Archive for ‘denialism’

September 26, 2011

Side-splitting denialist nutjobbery

Got this comment on my “Climate Change is a hoax perpretrated by Tim Flannery” video. Oh my.

“What a completely IGNORANT INSIPID Analistic mindfkr
The FACT that Australia is 1100 Kms FURTHER NORTH than it was 150 yrs ago just may have something to do with all this Climate change BS. The EAST COAST of Canada is ALSO 1100 Kms (as of 2011) further SOUTH genius which is WHY all of the snow and ice is melting ON THAT SIDE ONLY

The ROSS IceShelf is 1100 kms further north than it should be which is why it is also breaking up. DO a GOOGLE search for “North Pole Moving towards Siberia” 1+1=2 “

August 31, 2011

Cool cartoon site – Calamaties of Nature

Have just found this rather cool site, Calamaties of Nature.

Here is a recent cartoon of theirs.

And cue denialists being sententious about argumentum ad popularem or whatever.

August 30, 2011

Volcanoes and Denialists: The Ominous Parallels

And those parallels are…
*They’re usually quite old, with molten rage seeping through their cracks
*They’re quite unpredictable, even if you’re watching what you are doing
*They throw off far more heat than light
*You could crack a toe or worse on their solidified sludge
*In the short-term, they should only be fatal to the very unlucky or the very slow-witted
*However, they can bring what could be a relatively straightforward journey to a juddering halt.
*The media have a major lavafair with them.

August 29, 2011

Youtube: Volcanoes and denialists

The latest video…

August 20, 2011

Youtube: Gish Gallop in 72 seconds

A gallop through the ‘Gish Gallop’, without any suggestions about how to tackle it. It’s a debating technique involving, well, spouting so much bollocks that your opponent can’t ever tear down each bit. It’s kind of a distributed denial of service attack on the audience’s brains…

August 14, 2011

The Science of Why We Don’t Believe the Science

Chris Mooney, and American journo, starts his article “The science of why we don’t believe the science” thus

“A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.” So wrote the celebrated Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger, in a passage that might have been referring to climate change denial—the persistent rejection, on the part of so many Americans today, of what we know about global warming and its human causes. But it was too early for that—this was the 1950s—and Festinger was actually describing a famous case study in psychology.

lots of interesting stuff in between that beginning and this last para from the first page –

we all understand these mechanisms when it comes to interpersonal relationships. If I don’t want to believe that my spouse is being unfaithful, or that my child is a bully, I can go to great lengths to explain away behavior that seems obvious to everybody else—everybody who isn’t too emotionally invested to accept it, anyway. That’s not to suggest that we aren’t also motivated to perceive the world accurately—we are. Or that we never change our minds—we do. It’s just that we have other important goals besides accuracy—including identity affirmation and protecting one’s sense of self—and often those make us highly resistant to changing our beliefs when the facts say we should.

August 7, 2011

Youtube: Carbon Dioxide is natural, therefore nothing to worry about…

Because natural things (taipans, cyanide etc) are NEVER harmful, are they? And the fact that humans can breath air with more than 390ppm of C02 means that there is NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. Right? Includes some classic Doctor Who stills, if that persuades you to waste 150 seconds you will never get back…

July 6, 2011

Youtube: Climate Change is a left-wing issue

Trolls keep telling me climate change is really a communist plot. And, as usual, they have all the evidence on their side. No, wait…

Click below for a four minute scroll through the mainstream politicians and big business who want action on climate change, followed by wild and provocative speculation on some of the psycho-social dynamics of denialism.


Not sure I’d characterise it as an old white guy thing. Sure, they mostly are old white guys and the dominance of grey haired old wrinkled faces is striking. But as I’m sure you know, it’s all about the values system that these old guys happen to have.
They would also say it’s not about control, they’d characterise it as the opposite – that it’s about small government and reducing the control government has over our lives. Check out this quote from Roy Spencer (which affirms the values basis for climate denial):
“I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.”

July 5, 2011

No Port in a Storm for Chris Monckton

crikey reports

Lord Christopher Monckton has slammed Port Adelaide Football Club for its decision to withdraw its venue for his speaking tour and accused activist group GetUp of betraying Australia’s historic principles of free speech.

One of the commenters nails it (IMHO)  How is this a ‘free speech’ issue? A private organisation has made a decision not to allow a bloke to speak at its venue.
Maybe the good Lord (soi-disant) will be a bit more careful throwing around Nazi slurs before going on speaking tours where the venues are … German clubs.  And this is a guy, who can’t even see three weeks ahead in his own wretched life, who wants to tell the world to ignore 97% of climate scientists.  Epic. Fail.

