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Posts Tagged ‘Deniers’

BPSDB

Nothing New Under the Sun

Science in the days of John Tyndall, the man who in the mid 19th century identified the greenhouse gases (the greenhouse effect itself was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824) certainly had to deal with Deniers.

After all, it was a period of great scientific discovery, including Darwin’s Evolution by Natural Selection. Scientific discoveries that threatened orthodoxy and ignorance.

Tyndall knew the consequences of Denial and the measure of the people who wallow in it:

It is as fatal as it is cowardly to blink facts because they are not to our taste.” ~ John Tyndall

He also knew how much point there was to presenting them with facts and reason in the hope that they would assess the facts fairly and objectively:

Religious feeling is as much a verity as any other part of human consciousness; and against it, on the subjective side, the waves of science beat in vain.”

So it’s no surprise that Tyndall took the time to try and help educate a broader public about science and scientific matters (“Fragments of science for unscientific people“). Those were simpler times when gentlemen wrote books and gave public talks for other gentlemen. Now with dozens of different types of media and instant global communication that can potentially reach almost any inhabitant on the planet the art of communication has become mind boggling.

Actually it’s not particularly any more complicated or difficult than it ever was, it’s just more incoherent and bewildering. What could and needed to be done was easier to discern then, now it is not so obvious, but the fundamentals remain the same.

In an earlier post I spoke of the need for a coherent, proactive media strategy. It is not my intent to lay one out, but rather to talk about what a media strategy is and what some of the options might be for implementation.

Further, as I stated in another earlier post: “Granted the climate science community is a loose network of a broad spectrum of individuals and groups, with occasional nodes that might be described as coalitions and the like, so I am not suggesting a unified strategy. It’s not only impractical, it’s probably impossible.

Even so, it is possible for us to have a loose strategy that is constantly discussed and reviewed, and which many in the network implement in ways that are suited to their strengths and abilities.

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ALERT! The climate change Deniers have acquired a powerful new skill! Apparently they are now able to actually use a search engine!

What do you suppose tipped them off? the pictures on my FaceBook page? the articles I’ve written about it? the radical new concept of actually looking for information?

The delicious irony of discovering this immediately after writing a post about how the climate change Deniers are completely incapable of discerning what is relevant from what isn’t is just too funny.

Well this sure puts the lie to my claim that the Deniers wallow in irrational ad hominems rather than try to cope with the fact that they have absolutely no science or evidence to support their delusions.

However, the seemingly random way in which Deniers process the world is truly scary. On the one hand you have the apparent inability to recognize the simple causation chain of CO2 = GHG, humans add CO2 to atmosphere, Earth warms.

On the other hand you have the belief that bandying about totally irrelevant nonsense about people who are able to make the simple association given above is somehow relevant to the science, or that it in some way affects the facts.

What do these people do when they need a clean shirt? put the cat in the oven? plant onions? No wonder these people are frightened. How terrifying would it be to live in a world where you cannot cognitively connect relevant information and instead just randomly associate things and events?

What next for the Deniers ? basic literacy?

Hey Poptart … I also used to collect stamps, liked trout fishing, was really into reading Faulkner (although I did have a SciFi phase in my teens), and made my own sour dough bread for years. There you go, run wild!

Is there any hope that they will ever figure out that the way you discuss science is by actually looking at the science and discussing it? It sure doesn’t look promising.

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BPSDB

Fuddle Duddle

Chamberlain, Trudeau or … ?

Flotsam

A couple of weeks ago Michael Tobis shocked the delicate, refined sensibilities of the climate change Deniers by stating unambiguously what is at stake and what he felt were the unhelpful contributions of Steve Mosher.

Michael was blowing off some steam and may have used some language that he generally doesn’t. The incident would warrant only passing remark except for some of the fall out and follow up.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Getting past the irrelevant, the incident raises some important questions about how we engage in the debate, what our goals are, and what the implications are for our struggle, as individuals and as a collective.

.

Fuddle Duddle

Text of what Tobis actually said

“Let me explain why. It is not because I am a pusillanimous chickenshit, Mosher. It is because the fucking survival of the fucking planet is at fucking stake. And if we narrowly fucking miss pulling this out, it may well end up being your, your own fucking personal individual fucking self-satisfied mischief and disrespect for authority that tips the balance. You have a lot of fucking nerve saying you are on my “side”.

