hamburgers are good, in Pyongyang.
journalist and blogger, “The Unbearable Nakedness of Climate Change”
(links added – most of them… I will put all the links tonight)
(for clarity, my own remarks are in italic)
This time, kiddies- it is time for us scientists to DEMAND an EQUAL investigation be made into the identities of the hackers. I am dead serious. We need to demand it- loudly and publicly, and KEEP demanding until the FBI and similar world organizations are directed to do it.
But few if anybody at UEA are pushing for the hackers to be identified. The reason for such distinctively peculiar behavior is anybody’s guess.
Perhaps some stones are better left unturned…
…just as in the case of Kevin Trenberth, quoted by Roger Pielke Jr (comment #21) with words as pleasant as nails scratching a blackboard, including a reference to ”unjustified criticisms and the widespread abuse and misuse of the emails” (no wonder some think AGW activism is ultimately an attack on civil liberties), and a mention of ”lazy skeptics who want only to disprove the results“, a surefire candidate for the most childish opinion of the decade.
I have always been amazed at how easy it is to find AGW believers ready to casually toss the accusation of “denier!” to everbody and anybody not following their “party line” of impending human-cause planetary doom to be avoided via some unprecedented social and economic revolution (“denier” meaning of course all sorts of nasty insults).
The more the term is spread around, the less meaningful it becomes. Still, what are the effects of such a silly behavior?
The most obvious consequence is that they are killing any hope of a serious climate debate, and therefore any hope of seeing it seriously tackled. It makes one wonder what would push people worried about something to act in a way that makes inaction a certainty (one of many) , and the worry increase even more.
An even bigger risk we are running concerns the possibility that science itself will get damaged by professions of AGW belief. In fact, what exactly is a “denier”? According to many AGW activists, “denier” is somebody that “attacks” science, by refusing to acknowledge as Truth whatever the AGW consensus says at the moment. And of course, science must be defended from those “attacking” it…
In the real world instead, one could naively think a “denier” is somebody that “denies” something, but that’s definitely not the case in matters of climate. In my still-fresh Facebook quiz, I have reported the long, curious and illogical list of questions somebody has asked Roger Pielke, Jr. in order to establish the latter’s “denialism” or otherwise.
With the image firmly in mind of Cultural Revolution-style re-education labor camps for those providing the “wrong” answers, it is actually easy to spot the underlying misunderstanding: “denier!”-obsessed AGWers are completely missing the point of science.
Science is a process, not a collection of facts. There are innumerable web sites of different repute repeating that simple concept (many are .edu). One finds it in the US-National Science Education Standards of 1996. Even the US Supreme Court has accepted it:
‘Science is not an encyclopedic body of knowledge about the universe. Instead, it represents a process for proposing and refining theoretical explanations about the world that are subject to further testing and refinement’
(To be precise, science is also a collection of facts. But those “facts” can and will be easily changed with new “facts” as soon the process of science will show it as necessary. What remains truly unchanged, and what one should always refer to, is the process of science)
If the above were not enough, there are even more indications that what is important in science is the process, not the product. In his $1M Paranormal Challenge, James Randi goes at great lengths in order to focus the tests around a specific process, rather than simply dismissing everybody believing they can “provide objective proof of the paranormal“. And what about a video explanation by the Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait himself (especially from 2m36s onwards)?
And finally: imagine having two people, one reaching the “consensus” conclusions through luck or guessing, the other one reaching conclusions different from the ”consensus” but by using the process of science. Which of the two is the scientist, and which the naive, or denier?
A “denier” of science has therefore to be somebody that goes against, or wrongly manipulates, or misuses the process of science: and not just anybody that considers as most plausible a different collection of facts than the current consensus.
Otherwise, if a “denier” were somebody that doesn’t agree with the “scientific consensus”, here’s a glaring “denier” then: Albert Einstein refusing the consensus on quantum physics (and more). Here’s two more: Dr. Barry Marshall and Dr. Robin Warren, refusing the consensus on the absence of bacteria in the human stomach on their way towards winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Another “denier”? Martin Glaessner of Ediacaran fauna fame, refusing the consensus about pre-Cambrian complex lifeforms (or lack thereof).
This is so incredibly absurd…Einstein, Marshall, Warren, Glaessner and countless others have simply tried to push science forward using the process of science. Sometimes, they have been shown right: in other occasions (notably, Einstein’s) they haven’t. Still, nobody becomes a “denier” simply by getting the “incorrect” or “anti-consensus” answer. <sarcasm>Why, does anybody want to read about the “Dark Matter deniers“??</sarcasm>
And yet, most if not all calling against “climate deniers!” I have ever read, they focus on the “facts” of climate rather than analyze how do people reach their sometimes conflicting conclusions. They go down onto incredible minutiae, such as accusing of “denial” when one finds the IPCC predictions a little exaggerated, or admits being “slightly less” worried about methane in the permafrost than them.
