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« Science policy to the left of me | Main | Crunch time »

A right royal dogmatist

Ed Davey is to speak to a Royal Society seminar today on the subject of climate change. Apparently he will argue that

the science of climate change is "irrefutable" and man is making a "significant" contribution to rising global temperatures.

Irrefutable eh? That doesn't sound like science to me. That sounds like religion.

Funny old place the Royal Society.

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Reader Comments (49)

Ed Davey is a total ignoramus when it comes to science or engineering (presumably the civil servants at DECC love it when they have someone in charge who doesn't know what is going on - they must have been jumping for joy when Miliband was in charge and then the criminal Huhne and now Davey). Why would the RS entertain such an idiot who is sleep-warming our electricity system into ruin?

Feb 12, 2013 at 9:36 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

We all know how expert those at the Royal Society are. Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1895, @Heavier than air flying machines are impossible!" Nuff said me thinks! Perhaps the rot had set in all that way back?

Feb 12, 2013 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Is there no conceivable phenomenon which could refute climate "science"? It certainly has seemed like that for a while. Unlike Mr Davey I do not see that as a strength but as a lack of explanatory content.

Feb 12, 2013 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

As our energy production becomes unsustainable we have at least 3 people who are responsible:

Chris Huhne, Ed Davey and Ed Miliband

In the next few years as the cost of our energy rockets, we should place the blame firmly on their shoulders.

Feb 12, 2013 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

Davey stood on the burning DECC
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.

Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though child-like form.

The windmills–he would not go
Without the Hedegaard word;
That EU father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.

He called aloud–'say, EU, say
If yet my task is done?'
He knew not that the carbon traders lay
Unconscious of their son.

Feb 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

What else would you expected from a guy with a PPE degree from Oxford and no work experience.

- A lot of politics and no understanding of science or life.

Far too many of this type hanging around Westminster

Feb 12, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterEdwin Crockford

I have to defend Lord Kelvin a little. Towards the end he suffered from lack of imagination that hits many ageing professionals*, his contribution to science in his younger day was phenomenal and he's quite rightly remembered for those. Also, although he thought it was impossible, he politick to get his view accepted and flyers banned, it was just his opinion.

Remember Arthur C Clarke's 1st Law: "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

Feb 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Bishop - there is an ecclesiastical vacancy just arisen you may be interested in. It might give you more clout in resisting climate alarmism ....

Feb 12, 2013 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterKen

No, he'd have to sit in the "special chair" for spherical verification. Who'd want that....

Feb 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered Commenterceetee

We all know how expert those at the Royal Society are. Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1895, "Heavier than air flying machines are impossible!" Nuff said me thinks! Perhaps the rot had set in all that way back?

Partly in light of the fact that many, if not most, of the founding members of the Royal Society believed in astrology (including some bloke called Newton - what did he know?) and given that Ed Davey is not a member of the society, I'd defend Lord Kelvin as a scientist a very great deal. As an engineer, his contribution to the development of telegraphy was also remarkable. When I've achieved a hundredth of what he did, I'll reserve the right to make the odd mistake.

Always assuming the Bishop's quote is accurate (he hints at caution), what would be of interest is whether anyone at the seminar questions Davey's statement. It is not "wrong", it is meaningless. Drivel.

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

You can bet any money that Davey has never once been exposed to any of the serious arguments against CAGW.

I can understand that the DECC is determined that its minister should not be allowed to know that there are such serious and thought-through positions. But what I find consistently staggering is that any government minister, to say nothing of Cameron himself, should be prepared to take such drastic and prodigiously expensive steps without making at least a token effort to learn something of the opposing arguments preferring instead to dismiss them airily as the work of demented right-wingers and/or drooling, swivel-eyed lunatics.

It is very, very depressing.

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

wiki: Edward Jonathan "Ed" Davey MP FRSA

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, but no mention of science or engineering! And I did see a PPE degree mentioned!

"the science of climate change is "irrefutable" and man is making a "significant" contribution to rising global temperatures."

The Philosophy, Politics (with added influence) and Economics (with added grants) is "irrefutable", but not the Science, please!

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:28 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

A politician who tells lies is, irrefutably, a corrupt liar who can never be aitomatically trusted to be telliing the truth on any other subject. The same applies to the party they are in if it does not dissociate themselves from the lie.

Thus Mr Davy and the LibDems are irrefutably corrupt liars.

