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Archive for October, 2008

The latest climate change / global warming Denier1 fraud is sucking them in like hayseeds in Vegas.

Hook, Line, Sinker

Hook, Line, Sinker

On Oct 27th Rick C. Hodgin posted “MIT scientists baffled by global warming theory, contradicts scientific data” a distortion of the MIT news item “Levels of the greenhouse gas methane begin to increase again.”

Within a couple of days the fraud had gone viral and spread to dozens and dozens of Denier sites and forums.

It is an obvious and ridiculous fraud and all anyone had to do was check the MIT news item to confirm that it was nonsense, but apparently none of the self-styled “skeptics” bothered to do so. It has already been debunked at “‘ain’t no global warming’ spin – from MIT??” so for the most part I won’t repeat that.

What I do want to point out is what it shows us about Deniers and the supposed “unsettled science”, specifically that Deniers:

1) misrepresent, distort, and lie;

2) do not understand even simple climate science;

3) do not remember their own scripts, contradicting one another and themselves;

4) far from being skeptics, they are are so ridiculously gullible it is pathetic.

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Jennifer Marohasy‘s Denier1 Blog has published the climate change / global warming Deniers [Fanfare] “Ten of the Best Climate Research Papers (Nine Peer-Reviewed): A Note from Cohenite

OK, I count only seven peer reviewed, so we see that the Deniers are up to their usual standard of accuracy (and I haven’t actually checked them all yet). Actually there are several fun things about the list, but let’s start with:

Eli Rabett blogged about the list in “Believing ten impossible things before breakfast.”

Best of the Best

Best of the Best

Eli explains it in more detail and it is definitely worth checking out, but the nutshell version is that a number of the papers are mutually exclusive.

Put simply, if paper A is true, then B cannot be. So by accepting some of the papers as valid the Deniers are necessarily saying that others on the list are false. If they are false, why are they on the “ten best” list?

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Is the American Spectator trying to appeal to stupid people? to foster more stupidity? or to merely alienate the more intelligent segment of the conservative wing? I have to ask based on the recent article Climate Alarmism’s Flimsy Foundation by climate change / global warming Denier1 Paul Chesser published Oct 24th.

It’s not simply that the article is factually inaccurate, but rather that it is pathetically so. The quality of the alleged ‘research’ would be considered lame at a junior high school level, and frankly it insults the intelligence of an adult reader. It is so bad that one has to wonder what on Earth Chesser and the editors were thinking when they published this.

In the current US election there has been much talk of the attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator, ie rather than reach out to ‘the base’, the politics appeals to and nurtures all that is base.  The worst kind of populism that does not seek to empower the common man, but rather to gain power through the mob.

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On October 14, 2008 Pielke posted ‘Dr. Richard Keen’s “Global Warming Quiz”

Dr. Richard Keen of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) at the University of Colorado has a very interesting set of questions that he has posted with respect to global warming. It can be viewed at

http://atoc.colorado.edu/wxlab/atoc1050/1050%20ppt/Global%20warming%20quiz.ppt

His class website, which illustrates his expertise in atmospheric science, is at http://atoc.colorado.edu/wxlab/atoc1050/Syl1050F08.htm.

His global warming quiz is quite informative.”

Which raises some interesting, amazing, and (in)convenient questions.  Specifically, why would two scientists Picking Some Cherriesout themselves as corrupt or incompetent?

You would think it is the sort of thing that they would want to keep quiet. Certainly nothing to be proud of.

Why do I say that? Let’s have a look at Keen’s Quiz

We start with some blatant cherry picking of historical data with a collection of historical examples of warm periods and extreme weather events.  This is followed by quoting

Thomas Jefferson “A change in our climate however is taking place very sensibly. Both heats and colds are become much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged. Snows are less frequent and less deep.” — Notes on the State of Virginia, 1778“1 and similar quotes from American and British figures.

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So one of the great bastions of climate change / global warming ignorance is at it again. The National Post and Lorne Gunter in

Denier Cluster Fest

Denier Cluster Fest

particular  have been exposed repeatedly before (and here), but like Undead Zombies they simply rise again, this time with “Lorne Gunter: Thirty years of warmer temperatures go poof“.

I apologise in advance for the rather lengthy nature of this post, but the Gunter piece is such a turgid example of the Gish Gallop that, as discussed before, it requires effort to untangle the nonsense.

