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« Friends of Richard | Main | What next? »

Nursing prejudice

I have a post up at the Spectator Coffee House blog.

Read it here.

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Reader Comments (28)

You're off his Christmas card list for good.

Feb 19, 2013 at 4:15 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

On the matter of who is poltically motivated, undoubtedly many on both sides of the question are. But there is an assymetry in attitudes:

- Skeptics tend to believe that "I have a point of view and you have a point of view, but I am convinced that I am right and you are wrong."
- Believers: "I have the ONLY legitimate point of view. If you think you have one, you are just being political."

This lack of legitimacy in the eyes of the believers has been there from the beginning. It colors everything and has been a disaster for science.

Feb 19, 2013 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterNoblesse Oblige

Very well written, Andrew - calm and reasoned, with a justified punch in the final sentence.

Feb 19, 2013 at 4:40 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Pharos - does he send out the Socialist Worker for Christmas? And how much CO2 is produced, never mind the CO, when you chuck it in the fireplace in place of a log?

Feb 19, 2013 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

Noblesse -

It's more like:

Believers: "I have the ONLY legitimate point of view. Since you dispute my position you must be a bought-and-paid-for running-dog lackey of murderers and despoilers."

Feb 19, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

The Spectator readers now also know about "when black body GHG band thermal emission from the atmosphere annihilates surface IR. " :)

Feb 19, 2013 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

The moral high-ground is bounded on all sides by the slippery slopes of logic: so let us hope that some of it stuck to him on his descent.

And if not, thank you Bish for this major contribution to his entirely warranted downfall.

Feb 19, 2013 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Good one!
It's a pity The Spectator isn't more widely read but it is the nearest thing to MSM that is at least partly sceptical of AGW. Best make the most of it.

Feb 19, 2013 at 5:17 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Lots of Nurse’s/my generation were Trots in their youth. The problem is not his politics (which he has defined as Old Labour) but his ignorance of the science and the policy debate based on the science. A leftwing ignoramus risks imposing state control to save us, whereas a rightwing ignoramus will hand over the job to windfarming rentier landowners.
The thing to do with ignoramuses is to attack their ignorance, not their politics.

Feb 19, 2013 at 5:28 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Heh, Eric Smith is pretty funny over there.

Feb 19, 2013 at 5:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Good article, concise, reasoned and an accurate disection...but why have they put a picture of Harry Enfields dad at the top??

Feb 19, 2013 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterSunderlandSteve

I think it's time that we supported the efforts of Paul Nurse and many others by supplying them with a list of everyone that we know to be a climate change denier.
These people need to be identified sooner rather than later as they are obviously a couple of quarks short of a proton.
Unfortunately my own contribution will reflect my complete failure to identify even one CCD.
Try as I might to expose them, they continue to elude my methods of detection.
They're obviously out there because very many eminent scientists and politicians are extremely concerned about the problems that these mysterious people appear to be doing.
Please can we all get together and help these folks by compiling lists of all the ones we know and
publishing their names on this website. At least then, we will all know whom they are talking about.
Thankyou in anticipation

Feb 19, 2013 at 7:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

One of the comments at The Spectator website suggests that Paul Nurse was a former president of The Galton Institute (formerly the Eugenics Education Society). Can this be confirmed, and if so when? The website for The Galton Institute doesn't appear to list past presidents.

[Update 11/11/13 The claim appears to be false]

Feb 19, 2013 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRogue

Excellent! Crisp, clear, and to the point. You make a very good case for a very important point.

Feb 19, 2013 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Nurse is such a good little socialist he has no problem accepting the grace and favour luxury apartment in Central London that goes with being the RS President.

Nothing's too good for the workers!

Feb 19, 2013 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

There are people nuttier than Nurse. One of them is Monbiot who has more about well-funded deniers in the Guardian today.

The educational charities that do PR for the rightwing ultra-rich

"Conspiracies against the public don't get much uglier than this. As the Guardian revealed last week, two secretive organisations working for US billionaires have spent $118m to ensure that no action is taken to prevent manmade climate change. While inflicting untold suffering on the world's people, their funders have used these opaque structures to ensure that their identities are never exposed."

"The two organisations – the Donors' Trust and the Donors' Capital Fund – were set up as political funding channels for people handing over $1m or more. They have financed 102 organisations which either dismiss climate science or downplay the need to take action. The large number of recipients creates the impression of many independent voices challenging climate science. These groups, working through the media, mobilising gullible voters and lobbying politicians, helped to derail Obama's cap and trade bill and the climate talks at Copenhagen. Now they're seeking to prevent the US president from trying again."

Monbiot has also put a fuller version of the article up at his website which, unlike the Guardian article, has references to support his assertions.

Secrets of the Rich
February 18, 2013

As one of the more effective voices against the theory of CAGW I am sure His Grace must be very well-funded! Shouldn't he tell us how many millions he has received and who were the donors?

Feb 19, 2013 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

The thing to do with ignoramuses is to attack their ignorance, not their politics.
Feb 19, 2013 at 5:28 PM geoffchambers

The problem with trying to keep politics out of the debate, Geoff, is that there is a fundamental political dimension to it.

Lefties want the whole world to be made to march to their tune.

Righties just want to be left alone (preferably with their money).

Seems to me that the only people of right wing inclination supporting the climate change movement are those hoping to line their pockets from it.

It's an unholy alliance of the left hoping to control the world and some crooks wanting to rip it off.

Feb 19, 2013 at 8:49 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

About a year ago, there was a Bishop Hill thread reproducing an open letter to Sir Paul Nurse from Professor Brice Bosnich, a retired chemist and a fellow of the Royal Society. It concludes 'Finally, I note that the Society has enthusiastically endorsed the central recommendations of the Stern Review.'

