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« Real sceptics | Main | Josh 77 »
Monday
Feb142011

Beddington on warpath

The sight of a government chief scientific officer on the warpath is not a pretty one. Sir John Beddington, for it is he, is all a-quiver, enraged with the antics of pseudoscientists of all complexions:

We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of racism. We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of people who [are] anti-homosexuality... We are not—and I genuinely think we should think about how we do this—grossly intolerant of pseudo-science, the building up of what purports to be science by the cherry-picking of the facts and the failure to use scientific evidence and the failure to use scientific method."

"One way is to be completely intolerant of this nonsense," he said. "That we don't kind of shrug it off. We don't say: ‘oh, it's the media’ or ‘oh they would say that wouldn’t they?’ I think we really need, as a scientific community—and this is a very important scientific community—to think about how we do it."

Now, we sceptics have been mightily concerned about cherrypicking. Indeed, we raised the issue with several of the Climategate inquiries. Of the investigations into Jones et al, it was the Oxburgh inquiry, that of course had the most reason to investigate the question of cherrypicking at the Climatic Research Unit: who can forget the selection of proxy series for Osborn and Briffa, for example? That was certainly one that raised a few eyebrows.

But as we know, Lord Oxburgh and his panel decided not to look at this paper and their report is silent on the question of cherrypicking.

And how did Sir John Beddington react? I'm sure readers here remember that he wrote to Lord Oxburgh telling him that he had "played a blinder". Perhaps being inside a university gives you some kind of immunity from Sir John's wrath.

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Reader Comments (127)

Alas, we have a similarly stunted Chief Scientist here in Australia.
It always seems to be a political appointment, of course...

Feb 15, 2011 at 6:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

Pot...Kettle?

Feb 15, 2011 at 7:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

the failure to use scientific evidence and the failure to use scientific method

He is clearly having a go at climate science. What a splendid fella. I must write to him telling him I agree with his criticism of climate science and ask him what he is going to do about it.

Feb 15, 2011 at 7:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Even the guardian's Leo Hickman is getting a bit nervous about some of the ant-sceptic rhetoric being used.

Maybe the Professor should calm down a bit..

Guardian:The need for caution when 'calling out the climate cranks'
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/feb/14/climate-cranks-caution-sceptics-protest

According to environmental activists planning a day of protests across the US tomorrow, "climate crank" is set to be the latest name added to the growing list – self-appointed, or otherwise – which already includes sceptic, denier, contrarian, realist, dissenter, flat-earther, misinformer, and confusionist. But, for the protest organisers, the term "crank" more accurately describes this grouping:

For years, climate "sceptics" have denied the near-unanimous scientific consensus around global warming in an effort to delay action. They're not "sceptics" - they're cranks, and it's time to unmask those who are holding our nation's climate policy hostage. We're taking action to call out the climate cranks, shift the climate debate in Washington and, yeah, we are looking to make news.

Feb 15, 2011 at 7:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

But where is, and who draws, the boundary between obvious scientific nonsense, and unpopular, Un PC but legitimate scientific scepticism and questioning?

The idea that someone in 'authority' decides what we should, and should not, be tolerant about horrifies me. Especially when the sources of authority are the ennobled scientific establishment, Academies etc. Or God help us, journalists and campaigners!

One can take this too far. In the laudable desire not to fool the public with hokum, if we not careful and we go down this path, a too authoritarian "this is what is approved of" attitude to science will strangle the very essence of scientific inquiry - that is of asking an awkward question - raising an unpopular idea without the fear of a descending heel of righteous "we know better" attitude.

Feb 15, 2011 at 7:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Whitehouse

Beddington all talks about

"properly trained, properly assessed" scientists.
Does anyone know what he means by "properly assessed"?

Now in industry we used to have continuing professional development and continuing training and regular assessmnets and regular updating of expertise and who is SQEP (suitably qualified and experienced person) for certain topics. Does anyone know if this sort of thing goes on in academia or gov't NGOs? This process of SQEP would have prevented papers such as the hockey stick or Steig et al 09 from seeing the light of day, because the papers would have needed to have had, as a minimum, a SQEP statistician as a joint author and a SQEP statistician as a reviewer.