“a string of news stories about scientists rejecting the orthodoxy on global warming” Really? Where? what scientists? No sources, no names, just his claim.

“it is hard for skeptical scientists to get published in the cabal of climate journals now controlled by the Great Sanhedrin of the environmental movement.” There are 6,400 peer reviewed science journals in the world spread across almost every nation and involving tens of thousands of scientists, and we are asked to believe that they are all controlled by the environmental movement? Does anyone with more than 2 neurons to rub together actually believe this? The unbelievable stupidity of this claim is discussed here (and earns him 40 points on the Crackpot Index).

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Does the right of freedom of speech extend to shouting “Hoax” on a burning planet? The climate change / global warming Deniers1 made much hysterical arm waving out of James Hansen’s “call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature” and David Suzuki’s call for Denier politicians to be “hold politicians legally accountable“, do the Deniers have a point?

If you check the Denialosphere’s version of both the Hansen interview and Suzuki’s comments the narrative is that both were calling for the criminalization of legitimate dissent, the suppression of freedom of speech, and the punishment of thought crimes. As Richard Littlemore notes, according to the Denialosphere  it is “environmental fascism,” “enviro-totalitarianism” and/or the beginning of an “enviro-inquisition.” Is that what really happened?

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In his latest update on Lord VoldeMonckton (“Monckton on the commie plot against him“) Tim Lambert over at Deltoid idly ponders what Monckton’s Crackpot score would be, thereby drawing my attention to John Baez’s The Crackpot Index.

It struck me that Lambert is right in that the index is very apropos, not just of Monckton but climate change / global warming Deniers1 generally. So much so that with only very minor edits it applies almost perfectly. I guess crackpots and wingnuts are pretty much the same everywhere.

To appreciate just how untouched this is I have put my edits from Baez’s original in bold. I have also removed some points entirely as they were not that applicable (not unsurprising since Physics is an older and more storied science than climate research, so there is much broader scope for crackpots).

Without further ado: “A simple method for rating potentially revolutionary contributions to climate science:”

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Denier 'facts' alive and well ... sort of

Denier 'facts' alive and well ...

Once again the climate change / global warming Deniers are trying to revive the dead; this time the ridiculous “Scientists predicted Global Cooling in the 1970’s” myth.

This myth has been thoroughly debunked as having been nothing more than media sensationalism over the beliefs of a handful of scientists based on a limited number of studies.

Now some enterprising Denier found this gem “SCIENTISTS AGREE WORLD IS COLDER; But Climate Experts Meeting Here Fail to Agree on Reasons for Change” in the New York Times archive. Needless to say this is rocketing around the Denialopshere as “Proof of Scientific Consensus on Global Cooling: 1961” and “Global Cooling Consensus in the Past: the Evidence.”

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OK, not really citation indexes so much as weekly round ups of the internet with respect to climate change. I thought it  would be interesting to compare and contrast the Climate Rationalist news roundup with the Climate Change /Global Warming Denier1 equivalent, just to see what we’ve got.

Curiously, both are from Canada as am I. Not sure what that means, but I thought  I’d note it.

H.E. Taylor’s excellent “Another Week of Climate Disruption News” pretty much speaks for itself; organized, sometimes annotated, and comprehensive. How this worthy gentleman finds the time I have no idea, but it is an invaluable tool, if somewhat intimidating.

This resource is also archived, and Taylor also hosts another excellent resource “Global Warming Links.” Coby Beck over at “A Few Things Illconsidered” always links the news updates.

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A tip  of the hat to AccuWeather for recommending “Climate Change Deniers: “But They Are Scientists!” in thier post Alarmist and Denier Scientists.

A possible wag of the finger …

Since they also recommended Lindzin’s Climate of Fear I attempted to comment suggesting that these three commentaries were pertinent:

* “Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm” Jim Hoggan, DeSmogBlog,12 Oct 06
* Lindzen: Point by point Daniel Kirk-Davidoff, RealClimate, 13 April 2006
* Open Thread on Lindzen Op-Ed in WSJ Group, RealClimate, 12 April 2006

The comment never appeared although the posting seemed to go fine and comments by other users did subsequently appear. I tried again, adding this debunking of David Evans in response to a comment by Patrick Henry and I would have liked to respond to Pericles comment by drawing everyone’s attention to:

* Politicizing Climate Science Werner Aeschbach-Hertig, Reality Check, 04 October 2008
* Lindzen Diatribe Michael Tobis, Only In It For The Gold, September 23, 2008

but this comment also never appeared. I then sent an email saying I had been trying to comment and enquiring if the comments had been registered, and if so why they had not appeared. I have not heard back although that was 2 days ago.