Sir Paul never replied. One would have thought such a letter might ring alarm bells for caution, and review, but it seems that ideology rules in some quarters.

The link to the full letter, which is an epic appeal for the Royal Society to return to the scientific principle rather than embarking on political adventure, is here

Worth a re-read.

Feb 19, 2013 at 9:06 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

I am reminded of the propaganda spoken by the Communist Party of China when they sought to take control away from the Chinese Emperor. The free Peoples Republic and all.

Socialism HAS to lie to gain power, they can't tell the truth else they'd get nowhere.

Feb 19, 2013 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

Nurse sez:

"A feature of [the global warming] controversy is that those that deny there is a problem often seem to have political or ideological views that lead them to be unhappy with the actions that would be necessary should global warming be due to human activity. I think that’s a crucial point."

I think that's a crucial point to, "... should global warming be due to human activity"?!? Should? You mean you're not certain? You want us to make sacrifices just in case you might be correct in your supposition?

What a twit.

Feb 19, 2013 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman


Lefties want the whole world to be made to march to their tune. Righties just want to be left alone (preferably with their money). Seems to me that the only people of right wing inclination supporting the climate change movement are those hoping to line their pockets from it.
And the only people of left wing inclination supporting the climate change movement are those who harbour unconscious desires to make everyone obey when they press their big red button.
Which is why, in a country which counts roughly 30 million inhabitants of a left wing persuasion, the typical climate change demo brings out a couple of hundred protesters. Most of us just aren’t like your characterisation. (Though those who are tend to belong to the vocal Guardian-reading middle classes, I’ll admit).
I don’t mind people here sounding off about us lefties, but I do feel you tend to get us wrong, in much the same way that committed greenies like Nurse get us sceptics wrong.
It’s not love of Trotsky or a desire to control the world which gets us going, but rather compassion for the poor, and a corresponding hatred of the stinking rich. The sufferings of the Labour party, and most other socialist parties in Europe, has rather obscured this obvious fact, allowing a lot of other people - including our host and many commenters here - to claim that they, too, feel compassion for the poor, and that a longing to protect them from the evils of energy price rises is a prime motivation for their opposition to the insane energy policies of the present government, the opposition, and their masters in Brussels.
Fine. We’re allies. Let’s co-operate until the last NGO-trained civil servant is strung up with the spaghetti graph of the last UEA climate scientist. After that, we can exchange insults.

Feb 19, 2013 at 10:25 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Greg Cavanagh

I am reminded of the propaganda spoken by the Communist Party of China when they sought to take control away from the Chinese Emperor.
The last Emperor abdicated in 1912. The Chinese Communist Party was founded in 1921. None of this is relevant to Sir Paul Nurse and his invincible ignorance of climate science, but it’s worth noting just in case anyone is reading this with the intention of criticising our own cavalier attitude to truth.

Feb 19, 2013 at 10:41 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

The Monbiot article referrred to by Roy (8.49pm) is headlined “The educational charities that do PR for the rightwing ultra-rich”. It is entirely devoted to Moonbat’s fantasies of climate scepticism being an invention of American rightwing thintanks. He refers to: “Nigel Lawson's climate misinformation campaign (the Global Warming Policy Foundation)”.
Though entirely devoted to defending climate orthodoxy, Moonbat’s article doesn’t appear on the climate change or environment pages of the Guardian. It’s almost as if the Guardian didn’t want us climate sceptics to know about it....

Feb 19, 2013 at 11:31 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

This I think was adeptly stated by Andrew: ". . . Stern’s approach is not the only one that could be adopted. For example, since even under Stern’s calculus people in the future will be much richer than those alive today, we could aim to maximise benefits to the poorest generation – namely us. In this view, passing costs on is the correct thing to do and we should be aiming to reduce, not raise the price of fossil fuels."

I visited the UK and Ireland as a student in 1970 and then again in 1996 when my wife worked for a subsidiary of the Royal Mail. The most obvious change in the country over that 25-year period that I noticed was the significant increase in prosperity.

Feb 19, 2013 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke


Greg was refering to Pu-Yi of the Manchukuo puppet state established by Japan in Manchuria. He is called the last emperor in some circles.

Feb 20, 2013 at 3:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

To geoffchambers:

My point was the lies told to the people to gain support, power, and enough support of people with arms to make a bid for political control. I see a comparison with that event and the power struggles behind Global Warming.

Feb 20, 2013 at 3:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

Beautifully written.

Trying to get Alarmists to understand the explicit projection in so many of their statements -- in this case, I am only seeking truth and justice, while they are only politically motivated to disinform is one of the hardest things to convey.

Most skeptics I know accept that their political and cultural views inform their reactions to scientific opinions; Alarmists all believe they're above that kind of thing.

Feb 20, 2013 at 7:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

I see that my first attempt to use quotes failed :(

On February 12, 1912, Hsian-T'ung, the last emperor of China, is forced to abdicate following Sun Yat-sen's republican revolution. A provisional government was established in his place, ending 267 years of Manchu rule in China and 2,000 years of imperial rule. The former emperor, only six years old, was allowed to keep up his residence in Beijing's Forbidden City, and he took the name of Henry Pu Yi

Pu Yi was enthroned as emperor in 1908 after his uncle, the Kuang-hsu emperor, died. He reigned under a regency and underwent training to prepare him for his coming rule. However, in October 1911, his dynasty fell to Sun Yat-sen's revolution, and four months later he abdicated.

Feb 20, 2013 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

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