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« Deben and 'the deniers' | Main | Deben and Kennedy sinking fast »
Wednesday
Jan082014

Bean holds forth

I chanced upon this interview of Richard Bean, the author of The Heretic. It covers the whole of his body of work but includes discussion of global warming, the influence of the Guardian, the substitution of abuse for argument and also mention of the author of a sceptical book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (91)

Thanks Bish - that's one of the best half hours I've spent recently.

The most comprehensive public nailing of the Guardianista class ever.

Jan 8, 2014 at 4:36 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Yes I feel much better for that. He seems to be what I call 'a proper bloke'. Free thinking, honest & rational. More please!

Jan 8, 2014 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered Commentermunroad

'Post-normal science' - explains much...

Jan 8, 2014 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterosseo

I liked the sound of this sceptical author. :)

Jan 8, 2014 at 5:06 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Thanks. It's was fascinating and refreshing. I am on the same wavelength. Thank God for Melanie, in particular. Like her, I find the situation very frightening. We are facing people with a dangerous totalitarian ideology, who I imagine would have been comfortable in the old Soviet Union. We are seeing suggestions that opposing views must not be published in the media.

We must defend against them, and expose them. I found it rather disappointing that names were withheld. Is that not part of the problem, that they are allowed to remain hidden.

Jan 8, 2014 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe PrangWizard of England

More, more, more of this sort of incisive interviewing, please. Just compare it to the BBC's output!

Jan 8, 2014 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Sorry, can't handle listening to Melanie Phillips, she drives me nuts!

Jan 8, 2014 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Very enjoyable.

An impressive sounding bloke; knowledgeable, good humoured and...normal.

A stark contrast to the usual spittle-flecked, vitriolic alarmist or the "Laughing Policeman" Prof Turney.

(oh and you can add him to the list of Leftie sceptics that you posted on Twitter)

Jan 8, 2014 at 5:42 PM | Registered CommenterSimonW

Double post (sorry).

Jan 8, 2014 at 5:42 PM | Registered CommenterSimonW

"the substitution of abuse for argument"

Yes, I het quite a lot of that here.

Jan 8, 2014 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

"the substitution of abuse for argument"
Yes, I het quite a lot of that here.
Have you ever considered being less dogmatic? It's not intended as abuse (usually); it's a reaction to being told we're a load of idiots and that you (and your warmist allies) have a monopoly on wisdom when it comes to climate.
As PrangWizard says up-thread: alternative views not wanted, or preferably not permitted.

Jan 8, 2014 at 6:00 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

What a wonderful conversation between these two people.
A conversation which is as refreshing as it is controversial.

In another world, it would be neither controversial nor particularly
refreshing, but in this world it is both, in spades.

Melanie Philips can read my/our mind(s) and I take my hat off
to both of these independent thinkers.
I am comforted by/in the knowledge that they will be expressing their opinions to all those
who are prepared to listen

Congratulations are due to his grace for finding and sharing this
not so little gem with us.

Jan 8, 2014 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia


"the substitution of abuse for argument"

Yes, I het quite a lot of that here.
Jan 8, 2014 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Well I won't abuse you personally for that comment, only say that I disagree with it. You also get quite a lot of people, including myself, who explicitly say they are glad you are allowed to continue posting your dissenting views, even though most commenters here strongly disagree with you most of the time. Some of them are occasionally complimentary.

Don't mistake very strong disagreement with abuse. It can easily happen, I know. Sceptics are quite used to it in in the MSM and beyond. Rest assured that most of us know what it feels like.

Jan 8, 2014 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Thank you very much for this. I am so glad there are still free-thinking English people on the radio, like those who helped free my country in 1945.

Jan 8, 2014 at 6:18 PM | Registered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

A gem of a conversation indeed. Three cheers for the likes of Phillips and Bean!

Their perspective does make me fret though that the Great Climate Scare is but a symptom of a wider-ranging malaise. Something has to explain the astonishing impact of this Scare, and I suspect their insights could well form part of an explanation.

Jan 8, 2014 at 6:29 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I love the irony!

Here is Melanie Phillips (BA English) and Richard Bean (BSc Psychology!!) pretending to have a grown-up discussion about something as complicated as climate change. A bit like my 5 year old son discussing quantum physics.

Here is Phillips complaining that people now won't accept 'facts'. Ironic that she and others have been denying many of the facts about climate change for decades.

Here is Phillips complaining about the 'vituperative' tone of the debate! Has she really not seen how Climate Audit, WUWT and this blog treat Mike Mann and others?

Oh well....at least they'll be on the wrong side of history.