Feb 15, 2011 at 7:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

James Delingpole is being quite restrained..

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100076055/climate-scepticism-not-just-the-new-paedophilia-but-the-new-racism-and-homophobia-too/


Imagine all those aromopherapists, raikki practioners, Gillian Mcgrath, etc... all to be treated in the same manner as racists and homophobics...

That was what the Professor was talking about wasn't it ? ;)

Feb 15, 2011 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

The rhetoric gets more and more extreme as the hypothesis gets less and less believable, and public scepticism rises.

Feb 15, 2011 at 8:17 AM | Unregistered Commentermichel

@Barry Woods

Nice link. For once 60 comments that encapsulate much of the thinking of the CAGW proponents.

Know you enemy is important, but they just bring out the tired old thinking:

1) Ignorance of the facts (the majority probably fall into this category)
2) Insufficient IQ and/or gullibility (Sun readers etc)
3) Having a vested interest in denying the science (eg Palin, Koch brothers, Delingpole&Booker etc)

or even...


There's already a term that describes most of these people: creationists.
...
Now I realise that not all Deniers are creationists but the vast majority of them are.

They are the ones in denial... they do not know their enemy.

And dear Leo just cannot square the circle. Transposing to Communist times, as a good Communist he would have been first up against the wall. This is a game of politics and greed and I do not think he has quite worked it out the rules of the game. Asking questions? Not a good idea.

Feb 15, 2011 at 8:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Projection of the faults of your 'side' on to your critics is a risky business. If the media were to pick up on his talk of cherry-picking data for example, and the failure to use 'scientific method', and then go look for examples, quite a few geographers, computer modellers, and scientists, not to mention the all but countless politicians and executives of fund-raising corporations, will lie less easy in their beds. But I guess these may be dark and desperate days for the 'OMG CO2' theologians and their acolytes, evangelists and missionaries across the world.

Feb 15, 2011 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Sir John is begging the crowd to bring him to the gallows.

At this time I face the dilemma of Sir John being a danger to himself and Sir John being a danger to others.

What to do?

Feb 15, 2011 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul in Sweden

So maybe the BBC got the same memo last week.

Feb 15, 2011 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterSean Houlihane

In time, government will realise that biologists like Beddington and Nurse, geologists like Oxburgh and technician-level 'environmental scientists' like Jones haven't the physics to understand how badly Lacis and Hansen, Sagan's ex-students who do have the physics, cocked up climate science then apparently tried to hide it to keep AR4 and Copenhagen on track.

Feb 15, 2011 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander

'We are not..... grossly intolerant of pseudo-science....'
Well, actually, Sir John - we on this side of the argument are PRECISELY that - grossly intolerant of pseudo-science....

Feb 15, 2011 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

The good professor's main area of study is Population Biology. Yes, he's another one who thinks there are too many people about, which is why Climate Change is a usefull tool particularly for denying developing countries the kind of infrastructure we (used to) take for granted, 'If they get enough energy they'll breed too much and there wont be enough food and they'll all come over here' seems to be the gist of his message. He phrases it as 'climate refugees' of course, but the meaning comes through.

Of course he has no conception of the idea that humans are the great resource and that we thrive because we have the energy available to give us plenty of spare time to study the world and come up with all sorts of solutions to all sorts of problems.

Incidentally, is anyone else uncomfortable with the fact that the cheif scientist advising our government thinks there are too many of us? And why does no intrepid journalist ask the good prof what he recommends we should do about this 'problem'?

Feb 15, 2011 at 9:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevin B

John Shade

“Projection of the faults of your 'side' on to your critics is a risky business.”

Indeed! There is a delicious passage in an iq2u.s. debate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reV7bVhhcto 2:23 to 2:47) when Emeritus Professor Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography tries to bolster the “consensus is correct” position on catastrophic warming. He argues that when the theory of Continental Drift was becoming accepted as a consensus view, there were a few heretical scientists who refused to accept it and they were wrong. In fact, the story of Continental Drift is that one man, Alfred Wegener, proposed the theory and was laughed at and ridiculed for many years by the consensus. Continental Drift is now accepted by the consensus while poor Wegener is buried in Greenland. The lesson from the history of the theory of Continental Drift is the exact reverse of the point that Somerville wished to make!

