Where are the "death threats"?

Lots of abuse

I may be being overly pernickety here, which as a lawyer I often am, but having seen extracts from the ANU emails (go here – warning, strong language), none of them come remotely close to a “death threat”. The vast majority of it is good old fashioned abuse (and we’ve all had our fair share of that – solution: you hit the delete button), but there are no death threats (original story on this here).

The worst are probably:

“Die you lying bastard”

“The quicker that C*nts like you and your kind Die the better”

Which is kind of like saying “F*** off and die” to someone – in other words, hoping that someone will die rather than a clear threat to kill. Just for the record, my interpretation of a “death threat” or a threat to kill would be something explicit, along the lines of: “Unless you stop your research, I will kill you.” Result: go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

If it had been reported as mere abuse, the story wouldn’t have got any traction. But because of the “death threat” angle, a Google search brings up over 5,000 hits, and the story has now reached as far as the UK’s Guardian and Telegraph newspapers, both of which repeat the allegation of death threats:

A number of Australia’s leading climate scientists have been moved into safer accommodation after receiving death threats, in a further escalation of the country’s increasingly febrile carbon price debate.

The revelation of the death threats follows a week of bitter exchanges between the government and the opposition in the wake of a pro-carbon price TV advert featuring actor Cate Blanchett. (Guardian - source)

And the Telegraph:

Australia’s top climate scientists have been forced to move their offices to a secure location after they received death threats relating to their work on global warming.

As an intense debate over how to tackle climate change in the country becomes increasingly vicious, a team of high-profile researchers at the Australian National University in Canberra has been given increased security protection after a campaign of menacing and abusive emails and phone calls intensified in recent weeks.

The threats, which included sexual assault, sexual attacks on family members and public smear campaigns, were so serious and so explicit that the Australian Federal Police have been called in to investigate. (source)

That last bit is factually incorrect, since an email to the AFP media centre yesterday revealed that “no complaint had been received.” I guess that’s just the Chinese whispers of the media at work. Of course, the AFP and ACT police wouldn’t be interested in any of the stuff released above.

Obviously, such emails are wholly unacceptable from both sides, but the warmists haven’t exactly got clean hands. Let’s just remind ourselves of some of the hate and vitriol that anyone who dares question the consensus has been subjected to for years.

  • Just on Saturday, Richard Glover in the Sydney Morning Herald wrote that climate change “deniers” should be “forcibly tattooed on their heads”.
  • In 2009, a commenter wrote “At what point do we jail or execute global warming deniers?”
  • James Hansen in 2008 called for trials of climate sceptics for “high crimes against humanity”
  • Robert F Kennedy said sceptics should be “treated as traitors”
  • Go here for a longer list

Arguably, these statement, whilst not containing the swear words and abuse, are far more concerning than anything in the ANU emails so far released. They are calls to treat an entire class of person, namely anyone who questions the alarmist consensus, as a criminal or traitor, and that class of person should therefore suffer the same punishments and restrictions on liberty as their genuine counterparts.

Obviously, if further evidence is forthcoming of genuine death threats, then such criminal action should, indeed must, be investigated, and if the perpetrators found guilty, punished with the full force of the law. But as it stands… hit delete.

Comments

  1. rukidding says:

    Bit like climate science itself. Just show us the proof and we are with you.
    No proof then SORRY.

  2. This sounds like the way the Democrats dealt with the emergence of the Tea Party in the US. Rather than answer their criticisms of the policies, they labeled them as racist. Sounds like your Labor government is playing the same game. With a sympathetic media they may fool themselves into thinking this is an effective strategy to deal with dissent but our last election in the US showed this sort of spin does not fool voters.

    • Nicholas says:

      Sean, just how would you respond to a ‘criticism’ such as “Die you lying bastard”?

      • Mmmmm … perhaps stop lying?

        • Nicholas says:

          You’re joking, aren’t you? Please tell me you’re joking.
          Or do you mean to say that you believe these scientists are deliberately lying?
          Man, I can’t take this any more. I’m outta here.

        • Deliberately cherry-picking data to support their P.O.V. Igoring data which contradicts their hypothesis. Perhaps many have good intentions, some not. A distortion is still a lie.

          As a side note, climatology is not the only science where this occurs either. Check out the fields of exercise, nutrition, or even cosmology (just a few that I’m interested in and follow.)