Still, the speaking fees won’t matter, since he has got a cure for HIV.


July 5, 2011

A gish gallop or a genuine set of questions?

Someone has left a comment on a post I did about Christopher Monckton (you know, the sane and rational peer-reviewed scientist who also claims to cure HIV). It’s a long ‘un, full of questions that denialists use, and with unreferenced claims. It may be a denialist indulging in a little extended trolling, or it may not. Sticking with the principle of charity, I’ve gone with the benefit-of-the-doubt option. My bits are in plain, his are in italics.

Thanks for getting in touch, Mr X. Shall we call you Matlock, as per the old cop show on TV?

It is my understanding that satellite thermal data has been left out of the Governments Climate Committee’s computer modelling because it conflicts with the data gathered on the ground.  (i.e. ground data when allegedly collected in carefully selected places show increased global temperatures and satellite thermal data shows a cooling earth.

I had not heard that. Can you provide a link to a newspaper or media account?

 (I think it was Dr David Evans who was a committee member who left to committee because of dishonesty in recording and selecting of data to prove a point.

Again, I’d need to see an media account. If you are going to make strong claims like this, it would be helpful to all if you provided a citation. (And the words “I think” are later replaced in your reply by some level of certainty!) Who is Dr Evans. Why did he quit? What was the response to this Dr Evans’ demands and claims from the Scientific Advisory Panel of the Climate Commission and the other Commissioners? (by the way, I’ve made an unofficial ‘bluffers’ guide’ to the Climate Commission – it’s here.)

I still don’t know what to think about data apparently showing Arctic ice thinning – in the meantime the last two European and North American winters have been particularly cold.

Those are two separate issues. I think the ice thinning is pretty robust science – a mix of satellite data (!) and on0the-ground observations.
To my knowledge the world experts on this are the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in the States.

It’s slightly old (2007) but the book “Field notes from a catastrophe” by Elizabeth Kolbert, has lots of useful information about the Arctic.

On the question of cold European winters, well, that’s not a global phenomenon (as in, it being cold in one place doesn’t disprove global warming), and in any case, with all that extra water vapour in the atmosphere, extra snow and rain is hardly surprising. – This post at Climate Progress may help you. It’s also interesting that you’ve chosen just two (and popular-with-denialist) events from a 2009 and 2010 that was just full of extreme heatwaves etc… (See what the insurance giant Munich Re had to say about 2010.)

Further data shows a slowing of sun spot activity with eminent global cooling.

Again, it would be helpful if you supplied a citation for your claim. Further data from where? Sun spots have certainly had an impact on the Earth’s climate, there’s no doubt, but can’t explain the kinds of temperature increases we’re seeing. See this page at Skeptical Science for further explanation.

Julia Gillard announced yesterday that CO2 levels are the highest they have been for millions of years.

It seems odd to personalise it like this. Julia Gillard doesn’t claim to be a climate scientist. She is reporting the scientific consensus.

I would like to know why they were so high before and why was life on earth not wiped out?  Indeed in the time of the dinosaurs, CO2 levels were much higher and life thrived.  Am I missing something here or what?

The planet was warmer than it is now. The thing is, it’s not about C02 levels being so high as to make it impossible for mammals and reptiles to breath – it’s about the planet having a lot more energy “sloshing around” under a blanket of carbon dioxide. This will mean much higher temperatures than we have now, melted icecaps and glaciers (though of course the North Pole’s melting means zilch for sea levels) and sea level rise, more frequent “extreme events”.
For further information, check out this post on Skeptical Science about “C02 levels were higher in the past.

It is these missing links which fail to prove the argument in the Global Warming argument.  

I don’t think they do (but then, I would say that, wouldn’t I!). I will take you at your word though, and expect that you will read the info above and then – if you’re convinced – become an advocate for reducing human greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the changes “in the pipeline.”
I think if you want the scientific case for climate change, there are various sources that might help you – Royal Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science (Royal Soc equivalent) The list of groups concerned about climate change goes on and on, far beyond the scientific community; The US military, the insurance industry etc.

I am a former police officer and whilst I am not a scientist, gathering of evidence to prove a case – either on the balance of probability or beyond all reasonable doubt is my area of expertise.  

And doubtless as a police officer you often had to consult specific experts (forensics, etc). And you didn’t just go to the guy down the pub, you went to the people with a track record, who could explain (to you and to a jury) what they were talking about. Or am I missing something?