Feb 15, 2011 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

Andrew Montford says "Now, we sceptics have been mightily concerned about cherrypicking."

Oh good. Does that mean you're actually going to start applying genuine scepticism to your own website? Every few days (at the very least) one sees ridiculously cherry-picked things appearing on this website, almost all go completely unchallenged. There is also almost no scepticism applied. References to nonsense like the Oregon petition or 'we are no longer warming' are left without censure almost every single time.

Being sceptical about just one side of a discussion is not being sceptical. It's making up your mind and attacking something under the guise of the sceptical method.

Feb 15, 2011 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

bit OT: alongside beddingtons call to arms there is an interesting debate (see comments) in the grandunin about how best to insult (name) sceptics:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/feb/14/climate-cranks-caution-sceptics-protest

Feb 15, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered Commentermark

When government officials feel they have the right to start declaring publicly that certain groups in society should not be tolerated, things can go bad very quickly.

Feb 15, 2011 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Sir John has well and truly skewered himself there, there is no more blatent piece of cherrypicking than to accept those investigations at face value. There really does seem to be a panic on in the Green Halls of warmism, they are thrashing about on all fronts. Even Zed's been sent out to troll again.

Feb 15, 2011 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

"Even Zed's been sent out to troll again."
Feb 15, 2011 at 9:49 AM | Cumbrian Lad

Good old evidence-free paranoid accusations. Par for the course here.

For the record, I come here of my own accord, and I'm not affiliated to anyone.

I there is a recurring theme of people accusing me of 'trolling' whenever I make a valid point or expose the hypocrisy here.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

The whole point surely is that if the ecosociopaths were right, cherry picking wouldn't be possible. You don't get people cherry-picking the physics of flight to prove that flight is impossible. It can't be done.

If it can be done, then the model being cherry-picked is incomplete, and potentially inaccurate.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

I feel sorry for those who, like the Grand Old Duke of York's 10,000 men, were marched up to the top of the high-feedback CO2-AGW hill and made careers on the back of it, but now face being marched down again because a key part of the science is incorrect and this was probably know by a few insiders before AR4 was published**.

**'Cloud albedo effect' cooling, 1.75 times raw median AGW in AR4 is imaginary, no experimental evidence, the theory easily proved wrong. So, the IPCC's claim of 3K climate sensitivity is baseless and because when you correct the physics, the 'cooling' may become heating, unless otherwise demonstrated, net CO2-AGW could well be zero***.

***Notice the net; because there may be another AGW than from CO2, Miskolczi could be right****.

****This is the scientific method in action - in time it identifies the cheats.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander

"ecosociopaths"
Feb 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM | Justice4Rinka

What a perfectly charming piece of name calling. You must be a very rational person, the very model of sang froid.

You also don't seem to have the first idea about cherry-picking. To use your own very poor example. If one cherry picked the lift provided before the plane reaches take-off speed, then you could say that planes can't provide enough lift to become airborne. Also, a very accurate metaphor indeed, would be to say that the history of plane accidents dents the credibility of plane travel sufficiently that it's clearly too dangerous, and hasn't so far been proved safe. No matter how many successful flights there are all over the world, commercial interests and accidents prove this 'flight theory' to be bunkum.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed


You have to pick cherries if you want to make cherry pie

Rosanne D'Arrigo

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

OT here is a reply to my complaint.

Thanks for your correspondence regarding ‘Horizon: Science Under Attack’ , broadcast on BBC Two on 24 January.

I understand that you feel this edition of the programme was biased in favour of the theory of man-made climate change.

Your concerns were raised with the producer of the programme – Emma Jay who replies as follows:

“I’m sorry you felt the film was biased. In reply can I first set out a little of the background to the film and how we approached the subject.