Jan 8, 2014 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

Monty,

So, Psychology eh? Well you won't ever be looking as 'Skeptical' Science ever again then, will you, since its owner is a psychology student now he's given up being a cartoonist. Michael Mann started out as a geologist and has no qualifications in climate science.

Your point was?

Jan 8, 2014 at 6:57 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

@ Monty

I wouldn't necessarily knock psychology here. An understanding of the behaviour (madness) of crowds might go some way to explaining the reactions to the climate scare.

O/T but I play saxophone in a big band (very amateur). One of our band is a graduate of a college of music and gives lessons on improvisation in the back room of a local pub on Sunday afternoons. The theory of this is daunting.
One of my fellow saxophonists (a retired professor of materials science from one of UK's top universities) said that he would stick to quantum physics as it was easier to understand!

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered Commentermunroad

SayNotoFearmongers

AFAIK Sceptical Science doesn't write climate science papers. Mike Mann has a Masters and a PhD. Training as a geologist at least gives him some sense of earth history.

Munroad: I didn't say that psychology isn't important to help us understand crowds. But it doesn't give you the tools to understand climate science.

Thanks.

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

This is why I like this blog. One simply could not imagine hearing a conversation like that on the BBC.

“Post-normal science” defined – the “right thing” for society – says it all. Another interpretation may be the right thing for me – more grant money, more kudos, whatever. On a previous post where Professor John Shepherd CBE FRS (sadly from my alma mater) shows a graph of CO2 vs temperature and ignores the 800 year lag and then also quotes the infamous hockey stick, we know for certain that we do indeed live in a “post-normal science” world.

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrJohnGalan

Cook and Nuccitelli are co-authors of the 97% paper, aren't they? They actually lay claim to statistical competence!

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered Commentermarchesarosa

Monty
Can you enlighten us to these "facts" that Phillips has been denying for years?
See also my reply to Entropic Man. There seems to be a feeling abroad that everything a "climate scientist" (a discipline as far as I know only very recently acknowledged to exist) says is to be accepted as gospel truth and that alternative interpretations of the data and criticisms of the models should be suppressed.
As Dr Galen says, "post-normal science" indeed.

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:42 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Marchesarosa
"Cook and Nuccitelli are co-authors of the 97% paper, aren't they? They actually lay claim to statistical competence".

Exactly my point. Thanks! The paper isn't about climate science is it?

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

Monty, I think you'll find Melanie Phillips and Richard Bean weren't writing papers either. On the other hand, the idea of publishing papers is to invite comment and challenge. If the challenge is valid, then the source is immaterial.

Also, none of Mann's qualifications or or other personal properties were adequate for him to redefine statistical modelling to enable the use of novel techniques which he has yet to document. His products have been comprehensively dismantled by various authors including our host as at best utterly worthless.

And I think you'll find rather a lot of science degrees held by regular commenters here. What have you got?

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:43 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

Marchesarosa
"Cook and Nuccitelli are co-authors of the 97% paper, aren't they? They actually lay claim to statistical competence".

Exactly my point. Thanks! The paper isn't about climate science is it?

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

SayNotoFearmongers:

I have a science degree and a PhD (in a climate science).

Thanks.

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

'A' climate science?? Come on you can do better than that - from UEA?

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:49 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

And only two?

Slacker.

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:50 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

SayNo said:
"Monty, I think you'll find Melanie Phillips and Richard Bean weren't writing papers either".

No, but I was laughing at the idea that they were having an incisive conversation about something neither of them understands!

At one point Bean says that he started enquiring deeply in climate science. Yeah, sure he did. By reading blogs like this?

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

Monty Wrote:
"Munroad: I didn't say that psychology isn't important to help us understand crowds. But it doesn't give you the tools to understand climate science."

What special knowledge/tools do we need to aquire to understand Climate Science (in which us mere engineers /physicists /geologists /chemists /anyone capable of logical thought etc seem to keep finding glaring omissions) ?

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

Nial wrote:
"What special knowledge/tools do we need to aquire to understand Climate Science (in which us mere engineers /physicists /geologists /chemists /anyone capable of logical thought etc seem to keep finding glaring omissions)"

Well..... maybe a PhD in a relevant subject (climatology, meteorology, atmospheric physics, earth science, quaternary science, geology, maybe ecology, statistics, atmospheric chemistry etc etc) plus a few years of post-doc research might be a start!

Jan 8, 2014 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

Monty

Well..... maybe a PhD in a relevant subject (climatology, meteorology, atmospheric physics, earth science, quaternary science, geology, maybe ecology, statistics, atmospheric chemistry etc etc) plus a few years of post-doc research might be a start!