Unless and until you find it within yourself to understand that you have major fucked up, big time, by throwing big juicy meat to the deniers to chew on and spin paranoid fantasies about for years, even decades,”

What I heard as significant:

“Let me explain why. It is not because I am a pusillanimous chickenshit, Mosher. It is because the fucking survival of the fucking planet is at fucking stake.

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BPSDB

Method without Science,

or method

… “Opps!”

Seeing the recent “Science without method” post at Climate Etc I opted to first read the Nicol paper it was discussing before reading Dr Curry’s discussion of it.

The article alleges to highlight failures of climate change science, and in an obviously unintended way both it and Curry’s discussion of it does.

To give credit where credit is due, the exercise led me to rethinking how we frame the question of our current impasse. How it is possible for drivel like Nicol’s to somehow be taken seriously by anyone, never mind winding up actually influencing policies of countries.

First let’s get some context. In his paper Nicol said:

Yet in contemporary research on matters to do with climate change, and despite enormous expenditure, not one serious attempt has been made to check the veracity of the numerous assumptions involved in greenhouse theory by actual experimentation.

greenhouse theory“, seriously? Has he not read any scientific literature post-1860?

That aside, this is just idiotically wrong as a general statement. Can he cite any specifics? Loaded as it is with qualifiers he would no doubt cite all of the relevant reserach (which he is clearly not familiar with, or simply doesn’t understand) as not “serious” attempt(s) (ie No True Scotsman fallacy).

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OK, make that “Highlight the decline”

BPSDB Almost a year and a half after the CRUde Hack incident (“Climategate” to Fox News fans) the scientifically illiterate (aka climate change Deniers) are still obsessing on, and lying about this incident. I suppose that is what you do when you have no facts and don’t understand the science.

Renewed interest by the hard of thinking (aka #climategate) in this non-issue has led Greenman3610 to produce a new video: Unwinding “Hide the Decline”

Hat tip to DeSmog for the heads up. Added to Climate Denial Crock of the Week

My own discussion of Muller and his roadshow may be found at Richard Muller is a well bad tosser. Below is the bulleted version of the facts for the climate change Deniers who apparently can’t handle more than a couple of paragraphs of text or a few minutes of video:

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Does this face look bovvered?

BPSDB Sometimes it takes a cartoon character to help understand a cartoon.

Recently I was introduced to the comic character Lauren Cooper,  a fictitious character created and performed by British comedic actress Catherine Tate.

While I enjoyed the comedy I was also struck by how much Lauren’s conflict dynamic mimicked that of many climate change Deniers.

Divorced of its’ normal context I found I was able to get much more analytical about what might actually be going on psychologically for the individual Denier. Possibly much more interesting, I was led to ask myself  “Why do I like Lauren even though she is a caricature of annoying people who make my life difficult?” and of course, what clues are there for how to deal effectively with Deniers?

Lauren Cooper, climate change Denier?

Lauren is an aggressive, obnoxious, poorly educated, self-absorbed, lower class 15 year old. Naturally her success as a comic character is because she parodies behaviour that we recognize; good comedians have to be keen observers of human behaviour.

No, Lauren is not a climate change Denier (I doubt she would even know what that meant), but she is interesting in that her argumentative dynamic uses the same basic pattern as the Deniers. Relative to everyday life Lauren is an outrageous, over the top caricature. Compared to some of the more familiar Deniers she is pretty average.

A Lauren Cooper sketch follows the same basic formula. First Lauren is caught out having done something “well bad” (ie stupid) and her mates remark on it. Often she will baldly deny it even happened at all despite the obvious fact that it did.

At some point she will attack the questioner with a Gish Gallop of shifting goal posts and red herrings that completely ignore the original issue “Are you disrespecting me? are you saying my mother is a prostitute? are you saying I’m stupid? are you saying my father is a wino? are you saying I’m a pikie?

Always she will express her total indifference to what others think or have to say by repeatedly asking “Am I bovvered?”

At no time will she ever admit to any error, acknowledge the validity any criticism, nor will she respond to what the other person is actually saying (on the rare occasions that she even detects that they are saying anything).

Sound familiar?

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BPSDB Mark Hertsgaard (author of  On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency) is interviewed by Democracy Now about his new book “Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth.”