          This is human nature at work, and just because they are “scientists” doesn’t mean they are not emotional creatures as well.

      • There are a lot of nuts out there on both sides of the debate. I’d respond the same way I responded to the 10:10 exploding children video, ignore it. When a protagonist is scoring own goals, do you really want to tackle them?

  3. Don’t forget Splattergate!

    • Indeed – how could I have forgotten that one? Blowing up “deniers” is perfectly fine, I guess…

  4. Go here for a longer list

    To which add Federal Labor MP Nick Champion’s rant,

    Climate changes sceptics a threat to national security

  5. Baldrick says:

    Scientists should stick to science and not become political activists. If they want to cross the line and become activists then they should be prepared to cop some flak now and again. If they can’t handle the heat then stick to science and advise not agitate.

    • Nicholas says:

      I can assure you, the last thing these scientists want is to be involved in the politics. However it is situations like this – when the scientific method itself has become politicised by those who disagree with their findings – that they are obliged to enter into the debate.

      • You are viewing this through your own prism, that it’s only those who have disagreed that have politicised it. That is utterly false. Look at James Hansen – he is the ultimate political advocate.

        • Nicholas says:

          In saying “these scientists”, I was referring to the subjects of the ‘death threats’. It’s true, there are politicisers on both sides of the debate, but my point was that the science itself is apolitical. It’s easy to portray scientists as ‘living in ivory towers’ etc, but the subject of the debate should be the science, not the scientists.

  6. froggy uk says:

    This excellent article just about sums it up, (sorry if this has been covered before.)

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/04/07/climate-models-go-cold/#comments

    • Nicholas says:

      Sums up what? The opinion of one scientist? And therefore the rest are all charlatans? You really believe it’s as simple as that, don’t you? ‘The only liars here are the ones you disagree with’. That must make a nice little bubble for you to live in. I assume you’ve read Ian Plimer’s “Heaven and Earth — Global Warming: The Missing Science”? It’s right up your alley.

      • The exact same comments could be repeated straight back at you: ‘The only liars here are the ones you disagree with.’ Must make a nice little bubble for you to live in. I assume you’ve watched “An Inconvenient Truth”? It’s right up your alley.

        • Nicholas says:

          Yes they could be repeated straight back at me. Which is what you did. What is your point?
          I’m not saying that all science is 100% foolproof. The beauty of science is that when an existing model/theory is seen to be wrong, science (as a whole) recognises this, and searches for a better model. One wrong model does not destroy a whole field or research. Arguably, it actually makes it stronger.
          The problem here is that people such as Ian Plimer selectively pick out errors, and hold them up as examples that the whole field is in error. That’s disingenuous.

        • My contention is that the problem with consensus climate scientists in general is that they refuse to admit that there is any doubt. There is an arrogance that they know everything there is to know about the climate and that anyone who challenges it is subjected to name-calling and ridicule (like you are doing with Plimer). If they were truly apolitical and impartial they would say, OK, we disagree with a lot of what Plimer says, but maybe there are some aspects of his arguments that we hadn’t considered and we should investigate those. But no, they write him off as a fruitcake. That’s politics. Not science.

        • Nicholas says:

          Scientists, as part of their training, are fully comfortable with acknowledging doubt. You suggest that the points Plimer raises are being swept under the carpet and wilfully ignored. This is not the case at all. Valid criticisms are addressed and dealt with vigorously within the scientific community. Playing ‘gotcha’ in a public forum is not part of the scientific method. And believe me, the scientific community would love to be able to communicate as effectively as the Ian Plimers of this world, but unfortunately, the facts, such as they are, aren’t very appealing.
          But one question; what name-calling or ridicule am I supposed to have directed at Plimer? Saying his attack was ‘disingenuous’?

        • Oh come on, Nicholas – we all know the consensus view of Plimer – please don’t play the innocent.

        • Nicholas says:

          Well actually, I haven’t been following the whole story, but I did just look him up on Wikipedia, so I’m guessing the consensus view probably relates to his affiliation with the (heavily oil industry-funded) ‘Institute of Public Affairs’, amongst other things?

        • Seriously, that is a joke. If you are comparing the amount that sceptics are funded to what the alarmists receive, it’s about 1000:1 in the alarmists’ favour.

        • Re: Pilmer “selectively picking out errors.”

          If there is evidence that directly contradicts a given hypothesis, then this does not strengthen it, this invalidates it.