Do “climate deniers” exist, in the definition of “denier” just provided? Of course they do (here’s an interesting even if a little over-the-top attempt at dealing with the details about climate skepticism and denialism, by what I would define a not-so-closet climate skeptic fed up with American global warming politics). The number of “deniers” is extremely small especially among the scientifically educated. They have as much a chance at damaging the process of science as a Kansas school board has to convince to Norwegian education minister to introduce the teaching creationism.
The real danger to science comes from the believer side instead, as it spreads around a completely incorrect idea of what science is about. The last thing we’d need at the moment, is an army of young researchers trained with the asinine idea that, in climate science and/or in any other science, the only way to be good scientists rather than “deniers” is to follow the consensus.
“Twenty Steps Of Climate Denial” is the title of my first-ever Facebook quiz. Ever wondered if you are a climate change denialist? Wonder no more! You’ll know it all in less than 21 questions!
And now for a bit of background: 99.9% of the questions and answers are inspired by the curious adventures of Roger Pielke, Jr., replying to a barrage of question by a “gonzo journalist” that is either quite disturbed or very good at appearing so (I prefer the latter).
For those that can’t stand Facebook, here’s the list of “questions”:
(comment posted to Jonathan Wolff’s “The journals are full of great studies, but can we believe the statistics?“, The Guardian, May 4 2010)
There are two big issues with Mr Wolff’s article.
(1) The “fear of looking foolish” seems a particularly childish approach to Science.
Insofar as one is able to argue the reasons for a particular choice in an “unsettled” scientific field, there is of course no foolishness to speak of.
In fact, looking at this the other way around, the fact that one was “very right” once, means nothing about being right in the future. Otherwise, all we would have to do would be to listen to former Nobel Prize winners.
Sadly, after the trip to Stockholm very few of them are capable of achieving anything remotely important as their acclaimed feat.
(2) There is little hope for Science really, if the goal is to hold on until an orthodoxy develops, and then sheepishly hang on to that.
We can’t simply evolve into separate tribes showing no critical thinking of what happens in other fields. And orthodoxies are meant to crumble, otherwise it is not “Science”. By the time they become widespread enough for the likes of Wolff to take them as “Truth”, they will likely be ripe for destruction by the next generation of scientists.
Come to think, a certain guy called Galileo would have failed on the Wolff strategy left, right and centre. Luckily he wasn’t afraid, and didn’t look the other way.
Mike Kaulbars at News Junkie Post writes plenty of idiotic nonsense in the desperate attempt at finding a legal way to prevent people from ever questioning a thing about climate change.
In particular, a lot is made of the alleged analogy between global warming doubters and the tobacco companies engaged in fighting against the truth about the nasty effects of cigarette smoking. A truth discovered by British researcher Richard Doll.
But whoever mentions Doll in support of the uber-Warmists has obviously not bothered to try to understand what Doll has actually done. Epidemiology concerns the past, and can only be applied to stuff that has already happened. Doll’s results were overwhelming, with manifold increases in the risks of developing cancer and/or heart disease.
That has little to do with “climate change”. In the very words of Mike Kaulbars himself, “climate change promises to be much more deadly in the 21st century“, i.e. it is a concern for the future. And as such, its effects cannot be ascertained in advance with any degree of certainty remotely resembling Richard Doll’s.
I am also amazed that Mr Kaulbars has managed to write so much about the legal aspects of talking about climate change, without a single mention or link to the IPCC.
Poor Pachauri, so much work done and now just of figure of fun or neglect.
One may be forgiven to think that reports about the opening up of most of the Arctic to ice-free summer navigation might have been premature.
Hasn’t this script been read to us before? Yes it has: about the disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro, the terrifying future hurricane seasons in the North Atlantic, the upcoming extinction of (often, drowning) polar bears, the slowing down to a crawl of the Gulf Stream, the warming-sea death of coral reefs.
But there is no need to be fooled any longer. Just keep yourself aware of the 32-step lifecycle of a climate alarm, especially if linked about Anthropogenic Global Warming (as they all nowadays are):
In all likelihood, the above is happening right now about ocean acidification. Somebody, please make a reality TV show out of this comedy.
(comments are closed at Greenpeace’s incredibly stupid “Will the real ClimateGate please stand up? (part 2)” blog. This is what I have tried to post over there)
At no point in this entry did Gene threaten to do anything more than civil disobedience and non-violent direct action – neither of which involve any kind of violence
There are two problems with your stance on the topic. First of all, even if the text ends mentioning “mass civil disobedience“, it also includes “We need to hit them where it hurts most, by any means necessary: through the power of our votes, our taxes, our wallets, and more“.
