I guess Revkin has fallen in a self-referential trap. Just as only wheelchair-bound persons will truly understand how many obstacles are routinely placed against their freedom of movement, only a non-believer in climate change catastrophism will be able to appreciate how much RC is middle-ground (or isn’t).
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”
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.
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The whole thing looks like an elaborate trap prepared by experienced debater Plimer with the goal of convincing Monbiot to run away from the debate. And it looks like it worked.
Talk about the elephant being afraid of the mouse. Yet again, one is glad not have the likes of Monbiot (and Schmidt) on one’s side! 😎
But wait…it gets even funnier. What I just wrote might have crossed a few minds already, of people unfortunately too eager to bite the bait, therefore missing the chance to take their own reasoning to its natural conclusions:
Take Schmidt’s blog on the topic, where he argues that Plimer’s list of questions “is quite transparently a device to avoid dealing with Monbiot’s questions and is designed to lead to an argument…” and then…marches on onto the device regardless!
Greenfyre defines Plimer’s questions as “pure juvenile bafflegab” that should not be “dignif[ied]…with repetition“. Perhaps. Why then repeat that very same concept FOURTEEN times? It certainly looks like dignifying them to me
Greenfyre even identifies as “possible answers…to answer them in the spirit in which they were asked…give answers equally convoluted and nonsensical“. If that is so, what is the meaning of going on and on with links to sites where Pilmer’s questions are taken instead at face value?
Likewise for Tim Lambert: “I suspect that this is a tactic so he can weasel out of answering Monbiot’s questions” before a link to RealClimate to respond to Pilmer’s questions nevertheless…
Chris Colose appears to have a vague idea that there is something going on: “all together this is jumbled up nonsense and shows that Plimer is intentionally trying to mislead others“. Mysterious cue then to “for other of Plimer’s questions, I’ll let commenters tackle those“. Isn’t that a way for Colose to participate in the misleading?
Tamino…well, Tamino is obviously too superior a human being to recognize a thing.
Dear Schmidt/Greenfyre/Lambert/Colose: one suggestion if I may dare.
If you are debating with anybody, and they use any logical device of any kind, please oh please DO NOT follow through along the device, for any reason whatsoever.
Skeptic vs. Climatechanger debates are few and far between, and not for the lack of willing skeptical debaters (one suspects, it’s because skeptics invariably win, just like against homeopathy practitioners, UFO believers, creationist/ID proponents, chemtrails counter-conspirators, etc etc)
If Monbiot could sustain a debate, that is. I have my doubts.
The Monbiot/Schmidt couple took the Plimer bait actually a tad too easily. Evidently knowing how to make opponents fall flat on their faces even when apparently much more powerful than him, all Plimer had to do is artificially concoct an “escape route” that would allow Monbiot to declare himself the winner without actually having won anything.
The “escape route” is Plimer’s refusal to answer in print. And Monbiot, shall I say OF COURSE, eagerly took it, unable to understand the consequences.
Isn’t it more heartwarming to be able to tell one’s own troops about how bad the enemy is, rather than getting into a dangerous, live debate with that same enemy?
Especially when one has extremely poor argumentative skills, like Monbiot when he includes the mention of the “Gish Gallop“, “named after [creationist] Duane Gish […] a special case of fast talking (the technique famously employed by Snake Oil Salesman that confuses people with fast long strings of words long enough to convince them to buy snake oil“.
Yes, but: people like Michael Shermer (and Ian Plimer, by the way) have actually debated with Gish. They haven’t just sat at their desk whining about the Gish Gallop.
Now we will only get Plimer on Thursday 12 November at 2 Savoy Place, London WC1, where he “will give a 30 minute lecture on global warming and then take questions/points from the audience for 60 minute“.
I will believe in that only when I see it happening, by the way…whose kneecaps is Plimer going to try to (figuratively) break? 😎
That is, with RealClimate in tow, and after Swanson and Tsonis, we can yell out loud and clear that the scientific consensus says that all AGW-related troubles that we could be concerned about, they belong to the future.
Repeat with me: AGW as a matter of grave concern for the whole of humanity, is not happening. That is, there is no scientific justification at all to discuss AGW as an issue for the present instead of properly, as a risk management question involving some decades in the future.
(2) All this discussions about the recent “pause in warming” (in Swanson’s words…as if it had any meaning given the above) are ammunitions that will be used to argue against AGW once the warming resumes (eventually, it will…). If 10 years can’t say much in a direction, they cannot say much in the other direction either.
(3) In other words, all scientific discussions in climatology should confine themselves to the climate of the end of the 1970’s. Anything that has happened after that, it’s by definition too early to talk about.
(3) Raypierre tries at length to justify Tsonis’s words published in an interview. Among those:
“if we don’t understand what is natural, I don’t think we can say much about what the humans are doing. So our interest is to understand — first the natural variability of climate — and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural“
I am afraid all “comments were taken out of context” (Raypierre’s defense) are excuses simply demolished by Swanson’s writing that:
“humanity is poking a complex, nonlinear system with GHG forcing – and […] there are no guarantees to how the climate may respond“
Repeat with me: We have little clue about the Earth’s climate will respond to anything, be it natural or man-made. The final result might be a cooling, a warming, or no much change at all.
