Alarmists’ zeal causes more climate scepticism

Skeptical Smears

Skeptical Smears

The alarmists refuse to budge on global warming. Despite widespread head-scratching regarding the cause of the current 15-plus year pause or slowdown in warming (and the obvious failings of climate models to predict it) the alarmists don’t ever want to give an inch.

Over the years, they have painted themselves into a corner – any admission of uncertainty or doubt would now be regarded as weakness, at least in their minds. So they plough on with the wilful blindness, misrepresentation and name-calling.

The image shows how Skeptical Science used to smear its opponents, with links to “Christie Crocks” [a “crock” in Australian slang is short for “crock of sh*t”], “Monckton Myths”, “Spencer Slip Ups” etc.

SkS has now removed them, but they have since been replaced with a stream of psycho-babble which attempts to medicalise “denial”  by branding anyone who queries their version of the “consensus” as a conspiracy theorist. And anyone who questions that assertion is themselves also a conspiracy theorist… and so on and so on.

Ben Pile, writing at Climate Resistance, analyses this polarising effect, with reference to the Guardian, but equally applicable to SkS (my emphasis):

The Guardian’s [and SkS’s] regular coverage of the climate debate is notable for two reasons. One: its attempts to sustain the climate change narrative is unremittingly alarmist and increasingly shrill. Two: it polarises the debate into binary, opposing categories of scientist versus denier, truth verses falsehood, good vs bad, thus excluding any nuance, complexity or middle ground from the debate.

The problem for the Guardian is that, when you divide and polarise the debate as it does, when the alarmist story you tell turns out to be nonsense, you force people with the sense or intuition to see it as nonsense to the other, opposing camp. In other words, if you do not let people assent to the climate story by degree, you alienate yourself in an attempt to alienate ‘denial’. And the view that the climate has not warmed for over a decade and a half is no longer controversial — only people assembled at the Guardian [SkS] argue otherwise, albeit they argue the point with (far too much) vehemence. The Guardian’s [and SkS’s] ire is too much for science to sustain, even if there are plausible hypotheses about where the warming is going. Those who are making the argument that the non-warming of the surface of the planet is not a problem for the climate narrative of 2006 — the ‘travesty’, to use the word of the most vocal proponent of the ocean warming theory of the missing heat — are simply shifting the goalposts, and the whole world can see them being hoist by their own noxious petards: bogus surveys intended to shine a light into the mechanisms of the sceptical mind, to measure the consensus, and to ‘frame’ the debate in such a way as to gently coerce non-believers into ‘behaviour change’ and ‘attitudinal adjustment’. They don’t recognise themselves as the cause of so much climate scepticism. 

That last sentence is the key: SkS and the Guardian are themselves responsible for a great deal of the scepticism. By requiring followers to subscribe 100% to every aspect of their position on climate, no matter how extreme, with no dissent brooked, rational thinking people will say no. Suddenly, they are unclean and labelled “deniers”. If you dare to suggest that perhaps Roy Spencer “might” have a point on something, or Lindzen is a highly qualified scientist and may have something to add to the debate, that’s sufficient to have you thrown out of the club.

There is no middle ground, no room for debate. It’s black and white. So rather than be white (as defined by the Guardian and Skeptical Science) people choose black. In a vicious circle, the alarmists are helping to create the very enemy they then go on to demonise. Pile concludes, all equally applicable to our friends over at SkS:

The question that remains then, is, how come all this emphasis on ‘science’ — calls to put ‘science’ at the heart of policy-making and information provided to the public — hasn’t been able to change the quality of the pronouncements made by the likes of Stern and the Guardian? Why hasn’t it been able to challenge alarmist memes finding their way into cheap and shrill Guardian copy? And why is pointing out that the climate change pudding has been over-egged is still dismissed as ‘denial’ by the climate Great and Good? The reason the public switch off is that it is by now completely obvious that there is more to the climate debate than science vs denial, and anyone claiming otherwise is pulling your leg. The only people who don’t understand this are writing for the Guardian.

If the Guardian and SkS toned down their smears and preaching, they may find “deniers” more willing to engage with their arguments.

The Skeptical Science Escalator … of Alarmism

Escalating hysteria

Escalating hysteria – click to watch

No visit to the Skeptical Science website is complete without having one of their smug “escalator” graphics shoved down your throat.