Some worthwhile points that he makes:

It’s a crime

Our inaction on climate change is a crime. It is and should be treated as such. The lies and propaganda of the Anti-science Machine are crimes against humanity and hopefully they will be formally recognized as such.

“Uncertainty”

The alleged uncertainty of the science is very much an American phenomenon. Not that there aren’t Bolts, Delingpoles, Balls and Mtols all over the world (what village is without its’ idiot?), but that widespread and official Denial is peculiar to the US.

Update 18/4/11:

Nukes

I am not yet ready to talk about Nuclear Power, but Hertsgaard makes some interesting points relevant to that discussion.

Food & GMOs

As with Nukes, here is another I will be returning too, but he is certainly right in saying that food is the issue with respect to climate change.

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BPSDB


Guest post by Martha

Martha has been a frequent participant in discussions on Judith Curry‘s blog and shares with us some thoughts and observations.

It seems like only yesterday that American scientist Judith Curry announced her arrival on the blogosphere. She has created a blog based on the idea that climate change deniers are good for science and she insists deniers are skeptics, compelled to expose what they (and she) see as the ‘corruption’ of climate science and the peer review process.

While she brandishes a contrarian sword she strongly presents as disinterested in the usual denier conspiracy theories about a one-world government plot threatening the free market economy.

Judith Curry asserts she is independent of all that. She is the right scientist: the good scientist. She denies any ulterior motives that might be perceived negatively by others.

Sure, she has disclosed a small private commercial venture associated with the resources and students at her academic institute, but this is not generally viewed as problematic (although maybe it should be). While attempts to downplay or dismiss the scientific consensus on climate change are not new, especially for ideological or profit motives, she insists she is only interested in the scientific evidence.

‘I am right’.

Judith Curry sometimes posts bone-dry data, which I guess at least ensures the appearance of some examination of the science. However, it is apparent that she doesn’t let the most current research or huge holes in her basic knowledge hold her back. She litters her blog with posts that are a curious grab-bag of recycled denier arguments and irrelevancies that she calls ‘common sense’.

Apparently being right requires an abundance of false misleading comments, deliberate confusion and other mischief-making. Her juxtaposition of serious claims to science with what amounts to denier ad copy is bizarre. She disputes whatever she can think of and excoriates colleagues as often as possible.

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BPSDB Who?

The Full Monckton

Four new videos

A trip to the potty

Jest for fun

Who?

For those who don’t know him, in addition to delusions of being an authority on climate science the self-christened “Potty Peer” is (as Coby Beck put it) a certifiable crackpot and a very colourful loon.

As such documenting his seemingly endless stream of errors, misrepresentations, frauds, lies etc would appear to be a cruel and completely unwarrented exercise in mocking the feeble and afflicted were it not for one other fact – he is one of the most  widely known of the professional so-called “climate skeptics.”

Further, for those desperate to embrace any idiocy that purports to refute climate science (eg the American Republican Party), Lord Monckton would appear to be one of the most credible of those professionals (undoubtedly based on his claim to being a member of the House of Lords, which he isn’t).

In a field (ie climate change denial) where raving silliness and blatant fraud are the stock in trade it would be difficult to pick a King of the Dungheap, but I submit that if one looks at the difference between outrageous, egregious ridiculousness and perceived credibility by the Denialosphere and some popular media, then Monkton is a clear frontrunner if not outright winner. Few others come even close to being so obviously, blatantly wrong while being still held up as credible authorities by the Deniers.

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The Top Ten BPSDB

Ben of Wott’s Up With That? commented on “Guide for dealing with the “Denier” labelthatthe “skeptic” fig-leaf is what annoys me most about climate change deniers” which led me to respond that “And there is so much to choose from too. I wonder if I could pick which are the “Ten most infuriating climate change Denier scams.”

Which comes with the following caveats of course.

1) Is identifying the scams that most infuriate simply an invitation to even more of the same?

2) Is acknowledging (again) the obvious reality that:

      1. There are Deniers;
      2. They use scams & deceit etc rather than rational debate;
      3. It is infuriating.

simply polarizing?

3) Is this just an invitation to simply list (again) the:

Regardless, both feet into the fire … simply post your nomination as a comment. Should clear winners not emerge we will use the Poll function to hold a runoff to determine the top ten.