As I have suspected, Popular Climate Science is a mutual admiration society. Someone has to do the heavy lifting of scepticism as your lot don't.

Jan 8, 2014 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

"Well..... maybe a PhD in a relevant subject (climatology, meteorology, atmospheric physics, earth science, quaternary science, geology, maybe ecology, statistics, atmospheric chemistry etc etc) plus a few years of post-doc research might be a start!"

You missed out the runes, tea leaf forecasting and grant flow studies.

Are you saying that nobody without direct qualifications in the above isn't capable of understanding Climate Psience?

Steve McIntyre seems to have found enough holes in the narrative desipite being a lowly mining engineer.

Jan 8, 2014 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

ssat:
You haven't thought this through properly have you?

All good scientists are naturally skeptical. After all if scientists manage to overturn previously-held views then they become famous, get promoted, win prizes etc.

Odd then that all the climate scientists (and others) haven't managed to shake the fundamentals of climate change.

Thanks!

Jan 8, 2014 at 8:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

OK, Monty, check - and I still think it's fundamentally flawed, as does anybody else who can understand that they've been lectured on imminent thermageddon for decades but the temperature stubbornly refuses to rise, and that our intelligence is continually insulted by fools making assertions that practically any conceivable weather event is certain evidence of climate change, and when they can't find anything measurable they really take the Mick by pretending it's all hiding in the deep ocean.

Oh, and finding out that the iconic Hockey Stick that scared us in the first place is a complete fake makes some of us quite angry. Dare you defend it? By the way, this is a test of personal integrity.

Jan 8, 2014 at 8:25 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

Nial said:

"Steve McIntyre seems to have found enough holes in the narrative desipite being a lowly mining engineer".

Interesting then that he hasn't managed to publish much of it! He accepts much of climate science (not that he has any qualifications in most of it)....just disagrees with some of the methodology of paleoclimate studies.

Shame, then, that he doesn't offer to work with the paleo people to produce better reconstructions.

Jan 8, 2014 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

Monty

Heavier than air flying machines.
Plate tectonics.
Helicobacter pylori.

All successful Unpopular Science.

Jan 8, 2014 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Steve McIntyre has BURIED the 6x displayed icon of the IPCC Third Assessment Report. Richter 9.5 at least. Good luck with defending that here. Start by telling us about acceptable R2 values for model validation - the floor is yours (with respect to our host).

Jan 8, 2014 at 8:29 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

SayNo wrote:

"Oh, and finding out that the iconic Hockey Stick that scared us in the first place is a complete fake makes some of us quite angry. Dare you defend it? By the way, this is a test of personal integrity".

Which hockey stick are you talking about? After all, there's quite a lot of hockey sticks out there now produced by a whole range of scientists from different countries and specialisms. Some use tree-rings, others don't. Some are based on glaciers, permafrost, ocean cores, peat cores, lake cores etc.

Are you going to pretend that they are ALL flawed, and ALL the result of some mass conspiracy? Really?

Jan 8, 2014 at 8:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

What a shame these discussions get so easily derailed. First part of transcription:

MP: Your next play; the Heretic, wa also pretty incendiary, on a completely different topic - global warming -
RB: Yeah, well, by then global warming had basically replaced God in the public consciousness - not so much global warming, but being Green filled that God-sized hole in most people’s lives, my own as well, I have to say.
MP: You were a Green?
RB: I was a Green. I voted Green two or three times, never in a national election, but councillors. I got solar panels. I converted my car to liquid petroleum gas, recycled like a monk (laughs). The joy, the satisfaction, of throwing the London Review of Books in a green box, I cannot tell you..
MP: I would agree with you there
RB: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Then I really sat down and studied it, because I thought: “What are you doing Richard? You’re voting this”. I started properly reading the research, and I’m a scientist, a bachelor of science, in psychology - which is a little bit of a dodgy science, I accept that - but I think that helped, because I lived through my university years questioning how much of an empirical discipline psychology is, and how much of it is about social issues, and politics or whatever. And I could see the same thing going on in climate science, especially when the climate itself is a stochastic system, it’s a chaotic system, a little bit like, I can’t predict wht you’re going to do in the next hour. I’ve got a psychology degree. Does that make me capable of predicting what you’re going to do? So human beings are also a stochastic system, and I could see an analogy there.
And then there was Al Gore’s movie which I sat down, and again that made me ..(laughs)
Can we tone deaf non-tweeters see the list of lefty sceptics mentioned by SimonW which Your Grace apparently posted on Twitter please?

