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”
Take his latest contribution to climate ignorance “Woods Hole embraces the Medieval Warm Period – contradict Mann’s proxy data.” Impressive claim. A major blow to the infamous “Hockey Stick“, and certainly a problem for Mann et al … if that is in fact the case.
As you may have guessed, searching Watts’ article for any mention of Mann is a futile endeavour. Nothing about Mann et al or their study, much less how the Woods Hole study contradicts it, or is in any way inconsistent with it, or anything of the sort. Nothing, nada, zilch, gar nichts.
Note by the way, that to Watts it is “Mann”, not Mann et al. It’s so much easier to make the fiction of error believable if you imply that it is the work of one person that is wrong, rather than that of Michael E. Mann, Zhihua Zhang, Malcolm K. Hughes, Raymond S. Bradley, Sonya K. Miller, Scott Rutherford, and Fenbiao Ni.
Regardless, I wanted to accuse Watts of empty words, but other than the title there isn’t even that. It takes only the slightest word substitution to get:
‘I explained that we are calling the article “Woods Hole embraces the Medieval Warm Period – contradict Mann’s proxy data“ because you always dispose of the difficult bit in the title. It does less harm than in the post itself. It is the law of Inverse Relevance: the less you intend to actually say about something, the more you have to claim that you will say it”
A pity, because I was really curious to see how the Woods Hole study contradicted Mann et al’s data rather than their interpretation or methodology. Apparently I will never know. I guess if you are not actually going to say anything you can afford to be a little loose with your word choice. On that note, why not “Mann et al traffics crack and children”? or “Mann et al born in Kenya”?; as long as you’re making things up why not go for the whole enchilda?
If you suspect it is because his fans would not believe such outrageous allegations, I have to wonder. If you check the comments on the article there is the usual uncritical gullibility of climate change Deniers, a credulity that absolutely beggars belief. Everyone takes it as given that Watts has somehow demonstrated the claim in his title. Do they even read his articles? I could understand why one would not want to, but even so …
Needless to say Climate Despot has put it on the front page, so we can expect the contagion to have infected the entire Denialosphere within a day or two.
On the plus side it serves as a perfect example of one of the easiest types of climate change denial to refute, the ones that don’t actually say anything at all. These are actually more common then most people realize, so I find it always pays to do what the Deniers apparently rarely do, which is to actually read the article.
“Many of America’s most important commercial crops require between 400 and 1800 hours each winter when the temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.” Earth Gauge
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
Denier “Challenge” aka Deathwatch Update: Day 309 … still no evidence.
Comments that are not relevant to the post that they appear under or the evolving discussion will simply be deleted, as will links to Denier spam known to be scientific gibberish