It is on this basis I am not able to accept the argument at there is in fact global warming or any kind of rapid climate change.  One of the things I have also been very suspicious of as a copper was when witnesses were untruthful or failed to tell the entire truth.  

Then by your previous statement, you must be very very suspicious of the denialist lobby, which has constantly re-used fallacious and disproved arguments and “evidence” to meet their needs. Are you aware of the “Global Climate Coalition,” funded by oil companies, that spent the 1990s casting undue doubt on the science of climate change, in exactly the same way tobacco-company funded scientists cast doubt on the link between cigarettes and lung cancer?

This was a way to determine if a witness was a hostile witness and therefore sided with the accused and not to be trusted or was a truthful and honest witness and produced evidence to support their argument or claims and even identified evidence that was not in their favour.   Climate change protagonists have allegedly persistently hidden evidence that did not support their argument or tended to debunk their argument.  

Sorry, the phrase “allegedly persistently” seems odd to me. Could you give some examples? (I suspect you mean the Climategate emails, but I could be wrong). If you DO mean climategate, please read this from Skeptical Science

This is why people such a Dr David Evans left the Government Climate Committee

again, please supply a citation

and Patrick More, a co-founder of Green Peace left that organisation.

Patrick Moore (please note spelling) left Greenpeace (see previous) for various reasons, but climate change was a distant worry back in those days. I’ve just googled – the straw that broke the camel’s back, Moore says, was Greenpeace’s oppostion to chlorine as an additive in water supplies.
Wikipedia says “He has sharply and publicly differed with many policies of major environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, on other issues including forestry, biotechnology, aquaculture, and the use of chemicals for flame retardants.[1]”

The global warming protagonists call us sceptics, rednecks and in general insult us or belittle those of us who do not accept their argument.

My preferred term is denier or denialist, since it captures the denial of well-established science. I think sceptics do something different, something valuable. Scepticism is how science progresses, denialism is one of the things that slows it down. Redneck is a stupid term, full of city-folks’ disdain for rural dwellers, (not that I romanticise rural life – it is hardly perfect itself) and with not a little class hatred in it too.

Since when has science been proven by the biggest insult?

Science is proven by evidence, with results in line with a theory’s predictions, and its ability to explain new findings parsimoniously (Occam’s Razor). Interestingly, a recent commentary on Nature Geosciences points out that climate models are not very good at explaining the likelihood of “tipping points” – the kinds of rapid climate change that you doubt.

I have also taken note of human behaviour in conflict as a police officer and largely, people who have lost the argument, debate or whatever and have little or no evidence to support their claims, resort to insulting the other party.

Several of the regular commenters on this blog made initial contact with salvos of abuse. If you are looking for people “insulting the other party”, well, you might just as easily start there. I have now blocked a couple of those people because they only ever offered personal abuse and false accusations (for example that I had retrospectively changed videos). Are all advocates of climate action saints? No. Am I a saint? Most definitely not. I plead guilty (it’s a fair cop) to flinging back mud. I am trying not too in future though, since I acknowledge the wisdom in the saying “never wrestle with a pig – you both get muddy, but the pig enjoys it.”

This again is evidence that global warming is not well supported by scientific evidence.

No, I’m afraid it’s not. It’s evidence only that humans disagree and often resort to abuse of those who they disagree with.

Assertions about humans not even being able to predict the weather is a prime example.  Yesterday in Adelaide I was supposed to receive a blast of winter with strong winds and up to 30 mm of rain.  I had a few drops (2mm) and some wind, no damage to trees or anything.

Well, I’m glad there was no damage to your trees, but there is a big difference between weather and climate, and our ability to predict the two. You might like to read the following, again from skeptical science.

This claim is based more on an appeal to emotion than fact. The inference is that climate predictions, decades into the future, cannot be possibly right when the weather forecast for the next day has some uncertainty.

In spite of the claim in this myth, short term weather forecasts are highly accurate and have improved dramatically over the last three decades. However, slight errors in initial conditions make a forecast beyond two weeks nearly impossible.

Atmospheric science students are taught “weather is what you get and climate is the weather you expect”. This is why this common skeptical argument doesn’t hold water. Climate models are not predicting day to day weather systems. Instead, they are predicting climate averages.


I hope this has helped you? I see that you’ve subscribed to the blog, so there’s no doubt you’ll be seeing this reply, which has taken a considerable amount of my limited time.