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Archive for September, 2009

293-365 SILENCE = DEATHBPSDBGiven the rather bizarre nature of the ongoing Plimer vs Monbiot debate saga I have been curious about how the climate change Deniers have viewed it.

Monbiot describes the lack of response from Plimer as “Answers Come There None.” As it happens “silence” is the best description for the typical climate change Denier response to this whole issue. In that respect it’s very reminiscent of the lack of attention given to Anthony Watts’ self-inflicted humiliation.

I was interested in the Denier reaction particularly with regard to:

  1. Plimer’s failure to answer Monbiot’s simple, straight forward questions. Answers that should have been in his book in the first place, but regardless should be less than an hour’s work to answer fully;
  2. Plimer’s sophomoric attempt to appear learned by asking nonsense questions cloaked in pseudo-scientific bafflegab;
  3. Plimer’s pathetic excuses, silence, craven display of cowardice and immaturity, and the consequent calling off of the debate by The Spectator.

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empty-headBPSDB

Since posting “Spectator cancels Monbiot vs Plimer debate” I have encountered Fraser Nelson’s (The Spectator‘s new editor) disingenuous and utterly dishonest post “An empty chair for Monbiot.”

His attempt to take Monbiot to task for being true to his word and the conditions set for the debate is such a brain dead, duplicitous outrage that it deserves vivisection.

As documented in my “Spectator cancels” post, The Spectator is 100% aware that:

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Three Card MonteBPSDBWhile organizing Monbiot vs Plimer debate (full background here) The Spectator put Monbiot in an impossible position which forced the cancellation of the event. They clearly knew more about Plimer’s intentions than they were telling. The only real question is whether they colluded with Plimer in doing this, as some evidence suggests, or if it was mere happenstance.

So what happened?

On 29 July 2009 Plimer directed the Spectator to organize the debate, including giving a specific date; this is before any debate had been agreed to. Why this date in particular? why in London? why not ask Monbiot if he was even available at that time? (he wasn’t) To me it reads very much like Plimer had other business in London about this time and it would be convenient for him as he would be there anyway.

Regardless, the date is being set before there is even an event. Monbiot has not agreed, in fact he states sooner would be more suitable IF a debate can be agreed to.

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Talmadge Smoot

BPSDBAs part of analysing the Plimer Monbiot debate I thought it would be useful to critically examine Plimer’s final communication with Monbiot. As Plimer’s letter is rather lengthy I am posting this as a separate piece. Having set this debate in motion Plimer is caught and is  seeking a way out, but we’ll let Plimer speak for himself.

Dear Mr Monbiot,

I return from abroad, interstate and outback to a very large number of emails, including a number from you.

As you are aware, I challenged you to debate me. Contrary to normal debate procedure, you imposed a condition (i.e. I answer your questions)

As has been discussed previously and repeatedly,

  1. the condition was unusual, but nothing more;
  2. Plimer was free to refuse or negotiate further, he was under no obligation to accept;
  3. He accepted, so abide by it like a grown up.

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BPSDB

Flashback: Climate Denial Revolt: World’s Largest Blog Science Group ‘Startled’ By  Clamor for Editor to Be Removed!

Denialists seek to remove denial elitist promoting editor and ‘trade him to New York Times or Washington Post’

[Update Sept 15, 2009: Denialist Accuses DenialDepot Editor of 'censoring of articles and letters' that reject man-made global warming Denial elitism! Many of the members have not only expressed their disgust, they are contemplating leaving the group' ]

An outpouring of climate change Denialists who are members of the Anti- Science Society (ASS) are revolting against the group’s editor-in-chief — with some demanding he be removed — after an editorial appeared claiming “the blog science of anthropogenic climate change Denial is becoming increasingly well informed.” (more…)

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A bar from marsBPSDBIf  Climate change Deniers actually were from Mars they would know better than to claim that warming on Mars or any other planets was evidence that solar variability had anything to do with climate change on Earth. Given that warming has been detected on only 6 out of the over 100 bodies in the solar system, they’d have been smarter not to mention it at all.

Naturally the claim that “the other planets are warming”  is just another Denier fable that contradicts the facts, but what makes the Mars fable interesting is the number of ways in which it  contradicts many other Denier claims. It really serves to underscore the incoherence of many Deniers, and the extent to which they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

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BPSDB

Arctic Sea Ice: Staggering Growth

Arctic Sea Ice: Staggering Growth

Poe’s Law states:
“ Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.”

Poe’s Law makes the clear point that it is hard to tell parodies of fundamentalism from the real thing, since they both seem equally insane. Poe’s law also functions in its converse: real fundamentalism can easily be mistaken for a parody of fundamentalism.

Poe’s Law

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BPSDB “1998 Revisited”

Even some of our most distinguished journalists …” :lol:

In the latest Climate Denial Crock of the Week Sinclair has once again debunked the ‘Climate change ended in 1998′  aka ‘it’s been cooling for a decade’ etc climate change Denier meme. If you missed his earlier one Party like it’s 1998 here it is:

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My Favourite Science & Knowledge BooksBPSDB Do some areas of science matter more? Should we ignore some of the attacks on science and focus on others? Can evolution be wrong and geology right? or astronomy wrong and climate science right? Does the US Chamber of Commerce attack on climate science matter more than the assault on evolution?