I have taken the liberty to emphasize the bits that may suggest violence is in the works.
Secondly, since the writer has described a progression from lawful interventions to unlawful ones because “pressuring politicians on climate change is not working“, what is there to stop the same writer from advocating violent means in the future, if “mass civil disobedience” doesn’t come up with the hoped-for results?
Words have meaning. Please let’s all try not to be disingenuous.
With apologies to Joel Pett…
A better world? You wish. As Karl Popper once remarked, “Those who promise us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell“.
Please do not show up wearing your Exxon badge!!
A rising tide of lies, ignorance and disinformation on climate change… where is it coming from?
Start: 14 Apr 2010, 6:30 pm
Wednesday 14th April, 6:30pm, location to be confirmed
David Adam, Environmental Correspondent from the Guardian
Ben Stewart, Greenpeace
George Marshall, COIN – Climate Outreach and Information Network (founder)
plus more to be announced
Who are the “sceptics” or “deniers” , how are they organised, who is paying them? Is it true that theirs is the message that people most want to hear and why? What can we do to fight back? These questions and more… hear some answers and bring your own…
(this has been sent to Nature via e-mail earlier today)
Dear Nature Editors
Thank you very much for showing your true, climate-integralist colours in the cringe-inducing “Climate of fear” editorial (Nature 464, 141 (11 March 2010) | doi :10.1038/464141a; Published online 10 March 2010).
We can’t but take notice that at the time when some scientists have apparently managed for years to keep non-orthodox climate science papers away from printed and online peer-reviewed journals, one of those very journals has remarkably decided to join the “street fight”, as if that represented any change for the better from the previous routine.
Go ahead then, pick up your worthy opponents. Will there be any good coming out of Nature becoming the home of motivational speeches for climate hooligans? What an undignified spectacle that would be. Luckily, the planet will not take much notice, and hopefully neither will the general public, and those scientists and people interested like us all in learning the world as it is, rather than through the distorting lenses of misdirected, alarmist activisms.
“Scientists must not be so naive as to assume that the data speak for themselves”. Indeed. Neither should they fall for the hubris of drowning and disregarding those very same data in a sea of pre-packaged ideologies. In Canto XXVI of Inferno in Dante’s Divine Comedy, the character of Ulysses is made to describe what the quest for knowledge should be about:
Ye were not form’d to live the life of brutes,
But virtue to pursue and knowledge high.
Too bad you have opted to “live the life of brutes” instead.
Teodoro Georgiadis – senior scientist – biometeorology
Luigi Mariani – professor – agrometeorology
Guido Guidi – meteorologist
Alessandra Nucci – journalist
Maurizio Morabito – blogger – Omniclimate
As reported here on March 2, there has been a very unique phenomenon at the International Herald Tribune (IHT) / The New York Times (NYT): for the first time ever, an IHT printed-paper article was not immediately available in the NYT website. And a front-page article it was: “Feeling the heat from critics, climate scientists battle back“, by John M Broder.
The article finally appeared online in the early AM GMT hour of 3 March, titled “Scientists Taking Steps to Defend Work on Climate“. Tellingly, the structure has been heavily changed, and the interviewees as well. I have had a series of e-mail exchanges with Mr Broder today and won’t report any of them. The impression remains that some Editor at the NYT panicked (**) after reading the IHT version, and got Mr Broder or some sub-editor to rewrite it almost from scratch to eliminate some inconvenient names and acquire warmist respectability by giving the concluding remarks to Gavin Schmidt (*).
All in all, it has been an episode wholly consistent with an atmosphere of climate bullying at the NYT.
I have scanned the IHT article and here it is in 2 parts:
For an example of what has been changed, note the mysterious disappearance of Judith Curry from the NYT version (Prof Curry is out there to conclude the IHT article), whilst a Peter C. Frumhoff of the Union of Concerned Scientists, plus Gavin Schmidt, are parachuted in literally out of thin air.
ps Gavin being Gavin, he’s now quotable with a “Good science is the best revenge“, some sort of instinctive plagiarism of Willis’ exhortation a few days earlier: “Do good science, and publicly insist that other climate scientists do good science as well”
(*) see also WUWT “Willis makes the NYT, Gavin to stop “persuading the public”” and Willis Eschenbach’s generally positive comment to Broder’s NYT piece
UPDATE March 7: To be 100% clear, this is how I see things have happened:
1. After weeks of deafening silence on Climategate and derivatives, Mr Broder got commissioned to write finally an article about it, once enough “scientists fighting back” quotes could be summoned
2. Mr Broder wrote his piece (version “A”) on Monday AM EST but felt it necessary to include things at they stand, including Judith Curry’s “fiasco” remarks
3. Version “A” passed all editorial checks and by Monday noon was singled out for importance and relevance as one of the front-page stories for the IHT
4. Somebody above the Editors did not like it, likely because there was no quote from GISS. Monday evening word came down to change the article.