Nominations should include a tinyurl link to an example of scam in question (or a hand drawn facsimile thereof) [Offer void where prohibited by law].

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BPSDB If someone refers to you as a “Denier”:

To convince them that you are a “Skeptic”, NOT a “Denier”:

  • Ignore the label and keep the discussion focused on the issue(s) of substance;
  • Point to and discuss the relevant facts and evidence;
  • Use reliable sources, either peer reviewed science or sources that track back to real science;
  • Be sure that your position accepts and accounts for all of the generally known facts that you are not explicitly disputing;
  • Ensure that your position is based on a logical argument;
  • Be flexible, ready to modify your position if it is shown that you erred or misunderstood;
  • Be consistent and rational; stay focused on facts and insist that your opponent do so as well.
  • Follow ‘The Skeptical Manifesto” as best you can.

To convince them that you probably ARE a Denier:

Do:

  • Quibble about the term, complain that it is offensive and an attempt link you with the Holocaust or some other such irrelevant nonsense;
  • Keep insisting that the perfectly correct English word ‘Denier’ not be permitted, do not allow any discussion of whether it was used correctly or not;
  • Insist that you are a “Skeptic” even though you don’t really know what that means;
  • Call them names and accuse them of ad hominem attacks. Don’t worry if you don’t really know what ‘ad hominem’ actually means.;
  • Go off on tangents, talk about anything except the actual issue;

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Dear Michael Lemonick BPSDB

In general I have appreciated your work, that of Climate Central, and of Scientific American.

As such I have been hugely disappointed, indeed flabbergasted by the piece you did on Judith Curry. Not by the subject, but by the fact that it promotes a narrative that is largely fiction.

Of the article Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues“in Scientific American Stoat saidthat article has completely missed the point of the criticism of her.” Actually I’d say it’s far worse than that. It is not simply misguided, it is flat out nonsense.

In your article the scientific community is falsely portrayed as a bunch of small minded bigots who gossip about trivialities and the irrelevant. Their real and legitimate concerns, not to mention substantive critiques of Curry, are ignored. Bad enough to ignore the real story, but to create a fiction as a substitute?

Richard Littlemore comes closer than Stoat with his critique, and FAIR makes a couple of good points, but I think there is value to be being more specific about exactly what are the failings.

In the Scientific American  article and the subsequent “Why I Wrote About Judith Curry” at Climate Central you said:

… something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs …

Scientific American

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BPSDB

MENU

Linguiça Hodge Podge

Curry’ed Menudo (Tripe)

Jumped Shark Fin Soup

Carbonnade à la Flamande Hash

Banh Tieu Chiffonade

Dog(ma) Imbottito con Ideologia

Trockenbeerenauslese Trifle

Lemon Curry Fool

A recipe for Ms Curry

Curry şiş Kebabs


I have finally gotten around to reading Judith Curry‘s contributions to the climate change debate and I have to say Stewart Shaw’s paraphrasing of the old axiom sums it up best:

It’s like making sausage. The more you know about what goes into it and how it’s done, the less you like it.

Stewart Shaw

Insomuch as Ms Curry’s stated objective is to build bridges and “have a civil conversation about climate” I thought it would be interesting to have a look at the Curry phenomenon from a conflict resolution perspective. Specifically to look at and assess Ms Curry’s contribution to facilitating civil discourse.

Curry and her take on climate science has been much discussed and vivisected (Curry şiş Kebabs below) and although I present some samplings to illustrate how she deals with contentious issues, I will not be repeating or reviewing the scientific or political perspective. There are far too many threads and Curry’s dissembling has made most of them more convoluted and Byzantine than they needed to be.

What I found is that while Curry claims to want to build bridges, she is going about it with a flame thrower. Her approach, whether intentional or not, is a recipe to make matters far worse, and it’s working!

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BPSDB

Scientific malpractice isn’t

Scientific malpractice is

Principles of scientific work

The controversial part

It’s not a bloody shovel

One of the most scrutinized and stringently regulated common professions is medicine. Just becoming a medical practitioner is a long and arduous process with strict standards, reviews and licensing.

Despite this system of oversights and checks medical malpractice still occurs, and far more frequently than we are really comfortable contemplating. Given that, is it really so shocking that there is such a thing as scientific malpractice and incompetence as well?