The problem is that such corruption is so endemic in the LabNatConDem cartel that we forget this is a basic principle

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

No mr Davey. The wind folly Array that you just forced through at Heckington Fen against strong local objection will not make any noticeable difference to the matters you claim require sacrifice. And your alarmist claims do not excuse your decision.
But you are right to play down the roll of politicians, because it's as clear as day that you will not be making the sacrifices you expect of others.

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

[Snip - venting]

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

When climate change advocates use the term science these days two things should be kept in mind. The first is that Constructivism has swept hard science teaching all over the world. Because that has been noticed and some tacky people have traced it back to the USSR and the idea that power trumps reality, Constructivism about 2005 got a new name--Modelling. Sound familiar? And the theories are designed to be influential and drive future public policy to affect future personal and economic behavior.

Second science usually actually refers now to the social sciences: psychology, systems thinking, sociology, cultural anthropology, economic modelling, and especially pedagogy to squelch that skepticism of an impending catastrophe while first teaching the alphabet. UNESCO has been pushing the idea of a single Unified Science since at least 1970.

It's no accident that both the International Council of Science and the International Social Science Council were involved with the Earth Science Partnership that folded up shop as of December 31, 2012 when the Future Earth Alliance took the torch.

And the science is irrefutable in much the same way as Uncle Karl and Cousin Vladimer's political theories were not to be held up to scrutiny as people starved. And human nature was not as malleable when environments changed as the models, I mean theories, had claimed.

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:39 AM | Registered Commenteresquirerobin

"Thus Mr Davy and the LibDems are irrefutably corrupt liars"

Indeed. As you may have seen on the news last night, despite several direct questions, the Cleg refused to condemn the lying Huhne - some waffle about it being wrong to pre-empt the court's decision. The f-wit - Huhne has confessed!

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:42 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

We should insist upon Westminster and Islington being the preferred locations for electricity blackouts.

After all, it cannot happen anyway
After all, they have it all under control the wizzards
After all, free wind is in such abundance they have it all covered with scientists so this is impossible anyway

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Looks to me that the Royal Society has at times in itś past been a political beast as much a scientific or a scholarly one, and been used as an appendage and instument of the political aims of the rulers and appartschiks in Britain. An intresting case history is how the society under it's once president for life Isac Newton ( probably partly rooted in his animosity to Wilhem Leibniz) was a party together with some parts of the british governig system to hold back the developement / deployment of the steam driven ship traffic for few decades or maybe a full century, can be found here :

Note that I do not know for how accurate this story is , it is as far as i can garner, a scan/reprint of a printed magazine article from around 1980, so I take it with a grain of salt as the site it comes from looks somwhat spooky., It is however an intresting story , and I have not spotted any glaring readjustments of historical facta, but my verification efforts have not very thourough either.

Feb 12, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBjörn

"Some scientists are already lying to support the development of the green economy. What more does he want?"

He wants all of them to lie. They'll do anything for a grant.

Feb 12, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

Do these idiots EVER look at the facts - rather than computer models..?
(Reality check - wind today providing 2.1% of UK electricity demand...)

Feb 12, 2013 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

"That is simply NOT possible; anybody suggesting such a thing simply does not have any understanding of the situation" said Mr Davey emphatically when asked about the risk of power cuts due to the current Gov power and climate strategies.

Pleased with himself at the time, it was odd that when he got home that evening, and saw the bin full of defrosting lasagnes, that it should come back to mind.

Feb 12, 2013 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Coincidence. I’ve just used the word irrefutable in an email to the Government Chief Scientific Adviser. Extract: “They [the IPCC] then have the sheer audacity to describe the dire predictions of their incomplete models as true probabilities, e.g. “very likely, 90% probable”. This inevitably results in every politician in the land quoting these flawed predictions as irrefutable truths”.

I hope I don’t get fobbed off in the usual way by an appeal to the authority of the IPCC.

Feb 12, 2013 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered Commenternimnod29

What Ed Davey needs is a placement in a ConDem slave labour camp. Preferably a Poundland branch in a Glasgow housing scheme where he can go under the name of Iain Duncan Smith, wear an 'I love ATOS' badge and his fellow 'employees' can kick some sense into him. Forty unpaid hours a week.

He should have a clearer idea of Newton's second and third laws of of motion if he makes it to the end. He can learn climate science by erecting wind turbines in Kinross for free and paying his electricity bill as a job seeker.

Another ugly Tory in sheep's clothing.