          AGW theory certainly does not encompass the “whole field” of climatology research. It is disingenuous to imply that. Dismissing this theory does not cause the whole field to collapse. Just the opposite, it allows us to move forward and search for a better model…

          Re: “The beauty of science is that when an existing model/theory is seen to be wrong, science (as a whole) recognises this, and searches for a better model.”

          Are you familiar with Schopenhauer’s “All truth passes through three stages” ? :-)

        • Matthew Starrs says:

          @Nicholas: I admire your innocence! The idea that:

          (i) Scientists, as part of their training, are fully comfortable with acknowledging doubt, and –
          (ii) The beauty of science is that when an existing model/theory is seen to be wrong, science (as a whole) recognises this, and searches for a better model.

          These are amazing attributes which you ascribe to scientists as a whole! But my beautiful albeit simple friend, science is not a cohesive whole, and it’s priests are mere mortals. They can and do regularly succumb to personal, political or financial pressures to both conduct and report research in ways that is a little less than objective.

          Have a great life my friend! A word of advice, don’t trade in your woolly cardigan for a new pair of board shorts! It’s gonna get cooler than they’re telling you!

      • “We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination…
        So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

        Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology, lead author of many IPCC reports

  7. froggy uk says:

    @ Nicholas, At least this scientist openly admits he was on the “carbon gravy train” but unlike others he has developed a thing called honesty & fair play to him for that,
    Youll also find he is not the only one who realised what is going on & has followed their conscience & made public the dishonest practices ongoing,
    There has also been others that have been threatened & forced out for not towing the line, but of course you wouldnt have heard about them as you are stuck in a little bubble of your own, (albeit full of methane by the sounds of it).

    • Nicholas says:

      No, he’s not the only one. But you you assume all remaining climate scientists are being dishonest, for reasons that are either unclear or don’t stand up to scrutiny.
      This idea (not yours necessarily) that climate science is some sort of gravy train is frankly bizarre. Are they supposed to be living in mansions or something? Most scientists I know (including environmental/climate scientists) are lucky if they know where their next meal is coming from.

      • It certainly isn’t bizarre. It makes a great deal of sense. Governments are spending billions on funding climate science research around the world. Of course there is a financial motive at work here.

        • Nicholas says:

          True, billions of dollars is a lot of money, but if you’re talking about profit-driven motives, it is a drop in the bucket compared to industrial denialism (eg. the oil industry, etc).

      • The Loaded Dog says:

        This idea (not yours necessarily) that climate science is some sort of gravy train is frankly bizarre.

        Wake up to yourself Nicholas. Are you THAT naive? Whenever AND wherever there is an abundance of money (especially government money) there is an abundance of dodgy business.

        http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/dodgy-solar-power-operators-rife/story-e6freomx-1226028731420

      • It doesn’t mean they’re living in mansions, but it means they’re assured of financial support. Try getting funding for research that contradicts AGW.

      • Matthew Starrs says:

        It may not be as lucrative as some professions, but there is no shortage of grants and funding opportunities for those that want to investigate ANYTHING in relation to climate change. You get what you pay for!

  8. Nicholas says:

    Yeah, funny you should say that, because the research that suggests there is no problem is rather scanty. That’s certainly not for lack of funding though.
    I take it you’ve heard of the Koch brothers? (If not, Google them)

    • Matthew Starrs says:

      @Nicholas. Heard of the Berkely project? They are a research project that support the commonly held hypothesis of Global Warming. I guess you didn’t know this:
      “The Berkeley project’s biggest private backer, at $150,000, is the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Oil billionaires Charles and David Koch are the nation’s most prominent funders of efforts to prevent curbs on the burning of fossil fuels, the largest contributor to planet-warming greenhouse gases.”

    • Ronald S says:

      Nicholas, you are clearly misrepresenting the the scientific method here – investigations of phenomena and subsequent hypotheses are based on supporting evidence being present, or on suspicion that such evidience might be found under appropriate experimental conditions or from controlled observations.
      In the case of anthropogenic global warming, none of the empirical evidence gathered to date supports the hypothesis.
      You seem to be saying that the absence of contrary evidence is enough in itself to support the hypothesis.
      Do you believe in aliens as well ?

  9. @ sean , point no 2 , it’s more than just sympathetic media , the same NWO conglomerate that is pushing this whole gloal warming issue OWNS the majority of media ,,, rupert murdoch is well known as a papal knight

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