Not content with the temperature escalator, which paints anyone who questions their zealous devotion to “The Cause” as a simpleton, they have now come up with the sea ice escalator, along similar lines.

So finally, ladies and gentlemen, we present the Australian Climate Madness version of [drum roll, please], The Escalator!!!

CLICK HERE to watch animation (opens in new window).

Cook & Lew label senior Met Office climatologist a ‘conspiracy theorist’

Cook and Lew - twisted reality

Cook and Lew – twisted reality

UPDATE: Cook and Lew tie themselves in syntactical and grammatical knots  over at Un-Sk Ps-S trying to explain that they weren’t really calling Betts a conspiracy theorist…

In John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky’s twisted version of reality, anyone who disagrees with them is a conspiracy theorist.

So obsessed have they become with this piece of cheap psychobabble that they have written two papers about it, the second claiming that there was conspiracy theorising from sceptics in the responses to the first paper, which also accused sceptics of conspiracy theorising about climate change. Following me so far? [No – Ed]

In the Supplementary Information for the second paper (a PDF here – make sure you know where the zoom button is), Cook and Lew quote from a guy called Richard Betts, who left a comment at Bishop Hill, as follows:

The thing I don’t understand is, why didn’t they just make a post on sceptic blogs themselves, rather than approaching blog owners. They could have posted as a Discussion topic here at Bishop Hill without even asking the host, and I very much doubt that the Bish would have removed it. Climate Audit also has very light-touch moderation and I doubt whether Steve McIntyre would have removed such an unsolicited post. Same probably goes for many of the sceptic blogs, in my experience. So it does appear to that they didn’t try very hard to solicit views from the climate sceptic community. 

This is labelled  by the learned Professor and his Eureka-Prize-winning sidekick as an “excerpt espousing conspiracy theory” under the category of “Didn’t email deniers”.

So who is Richard Betts? I’ll give you a clue. He leads the “Climate Impacts area, specialising in ecosystem-hydrology-climate interactions but also overseeing work on urban, health, industry and finance” at the UK Met Office…!

Current activities

Richard is Head of the Climate Impacts strategic area, which includes climate impacts research and also the climate change consultancy unit.

The Met Office’s main role in climate impacts research is to facilitate a more integrated approach to the assessment of climate change impacts, in collaboration with specialists across the wider academic community. A large part of our impacts research, therefore, involves examining the interactions between different impacts areas, such as agriculture, natural ecosystems, water resources, glaciers, urban areas and human health.

Richard leads the impacts theme of the JULES community land surface modelling programme. This collaborative project forms part of UK-wide efforts to assess impacts in an internally-consistent manner. (full bio here)

He is also a Lead Author for IPCC AR4 WG1 and a Contributing Author for IPCC AR4 WG2… and Cook and Lew think he’s a climate conspiracy theorist. Bahahahahaha! Epic fail!

UPDATE: Thanks to Barry Woods for Richard’s Twitter response:

Lewandowsky et al clearly deluded!

More laughs to be had at the following sites:

Background to the Lew Papers is here.

Bloggies 2013

Cook takes his bat and ball home...

Not playing any more…

Thanks to everyone who nominated this blog again for the Bloggies – this time without any cajoling from me. Now Jo Nova’s been kicked upstairs, as it were, to the Best Science Blog category, I guess I may be in with a shot!

Laugh of the week was once again thanks to John Cook over at Un-Sk Ps-S, who threw a bit of a tantrum at being nominated in such filthy company as WUWT and Jo Nova, and promptly flounced off and “withdrew”. He then proceeded to write a pompous and self-serving article to his disciples wailing about how unfair it all was:

In an inversion of reality, the Science and Technology category is dominated by anti-science blogs that post conspiracy theories about the scientific community, deny the full body of evidence and reject the scientific consensus. The fact that 4 out of 5 science finalists are anti-science demonstrates that the integrity of the Bloggies Award has been compromised. I, like any pro-science blogger, am not comfortable with the notion of competing for an award that has previously been won by anti-science blogs.

Cook uses the term “anti-science” no less than nine times in the space of just four paragraphs, each time revealing his lack of understanding of “proper” science, as opposed to propaganda, which is the stock in trade of Un-Sk Ps-S.

