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Posts Tagged ‘Exposing 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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BPSDB The recent tornadoes in the United States have lead to a resurgence of articles talking about the link between extreme weather, natural disasters and climate change. If you are an interested member of the general public you are undoubtedly confused as the two sides of the debate seem to be making opposing claims, and both seem to have some science to back them up.

I’d like to talk a bit about why there is this confusion and what it means in practical terms for you and me. Then I’d like to discuss the opinion of the folks who take this issue very seriously indeed. No, I don’t mean the scientists, much more seriously than that – I am referring to the insurance industry.

The critical phrase is “seem to be making opposing claims“, because for the most part they are not. The climate change Deniers erroneously characterize the science based reports as ascribing the various tornadoes, storms and what have you as being caused by or linked to climate change. That is not what the ones I sampled were actually saying.

If you read the various reports they correctly note that given the current state of our knowledge it is impossible to directly link the recent extreme weather to climate change. It is also impossible to definitively say there is no link; that’s how uncertainty works.

Now from what I can gather it is probable that the influence of climate change on the most recent spate of tornadoes in the US south west was very small to none, but that’s not the end of the story.

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XKCD always! BPSDB

hat tip to MindofDan

(how many climate change Deniers will actually get it?)

Rabett Runs

Eli has a totally fun flow chart in Rejection is fungable

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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

Knowledge is a deadly friend
When no one sets the rules.

The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools.

Let me begin by saying I have enormous respect for William M. Connolley (aka Stoat) and generally do not significantly disagree with him.

However, in his Apr 5th piece “Muller is rubbish” Stoat said “But he [Muller] isn’t a tosser.

Stoat, you’re just plain wrong, Muller most definitely is a well bad tosser, a “denialist chumming complete bollocks.”

Short Prologue

(more documentation at bottom)

Richard Muller is a Berkeley physicist of some minor notoriety in climate change circles for being critical of “the Hockey Stick” (ie historical temperature reconstructions). By “critical” I mean calling it “phoney.”

Earlier this year the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group began a project to re-examine the existing temperature data. The project drew criticism for, among other things:

  • consisting exclusively of people with a poor track record for:
  • discussing the science honestly.
  • actually understanding the science.
  • being funded in part by Koch Industries.
  • On March 31 Muller testified before Congress and affirmed the high quality of the existing climate science which sent the climate change Deniers into a frenzy.

    The Muller sideshow has been one I have been largely ignoring, but then a repeat commenter brought this video clip to my attention:

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    BPSDB Judith Curry’s latest post Polyclimate is actually about an interesting and important topic that deserves real discussion, but that is apparently not the real purpose of her post, and as a consequence not of this one either.

    The topic in question is the clear, effective communication of climate change science, and I just want to draw to your attention Dr Curry’s attempt to further undermine it.

    Dr Curry is actually quite a clever misinformer, so a single blog post is not sufficient to document all of the errors, misrepresentations  and cheap shots in the entire piece. Indeed may not even be sufficient to cover the introduction which attempts to frame the issue as being about flawed science. While masquerading as a serious discussion piece the fact is that a great deal of it is actually just juvenile swiftboating.

    I suppose I should begin by thanking Dr Curry for the backhanded semi-compliment she gave in “it seems that few people read Greenfyre, but it is representative of the genre and more literate and entertaining than most“, but still note the typical gratuitous put down she felt obliged to insert. Moving right along:

    In short, the blame is being placed on “deniers,” the mainstream media, conservatives and libertarians, and tactics used by the environmental movement itself.  The science itself is a non-issue in this matter: the incontrovertability of the Tyndall gas effect has somehow been translated into high confidence knowledge of what is going on with the climate system and what should be done about it.”

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    BPSDB

    I admit it, I have underestimated the virulence of the climate change Deniers.

    I had thought that they were merely  politically motivated, close minded, frightened people egged on by a corporate driven profit agenda.

    Increasingly I am convinced (by them) that we are dealing with a hysteric, desperate, terrified mob driven by ideologues.

    My post Love, blood and rhetoric really got the Digg Patriots into a froth, so I used the opportunity to see if I could cajole/goad/bait anyone of them into making a single relevant, rational comment about the post. I wasn’t hoping for much, just about anything that referred to what was actually said and responded with something that made any sense would have done.

    No luck. Several of the commenters even took took pride in their certainty that what I had written was treasonous, dangerous propaganda despite their not having read a single line of it. Several threatened to (and supposedly did) report me to the FBI/Homeland Security even though they hadn’t actually read the piece. Wow!

    Which led me to rereading a Sun Magazine interview with Chip Berlett, and realizing that I had failed to appreciate the full significance of something he said.

    “Barsamian: The virulence of language on the Right is acute. Everything is Armageddon, apocalypse, or a “nuclear option.”

    Berlet: That’s because it’s portraying the political opposition not as people with whom you disagree but as a force of evil with whom there can be no compromise. How can you compromise with Satan? How can you compromise with the people who want to destroy America?

    Brewing Up Trouble: Chip Berlet On The Tea Party And The Rise Of Right-Wing Populism by David Barsamian

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    BPSDB

    Last week John Mashey did an excellent talk on “The Machinery of Climate Anti-Science” at the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. John is an incurable geek (my highest praise) who has been a tireless bulldog in going after the power networks that support the professional world of climate change denial (and just a really nice guy).