The purpose of this film was to examine public trust in science generally - not just in the area of climate change - reflecting both the role of scientists and the influence of the media, the internet and bloggers. There does seem to have erosion in public trust in some key areas of science - judging by some opinion poll data - and we thought this was an interesting and important area to look at.

We asked Paul Nurse to present the film. The reason for this is not just that he is the new President of the Royal Society and a Nobel Prize winner, but because he is very interested in how science and society should relate in the 21st Century.

It is this dynamic - how society and science connect, and how that is influenced by the media, both old and new, that formed the central argument of the film.

In the course of the programme Paul Nurse argued that scientists need to focus on the science and keep politics and ideologies out of the way; that scientists need to be more open in the way they do their science, and be more willing to communicate the uncertainties that are sometimes inherent in their work.

A substantial part of the film did use the example of climate science to look at this dynamic between science and society, and at the question of public trust. But I don’t accept that the film was biased in its representation of the state of the scientific debate about anthropogenic global warming. The overwhelming majority of scientists and scientific institutions accept the link; in scientific terms it is not controversial and the programme’s approach reflected that.

I fully acknowledge that, even now, not everyone accepts this view and that there is still a continuing political debate. That is why the programme included Professor Fred Singer’s views on the primacy of solar activity and James Delingpole’s views on ‘Climategate’, the perils of scientific consensus, and how peer review in science was being challenged by peer-to-peer review. These were significant parts of the film.

I hope I have been able to go some way towards addressing your concerns.

We’re guided by the feedback that we receive and to that end I'd like to assure you that I've registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, programme makers, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

Mark Roberts
BBC Complaints

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered Commentercmdocker

Zed - of course there are examples of bad science on the sceptics side of the argument and you will see sceptics challenge that, especially on WUWT.

BUT, as on my comment to a recent post, the problem you have is simply that even on your own figures - it isn't actually happening.

You can argue your theories until the cows come home, but until real data (unfiddled by cherry picking and unsupportable statistical manipulation) comes close to predictions, you don't have a leg to stand on.

I may be boring you but here are those two graphs again. Second one is data provided by Phil Jones.

http://joannenova.com.au/2011/01/the-warmest-year-antidotes/

When 25% of all the CO2 ever released by man fails to increase world temps at all, you do need to examine your believe system.

Reading between the lines of the news away from climate blogs, many countries have seen the light already.

My advice would be to increase your scepticism (not denial) and work on an exit strategy - you are going to need one.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

Heaven forbid that I should be accused of cherry-picking, but here is a randomly selected talk by Beddington about food shortages, population growth, energy supply and climate change.

http://www.govnet.co.uk/news/govnet/professor-sir-john-beddingtons-speech-at-sduk-09

A very telling article.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Sir John Beddington was saying the opposite just a year ago.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7003622.ece

This is what Sir John was saying about the errors in IPCC science;

"Certain unqualified statements have been unfortunate. We have a problem in communicating uncertainty. There’s definitely an issue there. If there wasn’t, there wouldn’t be the level of scepticism. All of these predictions have to be caveated by saying, ‘There’s a level of uncertainty about that’."

Unfortunate - grossly intolerant - unfortunate - grossly intolerant - unfortunate - grossly intolerant.

It looks like Sir John is cherry-picking his arguements and his excuses.

When you consider Sir John's background in Population Biology, which is plagued by controversy and accusations of fraud and cherry-picking (flawed models, eugenics, neo-malthusianism, etc) the phrase "the pot calling the kettle black" comes to mind.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Cumbrian Lad

Must be the school holidays!

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

"Cumbrian Lad
Must be the school holidays!"
Feb 15, 2011 at 10:23 AM | Lord Beaverbrook

This website really is all about abuse isn't it. Don't like someone's comment? Just call them a child.

Lovely people.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

Barry Woods: thanks very much for the pointer to Leo Hickman on 'climate cranks'. A new week, a new insult. But once even Leo is urging caution it's surely only a matter of time.

simpleseekeraftertruth: also thanks, for the reminder of Prof 'Vicar of Bray' Beddington sounding the bugle in almost the opposite direction 13 months ago to where he burped it to 300 civil servants on 3rd of this month.