In fact, it is Un-Sk Ps-S that is the only genuinely “anti-science” blog in the line-up, because it isn’t sceptical at all. Cook never acknowledges the uncertainties surrounding any area of climate science, and thus reduces his site to pure dogma. He’s abandoned the “question everything” concept of science and is simply spreading environmental spin. And the only option for him is to smear those who dare do what he can’t (or won’t).

And, of course, we all know the real reason he withdrew. He’d lose.

Lewandowsky and Cook lose the plot

It's Lew, no it's Cook, no Lew, Cook, Lew, er, hang on...

It’s Lew, no it’s Cook, no Lew, Cook, Lew, er, hang on…

[UPDATE 3 [8 Feb, 07.30 AEST]: Jo Nova has more on Mr Hubble Marriott here.

[UPDATE 2 [7 Feb, 18.40 AEST]: This is all in the public domain now, so I am sharing it here. The fourth author on this paper, Michael Hubble-Marriott, is the “Mike” who is responsible for the Watching the Deniers site (sorry, what are we denying again? Duh). Mike couldn’t contain his glee at being asked to be part of the team, so he revealed it all on his blog. I guess you judge people by the company they keep…]

[UPDATE: John Cook responds in the comments below.]

It’s typical isn’t it? You take a break and then, well, stuff happens. But this particular ‘stuff’ is too good to pass up.

The University of Western Australia’s very own Nutty Professor, Stephan Lewandowsky, goes full-on stupid, with best buddy John Cook of Un-Skeptical Pseudo-Science, by publishing another risible paper on the ludicrous “moon landing denier theory” previously discussed widely here and on the net (see here and here and here and here and plenty more).

But wait… This time, instead of labelling anyone daring to question any part of the climate consensus as a crazy conspiracy theorist, it’s anyone who questions Lewandowsky’s moon landing denier paper, who’s, er… a crazy conspiracy theorist.

It’s snappily entitled Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation, but what it actually represents isn’t recursive fury, but recursive idiocy: rational, if sometimes irritated, responses to an idiotic paper confected into yet another, this time doubly idiotic, paper. It’s bullshit squared, in other words.

So I assume that this post on ACM will be used as evidence to show that because I dare question this paper, I am (yet again) a crazy conspiracy theorist – and Lew will write a paper about that in due course. Will it ever end? [No – Ed]

Here’s part of the abstract:

This article analyzes the response of the climate blogosphere to the publication of LOG12 [shorthand for the ‘moon landing denier paper’]. We identify and trace the hypotheses that emerged in response to LOG12 and that questioned the validity of the paper’s conclusions. Using established criteria to identify conspiracist ideation, we show that many of the hypotheses exhibited conspiratorial content and counterfactual thinking. For example, whereas hypotheses were initially narrowly focused on LOG12, some ultimately grew in scope to include actors beyond the authors of LOG12, such as university executives, a media organization, and the Australian government. The overall pattern of the blogosphere’s response to LOG12 illustrates the possible role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science, although alternative scholarly interpretations may be advanced in the future.

No acknowledgement of the multitude of obvious failures in the original paper’s methodology, just more of the same ideology, plugged as science.

The full text is here (PDF). I’m proud to say that this humble blog gets three mentions – I will wear those mentions as a badge of honour.

I can’t be arsed (or assed for our American readers) to bother even reading it let alone wasting my time responding (I used the search function in my PDF app to find out where ACM was mentioned, by the way), it’s so laughable. I’ll leave it to the incomparable Ben Pile at Climate Resistance to eviscerate this latest steaming heap of ‘research’:

I have little interest in parsing the 57 pages of the new paper [yep, with you there, bro], to get the measure of the remainder of what Lewandowsky believes are conspiracy theories. It seems sufficient to say that, whether or not the comments in question do betray a tendency of the authors towards conspiracy theorising, they were a response to a poorly-conceived research exercise which was transparently intended to frame the debate as one between science on the one hand, and idology/conspiracy theorists on the other. If the internet has a gutter, in which thrive conspiracy theories and pointless interminable flame wars between people who have little grasp on the real world, Lewandowsky’s work is amongst it.

But what is remarkable, however, is that seemingly academic research should have fallen to this level. Lewandowsky reduces academia to a silly blog comment war. He drags journals, and research organisations into this war, undermining the value of research in general and trust in it. The thrust of Lewandowsky’s paper is ‘I picked a fight on the Internet, and this is what people said about me’, which, of course, omits any criticism of his work that may enable him to develop a better argument.