Feb 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I can see nothing on the Royal Society website about such a seminar/symposium - can anyone else?

The Business Green site links to AVOID, a piece of activist scaremongering from our friends at the Met Office, with help from the other 'usual suspects', Tyndall and Grantham.

The full speech is here. Note the favourite dishonest trick of the false analogy of smoking.

Feb 12, 2013 at 12:58 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

As a boy engineer, I worked for a couple of years for the CEGB (no, not as us wits at the time christened it, the 'Church of England Gas Board' - but in reality the Central Electricity Generating Board).
Power cuts, 'brown-outs' or any other government-created risks were never even on the agenda...
How we've advanced in forty years....

Feb 12, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

'Mr Davey issuing fresh assurances' has me metaphorically counting the spoons...
(Oh - and as posted elsewhere - dusting off my standby generator..)

Feb 12, 2013 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

" on scientists and researchers..."

The dismal in search of the grantable.

Feb 12, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Ed Davey, has to ask his mother's permission so that he can tie up his shoelaces in the morning, there isn't one original cogent thought going on in his head and he's always told what to say - a man made mouthpiece is all.

The RS? Indeed, we should call them by their proper title and know them as; the Alarmist Darby and Joan club.

Feb 12, 2013 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

By definition science must be refutable. That is part of the idea of science, that the conditions are set up to refute the hypothesis, and if as yet it has not been refuted then the hypothesis still stands. If concerted attempts support rather than refute the hypothesis it might be advanced to become a theory. If it is refuted it must be revised and the whole process begin again, or must be deemed incorrect. If insufficient attempts are made to refute and there is no new evidence either way it languishes as an hypothesis.

Feb 12, 2013 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoubting Rich

02073964444 is an interesting telephone number.

It is not the number for a massage parlour .It is in fact the number for Channel Four viewer enquirers.
I have just phoned it and done some inquiring.

Tonight there is a Channel four documentary called "The Year Britain Flooded.The review said that 2012 was the wettest in British history since records began.So i phoned it and asked Channel Four when exactly did the record actually begin.Couple of answers.

1659 temperature record but for only the Midlands and South Wales

1766 is earliest UK wide recorded weather record.

But the MET office Rainfall Data only goes back to 1914.

So how much did it in rain in Britain in 1913 then.

Feb 12, 2013 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

This sort of non-scientific nonsense is inevitable since the UK government takes its advice from advocacy groups, not objective scientists.

The Royal Society's "Science Policy Advisory Group" is one such advocacy group, led by that arch-warmist Professor Geoffrey Boulton, and there is no possibility that Boulton can change his advice – cutting the alarmist clap-trap would involve huge loss-of-face, and would ruin his scientific reputation.

The trouble is, climate alarmism sits comfortably with all sorts of activist agendas and is a nice little earner to boot, so don't expect this sort of nonsense to stop any time soon.

Feb 12, 2013 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterScottie

Make him" ave it "we say in South London.

Tonight on Channel Four TV Documentary The Year that Britain Flooded

The review says 2012 was the wettest in England since records began.
I cheeked the Met Office records from the BBC and it wasnt 2012 it was actually 2000 and that covers the entire UK.England Scotland and Northern Ireland.

So i phoned up Channel Four and put a complaint in about the title of the show.The Guy on the switch board says he will have to log it with the shows producers.

Dosent quite sound the same "The 2nd Year That Just England Flooded Since Records Began in 1914".

Feb 12, 2013 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Robin, the Early Bird, finds the worm where the rubber meets the road.

Feb 12, 2013 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

David, mine have been counted and sent for lengthening, minus the two already snaffled.

Feb 12, 2013 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Sorry Bish im on a roll.

There was this woman film Director Called Franny Armstrong a few years back who got mugged in London by a street Girl Gang and then rescued by Boris Johnson on his bike. She made a film called "The Age of Stupid".Based on a Charlton Heston 1970s disaster movie called The Omega Man .Hes the only human left alive after a nuclear Holocaust.
In her film Age of Stupid actor the late Pete Postlewaite is the Only human left alive after the world is destroyed by Global Warming.

Before she made that she made a film about her legal struggle with a multi national fast food outlet called Mc Libel about McDonalds

New Zealand Woman dies from Coca Cola addiction cant buy that kind of bad publicity.Coca Cola Frannys next target

Coca Cola will have to get themselves some more Polar Bears.