Of course science has standards and checks such as peer review to ensure that published scientific work itself is, by and large, competent. However there is no check on the competence of the scientists themselves beyond what their employer may choose to impose.

If only 1/10,000 scientists is incompetent it would still give us 6,000 to 7,000 of them skulking about. If the rate even approaches that of medical malpractice than we are talking at least 31,000, undoubtedly many more.

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BPSDB Regulars will know that I have been a huge fan of Potholer54 who has done some excellent climate science videos:

I was not at all pleased with his fourth, “Climate Change — Gore vs. Durkin” where he looks at both “The Swindle” and “An Inconvenient Truth.” Potholer seems to have fallen into a trap of attempting to seem even handed, not favouring one side of the issue or the other, see ‘Very disappointing‘ for the discussion.

I found his most recent one also somewhat disappointing even though it is mostly pretty good.  “11. Climate Change — Hurricanes, atolls and coral” was also released as “Climate Change Are we all going to drown?

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BPSDB

de·ni·er

dɪˈnaɪər/ [dih-nahy-er]

–noun

a person who denies.

Origin:

1350–1400;  ME; see deny, -er1

Dictionary.com

 

When a Denier’s behaviour is correctly identified and named the standard response is to plead that they are the victims of an attempt to associate them with Holocaust denial because that is what the word means. Well as it happens, no … that’s not what it means. Actually it means “denier” (see above).

Yes, yes, I know … the climate change Deniers never check anything with accepted, credible sources and reject the legitimacy of any source that contradicts what they believe.

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BPSDB

  • Apples and ice
  • Cherry picking
  • Back to the future
  • In search of…
  • The Schneider fallacies
  • Denier logic fails

If there are 7 apples in a barrel and someone says “Oh look, there are some apples.”, how many apples are there in the barrel?

If someone else also says “Oh look, there are some apples.”, how many apples are there now?

And if yet a third person does?

If you are age 4 or older you undoubtedly said “7” each time since the number of apples has not changed, that is unless you are a climate change Denier. Apparently Deniers believe that repeatedly reporting on the same 7 items by different sources somehow increases the number to the point that by the third or fourth repetition the barrel is full to the brim with apples.

Think I’m kidding? Read on …

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Climate Denial Crock of the Week

BPSDB Sharp eyed investigators began to apply to use a seldom used analytical technique, they actually read the email.

Smacking the Hack Attack

See also Potholes54’s excellent video “Those hacked emails.” The collected videos of Peter Sinclair’s excellent “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” series.  You can subscribe to Peter’s Youtube Channel at YouTube – greenman3610 and get them hot off the editor.

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BPSDB I’m going to go out on a short limb here, but frankly more and more it is sounding like the correct response to “Have you seen the emails?” is “Yeah, have you?

I refer to the uproar about the hacked CRU site which I posted about a few hours ago.

For all the Sturm und Drang and Denier promises of “final coffin nails”, there doesn’t actually seem to be anything to the story.  Sure, some impolitic and not nice things got said, and it’s embarrassing for some, but that seems to be about it.

We have all been waiting for the boot, or a shoe, or even a slipper to drop, and so far not even a sock … there’s nothing there.  Nada, zilch, gar nichts, mei you. That’s it, there’s no story, go home … get a life.

But read on anyway.

I read the emails as someone who trained as a scientist, but has never had anything to do with climate as a research scientist. Thus I have a sense of the culture of the sciences, but without necessarily having any idea what specifics were being referred to with respect to particular papers and studies. Here is my take on it.

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GarbageBPSDB A week ago this “450 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of “Man-Made” Global Warming” appeared and I figured it was just a matter of days before it started making the rounds of the climate change Denialosphere.  Sure enough it has turned up at Wattsupmybutt so I guess it’s time to state the obvious, that it’s utter nonsense.

Let’s have a look at a sampling of these “450 Peer-Reviewed Papers.” The list includes:

UPDATE: Pielke pulls 21 papers off the list! “they’d better change that to 429 papers, as their list doesn’t represent what they think it does.”  Better Recheck That List (Hat Tip to Former Skeptic for the heads up)

NOT peer-reviwed

The following are NOT peer-reviewed Journals

Energy & Environment: 82 papers on the list

E&E is a sort of vanity press for the Deniers, cited by one Wag as “where bad science goes to die.”

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