Jan 8, 2014 at 8:52 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Anyone actually listening to the interview would know that Richard Bean and Melanie Phillips weren’t actually discussing Climate science, other than at the very basic level, at all. They were actually discussing the way in which the Guardianista types of modern society attempt to prevent the airing of any alternative viewpoint on any subject dear to their hearts and the almost pathological behaviour they show in the way they go about it. They also discussed the question of how on earth we’ve come to arrive at this sorry state of affairs and how these people have come to hold so much sway.

Of course, right on cue, up pops rootin, tootin, hi-falutin “Climate Scientist” Monty to give us all a prime example of exactly what they were talking about. Talk about ROFLMAO - You couldn’t make it up. Meanwhile, the thread gets derailed early on because others take the bait.

Jan 8, 2014 at 9:00 PM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs

Geoff

(https://twitter.com/aDissentient/status/420632505226911745)

Jan 8, 2014 at 9:01 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Geoff.
I agree. The post was about this silly discussion between bean and Phillips.

Before I go (work now) let me put forward a thought experiment for you all.

Imagine if Bean and Phillips were both supporters of AGW (whatever that means). You would all, rightly, criticize them for not knowing what they were talking about, their lack of credentials etc.

Yet here we are and there's no criticism at all of them...despite neither of them having ANY training in ANY science (psychology doesn't count).

You lot aren't skeptics at all are you? You are only skeptical when it suits your argument. Which is why as long as Phillips (BA English), Monckton (BA Classics), Delingpole (BA English), Brooker (BA something), Lawson (BA Economics), Peiser (PhD in Social Anthropology!!) say what you want to hear, you don't care at all that none of them have any understanding of climate science.

That doesn't sound like skepticism to me.

Thanks!

Jan 8, 2014 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

Monty,

Specifically, how about the hockey stick of which Richard Muller says: "Quite frankly, as a scientist, I now have a list of people whose papers I won't read anymore. You're not allowed to do this in science."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BQpciw8suk

Is that one OK?

Jan 8, 2014 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Further off topic comments will be snipped

Jan 8, 2014 at 9:03 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

A delightful conversation, with penetrating insight into the closed-mindedness of the AGW belief system, the defensiveness, paranoia, abusive hostility - a consequence of fear of the threat posed by any challenge.

In a sense the rise of climate scepticism in the general public very much mirrors the rise of the UKIP rebellion against the political establishment and its taboos. In fact I could well imagine both Bean and Melanie Phillips standing as kippers!

Jan 8, 2014 at 9:04 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

"their lack of credentials etc."
- Fallacy of the argument of authority
Doesn't matter what credentials Dean and Philips have, it's the argument that counts
.. So please listen to it and dissect it, rather than attacking them.
..which is a second basic fallacy of ad-hominem

Jan 8, 2014 at 9:37 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Geoff: If you click on the top tweet's date/time - at the top right - you get the whole 'conversation', as Twitter rather hopefully calls it, from Tom Holland's question onwards. Here I've done it for you. (My vested interest is that I added two names to the list and I don't want to be left out.)

Tom's of interest to me because of his excellent Channel 4 series on the origins of Islam, Islam: the Untold Story, and his book In the Shadow of the Sword. He's had the normal death threats I'm sure. Someone I respect considerably who won't just go with the most convenient flow. A question worth answering, then, kudos to the Bish for spotting it.

Jan 8, 2014 at 9:42 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Interesting that Mr Bean joins the list of prominent climate sceptics who were formerly committed greens:
Patrick Moore (Greenpeace)
Anthony Watts
Jo Nova
David Evans
Mike Haseler
Verity Jones... Others?

Jan 8, 2014 at 10:12 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Paul Matthews:
Ben Pile confesses to having voted Green in the past.

Melanie Phillips makes an interesting point when she asks:

But why is it so difficult to discuss them? Why is it that a section of our society, the left wing intelligentsia, the Guardian-reading classes, immediately pigeonholes a whole range of ideas on a whole range of issues as being, not just wrong, but unsayable, beyond the pale?
A satisfactory answer would get to the heart of the global warming phenomenon. The beginning of an answer lies in recognising that the intolerant Guardian-reading types identify themselves as a social class wielding power in a new way; not because of their wealth or traditional authority like the old upper classes, nor by their economic power like the working classes in the heyday of socialist advance, but because of their hold on the organs of opinion - academia, the media and the world of marketing. They have learned to tolerate other races and creeds and even the very rich (e.g. Tony Blair). What they can’t tolerate is people who don’t agree with them.

Jan 8, 2014 at 10:35 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

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