5. It was too late for the IHT and therefore I saw version “A” printed there.
6. But it was early enough for the web so version “A” did not show up there at all
7. Mr Broder was asked on Tuesday AM to talk to Schmidt and the other guy
8. A sub-editor changed version “A” to version “B” eliminating the inconvenient pieces, moving things around and adding what was wanted, including the “good science is the best revenge” dramatic quote at the end
9. Alas, it took a while to do all that, so version “B” appeared on the NYT website only very, very late on Tuesday evening.
There is an article by John M Broder in the first page of the International Herald Tribune today, that is mysteriously nowhere to be found on their website (the New York Times’). This is very unusual as the IHT normally prints stuff that has already appeared on the NYT a day or two before, and has already been on the website for several hours.
The article’s printed-version title is “Feeling the heat from critics, climate scientists battle back“.
The situation is consistent with the existence of an internal NYT web “climate censorship” office, that has simply not cleared as yet an article that is highly sincere and open about the IPCC/climategate travails and contains remarks (by non-skeptics) that are highly critical of climate science and climate scientists.
I’ll keep an eye on the developments.
UPDATE March 3 00:18 GMT: Article still MIA, have sent an e-mail to Broder and the IHT.
UPDATE March 3 07:50 GMT:There is now an article by Mr Broder available. I cannot believe what they have done. Here’s my comment to it:
This is a shameful day for the New York Times. Mr Broder’s article is fundamentally different from…Mr Broder’s article on the same topic as it appeared in the printed edition of the International Herald Tribune on March 2, 2010. Gavin Schmidt for example has replaced Judith Curry, and the overall tone has changed to become definitely more ‘friendly’ for the warmists. Now I understand why for the first time ever, an article has been printed long before it appeared on this website.
A veritable goldmine of quotes, and surely the best hope for the progress of science this side of Murray Gell-Mann. Let’s celebrate this essay by Georgia Tech’s Judith Curry: “On the Credibility of Climate Research, Part II: Towards Rebuilding Trust“.
I have a strong feeling that anybody else selected to carry forward the (reformed) IPCC will look far lesser capable than Prof Curry.
Losing the Public’s Trust
The Changing Nature of Skepticism about Global Warming
Climate Auditors and the Blogosphere
Towards Rebuilding Trust
Jacques Rougeot, Professor of French Language at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne, has just published a book (in French) denouncing how environmentalism has been hijacked by people mainly bent on “stifling freedom of thought and expression“. And that’s something that would go a long way explaining why so many have been convinced to use idiotic words such as “denialism”…
Ah! Let us breathe! Against censorship by the self-righteous
by Jacques Rougeot
If you eat steak and get around by car, you must know that reading this little book is not without risk. You will risk seeing your moral sense affected. You will learn that in fact, by your irresponsible behavior, you are endangering the planet. You will know that, as a consumer of steak (or beef stew), you are encouraging the breeding of cattle, which in turn, by virtue of their burps and farts, emit an abundance of methane, a gas even more harmful than CO2 . You are guilty of crimes against ecology.
In this way, pleasant and just a caricature, and through many other more serious examples, Jacques Rougeot questions the tight network of taboos spun by a new caste of self-righteous people who claim the right to censor [the rest of humanity]. Thanks to their influence on the media, they have managed to ostracize many words and opinions traditionally regarded as innocent.
This business of stifling freedom of thought and expression [...] pivots mainly around fear and bad conscience. The need is for the French to constantly feel guilty and threatened, so that the people, weakened and neutralized, no longer have the moral strength to defend what the essence of a country’s identity, its civilization.
(in reply to the Bad Astronomer’s “You can’t resolve away climate change“)
Phil’s and all the warmists’ stance would be greatly helped if you people would stop calling “deniers” everybody and anybody that questions even the slightest AGW claim, instead of trying to push together creationists alongside those simply asking for evidence that catastrophes be upon us.
In fact, to anybody not ready to denounce all the attempts to hide data, avoid compliance to FOI legislation, and try to shut perfectly legitimate scientific papers off peer-reviewed publication, I just ask: what makes you any better than the chiropractors that have tried to ruin Simon Singh??
There’s so much we could all do if we would work together but no, the mere mention of the slightest doubt is nowadays sufficient to be labeled a rabid right-wing creationist conspiracy-monger on the pay of Exxon. And that can’t be a serious way to deal with climate risks.