No, because these attacks are not even wrong. Even though they try to masquerade as scientific skepticism about the results of scientific inquiry, they are anything but.

They are outside the realm of science and scientific practice, and regardless of their specific intent they are an attempt at changing the definition of  science itself. Their goal is to change science from being based on empirical observation to one based on politics and/or ideology. They are attacks on the very basis of how we know what we know, which is an attack on all of science.

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doonesburyBPSDBA number of folks have had a look at the more recent Yale Project on Climate ChangeSix America’s” study, the breakdown on public perceptions of climate change science.

While I am not quite ready to start discussing this, I think it is important that we remember the broader context within which we operate. For that reason I wanted to share the following:

  • Only 53% of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun.
  • Only 59% of adults know that the earliest humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time.
  • Only 47% of adults can roughly approximate the percent of the Earth’s surface that is covered with water.*
  • Only 21% of adults answered all three questions correctly.

American Adults Flunk Basic Science

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Fontaines à boules de Pol BuryBPSDBClimate change Denier writers and journalists like Jonah Goldberg have a very difficult challenge. How to report a story such that you can end with a conclusion that is the exact opposite of the obvious truth?

Often they don’t have the luxury of too much outright lying such as much of the Denialosphere practices, at least if they write for publications that hope to retain some shred of credibility. So what to do?

I thought it would be useful to look at how National Review Online’s Jonah Goldberg handled one recent Denier meme to underscore the principle techniques used. By being aware of them we are able to pick them out quickly and expose them for others.

A week ago Meehl et al published “Amplifying the Pacific Climate System Response to a Small 11-Year Solar Cycle Forcing” in Science Magazine. This quickly found it’s way into the popular media in articles like ” Study says shines light on sun spot-climate link” (???) and and the even more poorly titled (in terms of accuracy, not grammer) “How Sunlight Controls Climate.”  From there it jumped to the Denialosphere as the standard ‘It’s all just the Sun’ meme … again.

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Pro-con

BPSDB Climate Despot has targeted Rudy Baum, so how about showing him a little love?

Baum is the editor of Chemical & Engineering News, the publication of the American Chemical Society. About a month ago I reported on the tempest in a teapot that got raised because Baum had the gall to talk rationally about real science in the newsletter of a scientific association. This is always an unpardonable sin to the Denialosphere. (more…)

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Caution - The Clueless Will Be ImpaledBPSDB

Is the climate change Denialosphere running some sort of “Incoherence Contest” that the rest of us are unaware of? Granted Deniers are never a source for much in the way of rational thought, but how to understand the flood of gibberish and convoluted bafflegab that we are experiencing today?

Just a quick update on the Plimer debate.  Those who have been following it know that climate change Denier Ian Plimer challenged George Monbiot to a debate. At the moment we are all still waiting for Plimer to answer some questions (which had been agreed to previously) about Plimer’s book, and then we can move on to the actual debate. Don’t forget that you can follow it on Delagado’s Wikia page as well. (more…)

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Franz KafkaBPSDB

Der Prozess

Next in the docket for being criminally bewildered, the climate change Deniers at the US Chamber of Commerce (hearafter CoC). We have some updates from the blogosphere, and a jaw dropping attempt at revisionist damage control by the CoC to consider.

A few days ago I reported how the US Chamber was calling for “Scopes Monkey Trial” type hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency (hereafter EPA) endangerment findings and proposed action. Much has been going on, so let’s sample some of it.

The CoC started some damage control with the unsubstantiated, unsourced claim by Brad Peck that… the agency [EPA] used secondary scientific sources, studies that largely weren’t adequately peer-reviewed and the selective use of scientific studies to justify a policy decision they wanted to make.

While the evidence before us clearly shows that Peck is something of an expert on using questionable sources to justify a decision that he wanted to make, I’d still like to know what his source was. No mention of the it though; apparently the CoC does not believe in transparency and using information that is beyond question.’ Maybe we should have a trial? (more…)

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BPSDBPerhaps I give climate change Denier Anthony Watts too little credit for craft and and deceit. His clumsy handling of the Sinclair video incident suggests definite ineptitude, yet I detect a certain cunning in how he  handles topics on his web site. He certainly seems to be an avid student of Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes Minister fame when it comes to being dishonest.

One consistent tactic that I have noticed is that of making some outrageous claim in the title of a blog post, and then to say absolutely nothing related to it in the post itself. This is straight out of Appleby’s guide to deception:

I explained that we are calling the White Paper Open Government because you always dispose of the difficult bit in the title. It does less harm than in the statute books. It is the law of Inverse Relevance: the less you intend to do about something, the more you have to keep talking about it”

quoted in  Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Government of Canada

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BPSDBIf the only image we can hope to evoke by using certain references is that of the most cartoonish caricature of iconic figures, then we lose an important element of our ability to learn from history. Is is there any point to even trying? or should such analogies and references simply be avoided because they are more likely to be counterproductive?

That question comes about from an exchange that followed the first comment on my post Climate Deniers demand Stalinist style political show trial:

Argh! I don’t like it when people compare other people to Stalin, so please don’t do that.

Frankbi

From that came an agreement to blog back and forth on the use of particularly charged icons as analogies or metaphors, not as a debate, but rather asmeditations that seek to explore the issue fully.” (more…)

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