Feb 12, 2013 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

The speech in full is up at
It confirms something I’ve been saying for a while. It’s all about the annual MORI “trust in the professions” poll which shows politicians in the low tens and only scientists and doctors up in the eighties. Davey wants some of that trust, and he thinks CAGW is the way to get it.

Feb 12, 2013 at 4:10 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

For a Guardian owned site that just recycles their articles, Business Green doesn't seem to pay much attention to their comments (unlike CIF). I've made quite a few "sceptical" ones recently, and they've all stayed up. I've just added one to this story, and another to the one about Hedegaard & Schwarzenegger trail blazing.

Feb 12, 2013 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

I think, as someone mentioned above, Davey is an ignorant mouthpiece. His speech seems to have been drafted for him by Sir John Bedwetter, to whom he refers several times.

Feb 12, 2013 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

The whole world is full of lemmings now and they are running faster and faster towards that cliff. Trouble is, they are dragging society after them.

Feb 12, 2013 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterA.D. Everard

As another example as to what sort of opposition we non-lemmings have, listen to this: Move about 26:00 minutes in and realise why the end of all civilization in Australia is imminent. With politicians like Craig Emerson in charge (citing the World Bank as a climate reference ffs!), there is no hope for that country.

Regrettably, that might be the sort of future for the rest of us.

Feb 12, 2013 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

‘The net effect of government policy on energy bills is downwards not upwards,’ Ed Davey

If thats not bald faced and deliberate deceitful misrepresentation I don't know what is. And he has the gall to insult us.

Ethical and moral turpitude is now endemic in politics and politicised science.

Feb 12, 2013 at 9:58 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

The photo of Mr Davey used by the Telegraph bears an uncanny resemblance to that notable thinker and all round sage Father Dougal McGuire - if only Ed could reach the heights of erudition displayed by Dougal ...

As it stands Ed is rather a disappointment and is displaying a marked tendency towards persecution of imagined heresies and appears to be messily regurgitating copious quantities of Green Catechism.

As to the RS - it's simply another delinquent quango with the added "prestige" of having the word Royal in its name. About as Royal as Leamington Spa.

Aye esmiff, Poundland for Ed I hope (he might well find giving change challenging though) and the RS - well, they're making a start by marketing the building as a McDonalds or something I understand... Maybe they could have a joint venture and do celebrity (veggie)burger flipper events - I'd pay a hefty premium to have a Deli of the Day handed to be by Paul Erlich.

Feb 12, 2013 at 10:28 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Sorry Mr Graveytrain it is irrefutable. What isn't irrefutable is that members of the dog lovers party have form when it comes to misleading people, breaking pledges and just telling lies?

Feb 12, 2013 at 11:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Well said, Doubting Rich. The words 'science' and 'irrefutable' are mutually contradictory.

OK, journalists are not scientists, but why is not a single one of them who gets to interview a senior propagandist in the guise of a politician or scientist ever able to point this uncontroversial fact out?

Feb 13, 2013 at 12:09 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Is "Irrefutable" more or less stupid than the American Physical Society's infamous "Incontrovertible."

Feb 13, 2013 at 3:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterNoblesse Oblige

Note the favourite dishonest trick of the false analogy of smoking.

It is indeed overdone. We need to suggest some more "sciency" memes to them. Better ones.

How we were advised for decades to avoid eating cholesterol, because it is bad for you. Except the scientists were wrong.

How scientists said for decades that stress causes ulcers. Except it doesn't really.

How we were taught for a century that the tongue had specific areas for the main tastes. Despite years of kids being unable to replicate the effect in science classes the error persisted (and indeed persists yet). Yet the scientists were utterly wrong about such a simple thing.

The list of "consensus" scientific blunders is rather depressing really.

Feb 13, 2013 at 7:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

Dear Bish, I work for a firm that does residential conveyancing and we've been keeping an eye on the government's new Green Deal. I scanned a couple of recent EPC's and have blogged about them here.

If you are interested please have a look. Thanks, Dave

Feb 14, 2013 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave Clemo


I'm ashamed to say I didn't know about the tongue map myth. It's bleeding obvious when it's pointed out, of course, but just shows how conditioned we are to the power of the white coat (I'm thinking of Dr Nick in The Simpsons). Amusing to think that all the school-children who pointed it out (and who had not yet learned the necessary respect) were right all along!

More here (thank you Google).

Feb 14, 2013 at 1:12 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

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