If the problem is some sort of technical glitch then all I can say is ‘been there, done that, shit happens’.

If, however, pertinent polite commentary is being withheld without good reason then I am afraid …

bad accuweather

bad accuweather

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As an addendum to Deniers Prove Staircases are Level! I thought I’t throw out a little bit of history. OK, not history, more current events actually:

One of the things that is totally baffling is that the Deniers even bother with the “Climate Change Ended in 1998!” meme; you would imagine it would be an impossible sell.

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: More than 52,000 Europeans Died from Heat in Summer 2003

2007 Southern Europe swelters in second heat wave

2007 Southern Europe swelters in second heat wave

and let’s not forget 2006 “Heat wave, drought hit US farmers hard

USA in 2006

USA in 2006

Yet apparently some people actually buy into it; how soon we forget.

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Added To: Dee Norris in her comment responded to a call for actual science with “How about we start with something recent: David H. Douglass and John R. Christy 2008″

RealClimate discusses that paper: Tropical tropospheric trends again (again)
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Added to: Climate Change Denial: Nothing but Lies and Frauds

Why Climate Denialists are Blind to Facts and Reason: The Role of Ideology

Denialists, however, have no interest in facts except as weapons in an ideological struggle. They don’t even care if “facts” are correct or not since their intention is not to establish that something is true or false, but rather to win a battle in an ideological war. If they can stump you or confuse you with a lie, well that works just as well for their purposes as does the truth.

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Added to: It’s Twins!: Evolution and Climate Change Deniers

Intelligent design/creationism and climate change

Scientific dissent from . . . science?

Who are the “dissenters from Darwinism”?

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Added To: “Denier Conspiracy Theories: More Paranoid Than Thou

Climate change deniers, Flat-Earthers, and conspiracy theorists

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Added to: “Why Won’t Al Gore Debate Climate Change?

Waah, they won’t debate us II

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You may think that Climate Change / Global Warming Denier[1] Conspiracy Theories are the same “boring” as all the other whacko conspiracy theories, but I suggest that you would be wrong. They have their own special character that is particularly revealing about Denier culture.

You have probably heard at least one or more of the Denier conspiracy theories, but Frank Bi over at IJI has very kindly created a web chart of the known conspiracy theories. There’s rather a lot of them actually, but I would like to start with Richard Lindzen‘s contributions to Denier Conspiricism for several reasons:

Modern Denier Conspiricism can be said to begin with Lindzen’s 1992 “Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus“, and he has just recently contributed “The Mother of All Climate Conspiracies” so his work covers the epoch very nicely. Further, his theory is the one most parroted by Deniers so it is the most relevant. Finally, AccuWeather has just suggested Lindzen’s “Climate of Fear” and my post “But They Are Scientists” as paired reading, so it seems appropriate.

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Climate Change / Global Warming Deniers prove staircases are flat, they don’t go up anymore … and they have been like that since 1998!

OK, as usual the Deniers have proved nothing more than their own gullibility, and in some cases their duplicity and/or gross incompetence. This would not be very interesting if it was nothing more than just another Denier fraud debunked, but I think it gives us some more insight into the whole Denier movement.

In particular I think it is a pretty clear demonstration that Denierism is not legitimate and honest skepticism, but rather the deliberate perpetuation of lies and frauds.  Further, that at least some of those with actual academic credentials (ie “scientists”) reveal themselves as either grossly incompetent or willfully fraudulent. That’s bit more interesting.

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Of course that dreadful abomination The Great Global Warming Swindle has been thoroughly exposed as a fraud so there’s no real need to flog that dead pig, but Brian D has brought to my attention that there is still a bit of fun to be gotten out of it.

What do you get when British Wit with a bit of common sense goes after a Denier1 Twit?

You get Marcus Brigstocke Vs. Martin Durkin (audio only)

Not quite as good but still worth a listen is Marcus Brigstocke – Climate Change

also audio only.

Enjoy!

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Denier Challenge Update: Day 2 … still no evidence.

1As I discuss here I do not use the term “Denier” to refer to all climate change doubters. Those who thoughtfully and intelligently address the facts I call ’skeptics’.