There are some truly fascinating counter-flows at the moment. I don't think 'groupthink' can do justice to what we are seeing. Someone has been trying to put screws on those who have shown 'weakness' in the past but it just isn't working out, it all goes off half cock.

ZDB: I take your word that you've not been sent by anyone. I also accept that there is cherry picking, in the broadest sense, on blogs like this. But risk management wise, it doesn't really bother me. The so-called science on which grievous policy decisions are being based - cherry picking in that, in places like the IPCC, is a first order problem. Clear all that out and then we can be a lot more picky with our sometimes unruly companions on a free-for-all like this. There's enough good stuff and genuine insight in the scientific challenges to make the journey worthwhile, as the thread with 'Neil' last night and today demonstrates.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

ZBD

I was thinking more along the lines of a teacher, but I suppose it's how you interpret the data according to your beliefs!

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

"ZBD
I was thinking more along the lines of a teacher, but I suppose it's how you interpret the data according to your beliefs!"
Feb 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM | Lord Beaverbrook

I'm not sure that is what you meant originally, but must hand you a touche for your response.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

@ Mike - yes, the example of continental drift is a good one. But it seems that there are still some problems with the theory - here's a summary of the contrarian view - http://davidpratt.info/sunken.htm

What puzzles me is that there is hard evidence of mesolithic footprints (and the remains of 8000 year old tree stumps) on the shores of the Severn Estuary, well below the current sea level (they are only exposed at low tides), and also a more recent discovery of a mesolithic (8000 year old) boat yard 10m down in the Solway Firth. Okay, so sea levels have risen since the end of the last ice age, but if that's the case why were the sea levels in northern Greenland 5-10m higher 7000 years ago than they are now, (and 5-10m higher when they were 10m lower around the British Isles)?

http://www.ngu.no/en-gb/Aktuelt/2008/Less-ice-in-the-Arctic-Ocean-6000-7000-years-ago/ (raised beaches with carbon-dated driftwood) .

I don't believe that isostatic rebound alone can account for the difference - it was warmer 8000 years ago and surely most of the thicker pre-holocene ice around Greenland would have been supported by the Arctic Ocean, not the land.

I am not advocating Hapgood's theory (but you never know, there may be something in it) but I do suspect that the tectonic plates go up and down as much as they move about. And the Falkland Island's continental shelf (and others) are difficult to explain with plate tectonics. The science is never settled, and there seems to be a distinct lack of critical thinking in various scientific disciplines.

OT - I see Radio Scotland actually ran with a balanced report on wind farms and their lack of productivity - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-12447668 - interviewees include Struan Stevenson and Helen McDade (JMT).

I see that Zebedee has bounced in. I am off to do some work.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

It is an observed phenomenon that speakers will modify their message for various different audiences. Sir John Beddington is quoted from his address to 300 'civil service science workers', whatever they are, which is rather different to his addresses to Parliament or to a wider public. What makes him so sure that civil service science workers are as 'on message' regarding homophobia etc as he seems to assume. As a highly-ranked scientist (I have been unable to ascertain why) he must have decided that he could be honest with lesser 'scientific' bretheren; if that is the case the man is being very political and not at all scientific. His remarks have a certain resonance and similarity with those of a small Austrian with a Chapliesque moustache during the 1930s.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

What an amusingly testy response, ZDB! In the course of which you contrived to miss the point.

So you don't agree with the physics of flight. Why, then, are there not more cherry pickers like you, asserting that planes can't possibly fly?

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

I presume by linking science to homophobia, he was really criticising Lord May, who once expressed the following view in professing his Malthusianism:

'Even though abundantly supplied with food and places to live, overcrowded rat communities provide a spectacle of social chaos, with, inter alia, complete disruption of maternal behaviour, sexual deviations including homosexuality, hyperactive and totally withdrawn individuals: in short, all the forms of aberrant behaviour one finds in say, New York City.'

