BPSDBThe “George Will Defense” is, having been caught in a series of flagrantly ridiculous lies, tell some more in an attempt to justify them. It seems that Manthrope’s uncritical idolizing of Ian Plimer’s climate change Denial discussed in Vancouver Sun: Perpetual Motion Works, Earth is Flat! has upset some of the Vancouver Sun‘s readers. So much so that a response seemed called for.
Unfortunately we do not get a thoughtful and honest reflection on the whys and wherefores of having published drivel. Far from it. The title “Opposing views draw scientists’ scorn” tells you exactly how Manthrope is going to try to spin it.
You see, the problem is not that the Plimer’s book is a load of unscientific nonsense, or that Manthrope was either incompetent or unethical (or both) as a journalist in his partisan and unabashed promotion of Plimer. Oh no, the problem is that scientists are intolerant of “opposing views.” We’re not talking about facts and science here, we’re talking about “views”, opinions, and tolerance.
Manthrope begins with a long and irrelevant anecdote about 18th-century natural philosophy, the English land surveyor William Smith in particular, and and his admiration for these early scientists who valued the empirical evidence over received wisdom. Apparently invoking this False analogy is how Manthrope set’s up the rubes readers to overlook that he is about to completely ignore all empirical evidence in favour of his ideological fictions.
He then immediately launches into that pathetic canard “climate has changed in the past therefore the current science must be wrong.” … Seriously? how brain dead do you have to be to imagine that something that was taught 50 years ago in How and Why Wonder Books (for ages 10 and up), something that every wingnut website mentions, something that is such common knowledge that even Manthrope thought of it, somehow escaped the notice of millions of scientists? That is credible to who exactly? brain damaged rodents?
And how arrogant do you have to be to, having thought of this, not checked to see if scientists had also thought of it? not only thought of it, but to see if maybe they even accounted for it in the science?
Needless to say scientists did think of it, and it is accounted for in the science (like it is described in the IPCC reports, for example), as well as documented in the works that refute Plimer’s nonsense, and discussed on just about every site that debunks climate Denier claims (eg here, here and here).
Of course how could Manthrope possibly have known that? except perhaps by doing minimal background research for the original story, or by asking someone like a scientist or other reasonably knowledgeable source, or having a look at the IPCC reports, or by doing a simple internet search, or just checking Wikipedia. Then again, is it reasonable to expect any of these ideas for fact checking to occur to a veteran journalist? Or an experienced editor? Maybe we expect too much.
In fairness I should note that Manthrope may not be brain dead and arrogant at all. He may simply be a disingenuous liar. Or both. If there is another possibility it has not occurred to me yet.
Of course if you believed the “climate has changed in the past therefore the science is wrong” hokum then you will surely swallow the “and it ended in 1998” bilge as well, so he throws that one in too. Why not? If the rube buys the bridge, why not throw in the Empire State Building for just a few dollars more? In closing this section he also adds a nod to the Denier conspiracy delusions; apparently we get the “Denier Idiocy Bonus Pack”.
He then goes on to describe the reaction he got to the article. If Manthrope is to be believed, which at this point is asking for an epic suspension of disbelief, then “About two-thirds of the messages to me were from ordinary people, mainly in the United States, who applauded Plimer and his views.“
Depressing, but not surprising. We know the Denialosphere has been fairly successful in hoodwinking the public at large. Further, the piece was passed around the Denialosphere as all favourable media tends to be. I suppose too that if Manthrope’s style of journalism is typical of the Vancouver Sun, then their general readership cannot be that discerning.
“There was too a healthy crop of letters from scientists who, while quarreling with some of Plimer’s arguments, basically agree with him that the Earth warms and cools in natural cycles, and that human activities have little or no impact on these changes.“
Assuming that this is not a disingenuous misrepresentation of at least some of the feedback recieved, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that these “scientists” would be of the same type who signed the Oregon Petition, ie no one who actually works on climate issues, or has any actual knowledge of the relevant science, or in many cases, actually is a scientist.
I don’t suppose any of them mentioned any actual science that supported these beliefs of theirs? any studies or body of work that might suggest their opinion is anything other than baseless opinion? anything at all? I didn’t think so.
Without explicitly stating it Manthrope seems to be attempting to invoke the Fallacy of Appeal to Popularity ie since more agree with him, he must be right. The reason it’s called a “fallacy” is because reality doesn’t work that way.
If Manthrope had any actual facts on which to base his claims than he would be right regardless of who agreed with him. Since he has nothing, it is just as irrelevant how many do agree with him; except perhaps as a curiousity as to how many people don’t know what they are talking about.
“But the disturbing letters were from the scientist believers in man-man global warming.
I have met a lot of unpleasant people in the course of my life, but I have never seen such a torrent of nasty, arrogant and downright stupid abuse as has been aimed at me this week by people who aggressively sign themselves “PhD” as though it were a mark of divine right that is beyond challenge or question.
If a man can be judged by the character of his enemies, the letters I have received from scientists this week has significantly raised Plimer in my estimation.“
I see. So they are “believers” are they? Three paragraphs on what unpleasant and nasty brutes they are. Well, I can understand that some of them may have been upset. Flagrant propaganda and bald lies about your field and your work can really get under some people’s skin.
By any chance did any of them mention actual scientific evidence? facts? studies? the many, easily available refutations of Plimers idiocies? the IPCC reports? anything like that? I cannot know of course, but I am inclined to believe that most of them did because that is how real scientists tend to behave. Empiricists! what can you do?
In fact it absolutely defies belief that, even if the considerable evidence of Plimer’s ridiculousness was not known to Manthrope before he wrote the original article (already difficult to imagine), it was not drawn to his attention since. In fact we know it was.
Yet no mention of it. No mention at all that the actual evidence indicates Plimer is not only wrong, but fraudulant. Not a hint that there may be very good reason to be upset by the disingenuous and dishonest piece Manthrope had written. Instead it is all dismissed with the rubric “believers in man-man global warming.”
All I can say is that William Smith was lucky indeed that Manthrope was not around in the 18th century. Had he been, he would undoubtedly have been calling for the destruction of Smith’s fossils as Satan’s work, the persecution of Smith himself as a “ nasty, arrogant unbeliever”, and the publication only of works that propagated the ideas which Manthrope wanted to believe, regardless of what the empirical evidence clearly demonstrated.
To paraphrase somewhat, If a man can be judged by his actions, then this piece has significantly lowered Manthrope in my estimation. I am not ashamed to have rational empiricists for my brethern; but I would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his position as a journalist to obscure the truth.
Best estimates indicate that at the beginning of the 18th century, about 195 square miles of Garibaldi Provincial Park was covered in glaciers. By 1988, glacier cover had fallen to 115 square miles and to 95 square miles by 2005. Earth Gauge
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
Denier “Challenge” aka Deathwatch Update: Day 283 … still no evidence.
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