Let me finish by noticing two details. First of all, in Swanson’s words presumably approved by Raypierre/RC, Global Warming (AGW) is now “the century-scale response to greenhouse gas emissions“. And I thought it was multidecadal? Not any longer: even 50 years of global cooling will be compatible with AGW.
But to conclude on a high note: the anti-skeptic RC filters of old don’t appear to have been heavily used this time. Who knows, it might even be a way to show that the RC folks are thinking of getting rid of their aburd fear for debating.
But don’t hold your breath about that…especially when they will realize what the stuff they publish actually means.
In his 1975 book ”Against Method,” Dr. Feyerabend argued, using Galileo’s grand eloquence and reputed corner-cutting as key examples, that all progress in science depended not only on rational argument but on a mixture of subterfuge, rhetoric and propaganda.
Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth, in a letter by Feyerabend, published on The New York Review of Books on Oct 11, 1979:
Discussing the rise of Western rationalism I pointed out that the transition created more problems than it solved, that most of the problems are still with us, that they do not occur in Homer, that Aristotle was aware of this advantage and therefore adapted philosophy to common sense.
That letter is a scathing attack against a June 28, 1979 review by David Joravsky of several books, including two by Feyerabend: “Science in a Free Society” and “Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge” (the one mentioned by Broad above). Joravsky replies himself quoting from “Against Method”:
[Feyerabend writes that] “Galileo the mountebank” used “deception,” “trickery,” and outright “lying” to promote views he knew he could not prove by rational argument with available evidence; and that’s the way that science develops.
[…] Galileo prevails because of his style and his clever techniques of persuasion, because he writes in Italian rather than in Latin, and because he appeals to people who are temperamentally opposed to the old ideas and the standards of learning connected with them […]
[…] Thus science is much closer to myth than a scientific philosophy is prepared to admit. It is one of the many forms of thought that have been developed by man, and not necessarily the best. It is conspicuous, noisy, and impudent, but it is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favour of a certain ideology, or who have accepted it without having ever examined its advantages and its limits. And as the accepting and rejecting of ideologies should be left to the individual it follows that the separation of state and church must be supplemented by the separation of state and science, that most recent, most aggressive, and most dogmatic religious institution […]
In summary: it can be argued that according to Feyerabend’s “appreciation of how science actually works”
Science relies on a mixture of subterfuge, rhetoric and propaganda
Rationalism should be adapted to common sense
Science commonly develops with deception, trickery and lying, especially when one doesn’t have rational arguments or evidence to promote one’s views
A scientific point of view may as well prevail through persuasion and by becoming more fashionable
Science is inherently superior only for those ideologically believing in it
State and Science should be separated
Yikes! Points #1. #3 and #4 describe what many have accused RealClimate of doing. Points #2 and #5 refute the prevalence of climate models over real-world observations. Point #6 is incompatible with the very existence of the IPCC as intergovernmental entity in charge of assessing the science of climate change.
Is that really the way Gavin Schmidt wanted to describe his field of work? Perhaps he should have checked one thing or two about Feyerabend first. Because with AGW believers like these, who needs climate skeptics?
ps no, I do not think all of Feyerabend work was incoherent rubbish
For my part, I can only make reference to a basic principle of mine. Whatever you need to show, you are not. There is no need for me for example to wear a tag saying “male”: it’s rather obvious from the way I look.
There is not even a need to show I’m Italian, as anybody listening to my accent will immediately find out.
So I won’t spend 1,117 words to show either of that.
And therefore, what should one make of the fact that Gavin Schmidt felt compelled instead to argue the following?
“No heads will roll, no congressional investigations will be launched, no politicians (with one possible exception) will take note“
Molehills truly are mountains for very little people.
Gavin does seem hellbent on turning the molehill into an even bigger mountain. If he keeps this up, maybe the mountain can turn into a volcanic eruption of Krakatoa like proportions which would then lower the GMST. . .
“The obvious ineptitude of this contribution underlines quite effectively how little debate there is on the fundamentals if this is the best counter-argument that can be offered.”
But it has been my impression that the main story, Monckton’s press releases notwithstanding, has been (and still is) the FPS Editor remarking that there is a considerable number of scientists skeptical of the IPCC conclusions.
The FPS Executive Committee now states on the FPS July 2008 page that they do not agree with the previous remark, suggesting it is all a matter of opinion.
However, with the APS jumping in against Monckton’s paper with red inks (thankfully now turned to black), and more than one call for the FPS Editor to be “fired” from his volunteer position for the mere reason that he made that remark, I wonder what kind of “debate” could at all be possible?
Actually, I’d rather the APS had replied with Gavin’s words “The obvious ineptitude of this contribution etc etc” challenging any of its readers to come up with something better than Monckton’s.
That would have given debate a chance. As things stand, I pretty much doubt any against-consensus contribution would appear on the FPS in the future, even were such a contribution to surface (and am sure, it won’t: otherwise yet more people’s bosses will receive e-mails asking to “fire the heretics”, an ominous metaphore it there’s ever been one)