Robert M. May (1971) ‘The Environmental Crisis: A Survey.’ Search 2: 122-131; p124.

It's only taken Beddington 40 years to attack such homophobia, but better late than never, I guess.!

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

"So you don't agree with the physics of flight. Why, then, are there not more cherry pickers like you, asserting that planes can't possibly fly?"
Feb 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM | Justice4Rinka

Err,no, I hit the point bang on. Is your response serious? Do you really think I'm saying that flight is impossible? I'm not sure you've read and understood my whole comment.

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

PB interesting comments by Sir John at SDUK 09.

I quote, "You are talking about serious problems in tropical glaciers – the Chinese government has recognised this and has actually announced about 10 days ago that it is going to build 59 new reservoirs to take the glacial melt in the Xinjiang province. 59 reservoirs. It is actually contemplating putting many of them underground. This is a recognition that water, which has hitherto been stored in glaciers, is going to be very scarce."

Now the glaciers that Sir John is talking about form part of the Himalayan belt of tropical glaciers. This was Sir John talking of IPCC science and that impact that climate change is having on government policies. There is no talk of uncertainty here, we have a definite response, "water, which has hitherto been stored in glaciers, is going to be very scarce." Can't get anymore definite than that.

As it transpired this was one of the worst pieces of pseudo-science imaginable. Badly flawed science, non science to be precise, that inspired a news story that inspired a report by an environmental group that eventually found its way into IPCC reports.

The question is - why is Sir John tolerant of this piece of pseudo-science but expresses intolerance of those who question this and other controversial aspects of climate science and seek to expose it and have it explained?

Not exactly the behaviour you expect from a chief science officer is it?

Feb 15, 2011 at 10:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

@ alexander

What's a bit odd about Beddington, but characteristic of the left, is that he assumes his own political views to be logically arrived at and impeccably supported by (pseudo-)scientific evidence. By implication, nobody who disagrees with him is allowed to claim the same.

The logical flaw in this religious belief system is the fact that you can, of course, choose the "science" you like, and then abuse it to support the a priori<./i> position your prejudices had instructed you to hold. Just like the CofE used to be the Tory party at prayer, climate science is simply leftism's current choice of what lab to wear a white coat in. Lefties like climate geomancy because its very sloppiness, subjectivity, anthropocentrism and vagueness allow them to claim it supports their existing prejudices.

Other agendas can equally served by cod science. Statistics is useful to those who want to prove the criminality, stupidity etc of various races. The left is quick to dismiss The Bell Curve for this reason, but doesn't seem to have noticed that climate science is a whole public sector industry based around the left's equivalent bit of flimflam.

I find vintage science fiction of the H G Wells variety interesting because of the weird blend of Utopianism and sociopathy it combines. Wells was very keen on a technocratic dictatorship led by people like himself, which would implement a compassionate welfare state made affordable by eugenics. That is, the state would murder all the weaklings it couldn't afford to feed. In fact, quite a few early socialists were pretty clear that this was the only way a welfare state would be long-term affordable.

This goes a long way to explaining why it was such a short step from socialism to fascism for people like Oswald Mosley and Mussolini. It also says a lot about what's happening today. Then as now, invoking science, equating people who disagree with you with paedophiles, and what not, are all evidence that debate will not be tolerated.

It is disturbing, the extent to which we've made no progress in 100-odd years - although arguably the rest of us have, and it's simply the left which has made no progress, still going about its agenda in the same old, same old way. The left is constantly having to build new Trojan horses to hide in; I really can't think of any examples of thr right doing the same.

Feb 15, 2011 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Scientists who would not have gotten any sanction under Beddington's philosophy.


James Logie-Baird - Television.
S. Chandrasekhar - Black Holes.
Sir Richard Doll - Smoking and Cancer.
Ernst Doppler - The Doppler Effect.
Galvani - Bioelectricity.
William Harvey - Blood Circulation.
Galileo - Copernicanism.
Copernicus - Geocentrism.
Robert Goddard - Rockets.
B Marshall - Ulcers caused by bacteria.
Barbara McClintock - Transposons.
J. Newlands - pre-Mendeleev Periodic Table.
George Ohm - Electrical Resistance.
Louis Pasteur - Germ theory of disease.
Stanley Prusiner - Prions.