    The talk is well worth it, so watch it:

    Video of John Mashey’s talk and the pdf of the presentation.

    Thanks to Tim @ Deltoid and Deep Climate for the heads up.

    Some things to watch for

    1) This is not a summary and will not substitute for watching the presentation itself, it’s just a sampling of some of the things he talks about that I have my own agenda for drawing your attention to, so go watch it already ;-)

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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

    Dilbert.com

    Parse that carefully because it can be too easy to become focused on the “Stupid” part. It’s S-t-u-p-i-d W-h-i-t-e M-e-n.

    For completeness we should add “Old”, and “Rich” (and probably some other adjectives as well) because of course in addition to being a race and gender issue climate change is a class and generational one. Having said that, it is a very particular brand of ‘Stupid’ that we are dealing with and it deserves dissection.

    Nowhere is this clearer than the recent U.S. Congressional House Energy and Commerce Committee vote that denied the existence of climate change. As has been noted elsewhere, they may as well have voted to deny the existence of gravity. While I have been known to compare climate change Denier‘s intelligence to that of lobotomized rodents it is still breathtaking to see them literally taking it to that level.

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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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    BPSDB Some odd goings on in the climate change Denialosphere …

    Curiouser and Curiouser

    New Crock

    A few smiles

    Recent absence

    Curiouser and Curiouser

    On Jan 20th the Canada Free Press published an apology to Dr Andrew Weaver (text below & google cache) as was reported by various sites (eg here and here).

    That apology has now disappeared. (see also updates below text of apology).

    So what has happened? CFP changed their minds? Tim Ball filed a counter-suit? CFP lawyers found that the text of the apology left them open to even more serious action? Other?

    If any one has heard anything I would be curious to know.

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    BPSDB A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on…

    possibly Mark Twain

    The past few years have seen the internet change fairly significantly with respect to the issue of climate change.  As a tool for public education the internet is invaluable. Unfortunately as a tool for disinformation it seems that it is even more effective.

    To what extent disinformation on the net drives climate change Denial as opposed to the reverse is a chicken and egg discussion. Undoubtedly they feed on each other in a classic positive feedback loop. The question is, what is to be done about it.

    Not that any one thing is going to turn it around. There are a host of things the climate science community needs to do. However, I do have one specific proposal that I believe would be helpful and I would like some feedback on it.

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    BPSDB In my last post about machinima I said:

    Now, a fun piece of culture jamming would be to identify the game engines in question and do clones of these videos [2 climate change Denier screeds], but have the “libural” stating the facts (with sources) just as we do in real discussions. Then give these clones the same titles as the originals and start spreading them around the net.

    Well guess what?

    Hat tip to PE who sent me a 3rd video of machinima and I realized that the prominent site name that appeared on it might be a site that allowed you to make machinima (well Duh?). I checked, it was.

    In fact it was the same site that had been used to make both of the Denier videos I referred to in the other post. Well having said “someone should … ” I thought ‘what the hell …’ and a few hours later, voila.

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    Machinima is?

    BPSDB

    a) a technique for video production that progressives barely use;

    b) a German cyber-goth band;

    c) a name for pit-bull/doberman hybrids;

    d) videos produced using computer game engines.

    Recently climate blogger (and scientist) Michael Tobis posted Dogs and Deniers, a post illustrating the similarity between a particular Far Side cartoon and real life with the climate change Deniers (with their typical inability to detect irony, a Denier immediately posted comments illustrating the truth of the post). To illustrate his point Tobis had actually used a rather crude Denier produced example of machinima.

    Machinima is of course both a) and d), that is it is a technique for film making using computer game engines that progressives barely use.

    Machinima apparently began in the 1990s with game players simply screen capturing their play and then distributing it. From there someone had the notion to tell a little story within the game story and have the game characters act it out.

    Then someone had the realization that you could control game characters to do more than simply hack and slash and kill everyone within the games’ storyline. If you had them strike a pose and say “To be or not to be, that is the question … ” and then hack and slash and kill everyone, you had Hamlet.

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    BPSDB When I went to Google News this morning  the “Top Stories” are about some skiers and the beginning of the Federal election campaign.

    Only much lower down do I find anything about floods in Australia and Sri Lanka, or mudslides in Brazil.

    Apparently there is nothing new about climate change here in the Industrialized West. In the Anthropocene (era of human dominated biosphere) disasters of epic proportions are not “news.”

    The cost of cutting back emissions is more than we estimated, but that is because the consequences of climate change are already here.”              Nicholas Stern

    Just over one year ago Australian blogger MothIncarnate posted his first piece “Business as Usual; The Dead Horse and Juggernaut of Climate Change.”  An area of Queensland the size of France and Germany combined is flooded; the Juggernaut has arrived.

    As people die or lose everything they have, the climate change Deniers want to quibble semantics. The flooding is exactly what was predicted and is completely consistent with climate science, but can we categorically say that it has been caused by climate change?

    http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/

    It’s not the right question to ask if this storm or that storm is due to global warming, or is it natural variability. Nowadays, there’s always an element of both.”  Trenberth

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