Those who irrationally deny the existence of the science and instead propagate the lies and distortions such as those discussed above and linked to the right under “Debunking Denier Nonsense” are “Deniers”.

The choice of the correct term is based on their actions, not their conclusions.

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The Challenge

I have a little challenge … I’m looking for anything from the climate change Deniers that is not a lie, distortion, misrepresentation, or out and out fraud. I am trying to find something, anything, anything at all pertaining to the climate change that we  are currently experiencing that:

  • Alleges that it refutes a significant aspect of climate change science, not details (eg quibbling over whether storms get more frequent or not is detail that in no way affects the general facts of climate science). I’m looking for anything that alleges to refute climate change itself, that climate change is anthropocentric, or that it is not a clear and present danger, etc, and
  • Has not already been debunked as total nonsense. As a guide to what has been exposed let’s use Coby Beck’s How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic as it is the most comprehensive, even though all those listed at right under “Debunking Denier Nonsense” are worthy, and
  • Is not some unsubstantiated, vacuous opinion piece or hysteric rant by some senile old coot or industry shill. It must reference actual evidence, preferably from peer-reviewed science, and
  • Is not some hysteric paranoid conspriacy theory claiming the reason that there is no published evidence is that all 6,400 of the world’s leading journals of science have colluded to exclude “Denier science”, and
  • Is not some ridiculous assemblage of logical fallacies claiming climate change is a hoax because ‘it would cost too much’ or ‘Al Gore is a hypocrite’ (actual examples, if you can believe it).
  • Is not some error ridden pseudo-scientific gobbledygook (eg Monckton), and
  • Is not some “I have the evidence just send me $10 and I’ll mail it to you” scam.
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    One of the Deniers1 favourite tactics is to throw out this or that list or petition of “scientists” who are Climate Deniers (eg “The Deniers“). After you discard the obvious frauds (eg the Oregon Petition), cull out the names that are made up, the ones who are not scientists, the ones who are dead, the real scientists who are not actually Deniers, etc, you are invariably left with a handful who do seem to be scientists and really are Climate Deniers. Huh?

    This can be very confusing to the lay person who has no experience with the sciences.

    Science, stranger than truth

    Science, stranger than truth

    So just how many people are we talking about here? It’s hard to say actually, in part because it depends on just how you define a Denier (or Skeptic). Heartland’s much touted PR event of last winter seems to have drawn only 19 “real scientists” and Wikipedia lists only about three dozen.

    Given that there are millions of scientists in the world that’s pretty lame. Even so, if it were only one and she happened to be right then the millions wouldn’t matter. However, searching for some valid scientific basis for the Denier position comes up dry – so what’s going on here?

    Let’s step back for a moment and do a reality check. Reality – scientists are human beings. This has some implications:

    In the first place there are some scientists who are just plain incompetent. It is an unusual department or faculty of any size that does not have at least one such creature shambling about. Whether they faked their way to tenure or subsequently developed problems of one form or another doesn’t matter,  the fact remains they couldn’t conduct adequate science to save their life.

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    Over at IJI Frank Bi uses the same presentation techniques on the Dow Jones Average that the Deniers use with climate data to show that there is no financial crisis – “Wall Street crisis” cancelled!

    Dow Jones Average

    Dow Jones Average

    See? what are you worried about?

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    The Organized Effort to Cast Doubt on Climate Change

    If you have not yet seen Smoke and CO2: How to Spin Global Warming.” then it is time you did, and read the excellent article Global Warming: Heated Denials from The Center for Public Integrity.

    For the most part Climate Denial is not about legitimate doubt and skeptical enquiry. It is deliberate and malicious misinformation and disinformation that originates with people who know exactly what they are doing, and is then propagated by an army of dupes who are being manipulated.

    Watch the Video, read the article, then share it with your friends. Be sure not to miss the Gallery of Skeptics as well

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    It is easy to be dismissive of the Climate Change / Global Warming Deniers1, but it is a mistake to ignore them.

    The fact is the Denial machine has been effective, that’s why industry funds it. Polls show almost half of US citizen’s think that the current warming / climate change is natural. Lest you think this is perhaps due to the complexity of the climate issue or some such, I note that it is about the same number of people who are unsure if Obama is a Muslim. Hardly a complex issue, but one which is also plagued by lies and disinformation.

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