Feb 15, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Whitehouse

Good post Rinka.

We are dealing with sociopathic Malthusians whose energy policies are designed to create a new serfdom with them and their families on top, the Quango-Fabian State, the new aristocracy, and the Mafia getting control of energy.

They thought they had it made with AR4 but didn't expect the ClimateGate insider, disgusted at the usurpation of science by third rate intellects like J***s and M**n, leaking the truth.

But I doubt he realised the real truth which is that because of a 36 year physics' mistake, the last 6 being a cover-up by a few insiders, the CAGW threat never existed!

I feel very sorry for apologists like Beddington and the grunts who have filled climate science and wont get a job when the grants run out, but someone had to home in on the Big Lie and pull down this latest Temple to Quack Science.

What you have to remember though is that if the new Lysenkoism does win, and it still could because too many politicians have substantial investments and/or family members employed by the new energy system, we could end with new UN courts and show trials for dissenters. I doubt they'll be executed like Mendelian geneticists in Soviet Russia, but they could have their careers destroyed.

It'll be very interesting when the principals of the fraud are arraigned before Congress. Here, they are protected by fellow travellers and fronts for the Mafia.

Feb 15, 2011 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander

Why is it that climate change seems to be the ONLY area in science where senior scientists have to defend themselves by chastising the sceptics, as opposed to simply defending their position with cold hard facts based upon real-world evidence?

I’m familiar with sceptics who push theories for creationism and the moon landing hoax but am always amazed at how easily their arguments can be countered by a simple presentation of the facts in a calm and clear manner. So why can’t climate scientists simply present their real-world evidence for CAGW theory (e.g. data showing the tropospheric ‘hot spot’ or measurements that show CO2 sensitivity >1C) and let people decide for themselves? Why is it that none of the pro-CAGW documentaries or enquiries ever seem to start by stating the basic facts (knows and unknowns), as presented so clearly by the IPCC in their AR4 WG1 reports?

Having followed this sorry story for many years, I think I know why. Listening to the likes of Beddington, Nurse, Cox, etc, I can only conclude that they are either ignorant of the evidence or are being “economical with the truth” in order to maintain the façade of Establishment orthodoxy. Either way, this is not true science and therefore undermines CAGW theory accordingly.

Feb 15, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Zed

"I'm not affiliated to anyone"

Not even George Monbiot's CACC-handers?

Feb 15, 2011 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I am sure that Beddington sleeps easily, knowing that he has Bob Ward supporting him.

Feb 15, 2011 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

“the building up of what purports to be science by the cherry-picking of the facts and the failure to use scientific evidence and the failure to use scientific method”

He could be describing the Hockey-stick!

Given the chequered history of scientific discovery (and medicine, which is even worse) it seems a risky strategy to demonise anyone with independent thoughts.

As Carl Sagan said: ”Arguments from authority simply do not count; too many authorities have been wrong too often.”

Feb 15, 2011 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

@ golf charley

Yep.

Certain issues over the last 30 years have unerringly identified their adherents as credulous, naive, groupthinking, feckless buffoons. CND in the 80s would be one example; the supposed "new economy" in the 1990s; CAGW in the decade just passed. In all three cases, all you needed to do was identify who was in favour of them, and that in itself told you that they were a bit of flimflam got up by liars and mountebanks.

This has been most obvious with CAGW, when you look at who's bought into it:

The Mafia.
Cyber-criminals.
Prince Charles.
Enron.
Osama bin-Laden.
Bob Ward.
Chris Evans.
Greenpeace.
The Guardian.
The BBC.
Bono (probably).
Billy Bragg.

When you have a rabble of riff-raff like that completely bought into something, it tells you everything. It is very likely the same rabble as supported CND. One ignores at one's peril.

Feb 15, 2011 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

This is not just science, this is IPCC science (with a cherry on top).

Apologies to M&S.

Feb 15, 2011 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

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