And that’s the point. Lewandowsky’s research is intended to reduce the phenomenon of ‘scepticism’ and ‘denial’ without taking any notice of what sceptics say, except when it confirms to the stereotype Lewandowsky wants to demonstrate the existence of. No doubt that’s a ‘conspiracy theory’ on his view, but the truth is much simpler: either his mediocre talents aren’t sufficient for the critical self-reflection necessary to produce robust research, or an inflated ego precludes critical self-reflection.

Ultimately, ‘research’ of this kind will bring the academy down with it, because drawing attention to, and publishing Lewandowsky’s work means demonstrating to the world the fact that quite often, academic researchers are as petty-minded, ‘idologically-motivated’, and pig ignorant as the worst of online commentary.

Are you hearing this, UWA?

'Lew, get a clew'

Inspector Clew-seau

Quote of the Day comes from Judith Curry, who skewers the ridiculous antics of Lewandowsky:

The latest ‘explanation’ for lack of belief in the IPCC consensus ‘truth’ is that these non believers are conspiracy theorists.  See Stephan Lewandowsky’s editorial Evidence is overrated if you are a conspiracy theorist.  Lewandowsky’s ‘evidence’ was a scammed internet survey.  Bloggers such as Steve McIntyreAnthony WattsBishopHill, Lucia, JoNova are all over this, and have exposed the scam (note: there are multiple posts on each of these blogs).  BS detection in action.  While I have used the term ‘auditors’ for deep investigations of problems with climate data, BS detection seems much more apt for this particular issue.

Lew, get a clew.  I hope this experience with the skeptical bloggers has revealed what they are really all about, as they have revealed YOUR conspiracy by finding a really big pile.

The ‘conspiracy’ among green climate bloggers has been further revealed by the leak of John Cook’s secret forum (link).  SkepticalScience seems to becoming the ringleader for conspiratorial activities by the green climate bloggers.  All this is high entertainment for those of us who follow the climate blog wars.  But take a step back, and consider how bad this makes you look, and how poorly it reflects on the science and ’cause’ that you are trying to defend. (source)

In other Lew News, Steve McIntyre reports that the Professor has now taken to deleting whole bunches of inconvenient comments on his blog:

Today, Lewandowsky (who is being assisted by an SkS squadron) liquidated every single comment by Fuller on the entire blog, leaving rebuttals to Fuller in place without the protagonist. This is different from not approving the blog comments: it’s an after-the-fact cleansing of Fuller from the blog.

The University of Western Australia should hang its head in shame at Lewandowsky’s Gleickian antics. (source)

And WUWT unearths an interesting few comments from the secret Un-Sk Ps-S database that was inadvertently “left open” earlier in the year (oh dear, how sad, never mind):

And this isn’t about science or personal careers and reputations any more. This is a fight for survival. Our civilisations survival. .. We need our own anonymous (or not so anonymous) donors, our own think tanks…. Our Monckton’s … Our assassins.

Anyone got Bill Gates’ private number, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson? Our ‘side’ has got to get professional, ASAP. We don’t need to blog. We need to network. Every single blog, organisation, movement is like a platoon in an army. ..This has a lot of similarities to the Vietnam War….And the skeptics are the Viet Cong… Not fighting like ‘Gentlemen’ at all. And the mainstream guys like Gleick don’t know how to deal with this. Queensberry Rules rather than biting and gouging.

..So, either Mother Nature deigns to give the world a terrifying wake up call. Or people like us have to build the greatest guerilla force in human history. Now. Because time is up…Someone needs to convene a council of war of the major environmental movements, blogs, institutes etc. In a smoke filled room (OK, an incense filled room) we need a conspiracy to save humanity.

Ohhh kayyy… scary stuff.

Lewandowsky update

Cook and Lew – best buddies

It’s almost impossible to keep up with the flood of articles on the Lew Paper.

From Climate Audit we have:

From WUWT:

From The Air Vent:

And from Jo Nova:

Lewandowsky’s responses can be found here, a website which is coincidentally maintained by John Cook of Skeptical Science. And the UWA Climate Science web page has a link back to Un-Sk Ps-S… So Cook writes the stuff on SkS, and then Lew then says anyone who doesn’t believe it is a nut job! Brilliant.

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