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

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)

Paul: There's also Paul Driessen.

I've also been thinking about Richard Lindzen, who began as a man of the left, with a portrait of FDR over his bed as he grew up, but has by now had enough of the brotherly character assassinations, according to the latest in the Weekly Standard. Whereas his close friend and colleague Kerry Emanuel was the Republican. That story was told in 2010 in the Boston Globe as A cooling trend. And cooling it's been, as Lindzen's letter in the Globe in February that year showed:

Kerry Emanuel’s Feb. 15 op-ed “Climate changes are proven fact’’ is more advocacy than assessment. Vague terms such as “consistent with,’’ “probably,’’ and “potentially’’ hardly change this. Certainly climate change is real; it occurs all the time. To claim that the little we’ve seen is larger than any change we “have been able to discern’’ for a thousand years is disingenuous. Panels of the National Academy of Sciences and Congress have concluded that the methods used to claim this cannot be used for more than 400 years, if at all. Even the head of the deservedly maligned Climatic Research Unit acknowledges that the medieval period may well have been warmer than the present. The claim that everything other than models represents “mere opinion and speculation’’ is also peculiar. Despite their faults, models show that projections of significant warming depend critically on clouds and water vapor, and the physics of these processes can be observationally tested (the normal scientific approach); at this point, the models seem to be failing. Finally, given a generation of environmental propaganda, a presidential science adviser (John Holdren) who has promoted alarm since the 1970s, and a government that proposes funding levels for climate research about 20 times the levels in 1991, courage seems hardly the appropriate description - at least for scientists supporting such alarm.

There are others I'm sure that have made the same journey, at least party-affiliation-wise, because of the vocal intolerance of the anti-deniers. Lindzen is I guess the most important scientific example.

Jan 8, 2014 at 10:43 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Add to the Twitter List Brendan O’Neill of the Marxist Spiked Online, plus Pascal Bruckner and Claude Allegre in France, plus an Italian anarchist whose name I forget who saw right through the whole capitalist global warming charade.

Jan 8, 2014 at 10:43 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

"a science degree"................... Sociology?

Of course you have dear boy, and ooh my a PhD in 'climate science' [whatever that is] - correspondence course was it?

Jan 8, 2014 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.


It's not just the Left who are intolerant of ideas which offend their principles. Consider the Tea Party and many other Republicans in the US.

Jan 8, 2014 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Where's an example of the Tea Party implying by a very common label that those they disagree with are morally and intellectually equivalent to Holocaust deniers? They may be wrong in their policy proposals but we'd need that kind of behaviour to establish parity.

Jan 8, 2014 at 11:46 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Following on from my last quote of Melanie at the end of the 1st page of comments:

MP: You write this play, I write what I write - you may not agree, I’m sure you don’t agree with some of the things I write - that’s not quite the point - there are certain things which, if you say them in a play or in an article, there is no argument adduced against them, the facts in question are not questioned. Instead, one simply gets labelled “right-wing”. Now what is this label “right-wing”. What does it mean? Does it mean anything to you? Do you think of yourself as right-wing?
RB: Absolutely not. Not at all. I think of myself as a rather old-fashioned community socialist. And if ther was anyone I could vote for I would vote for them. But I certainly can’t vote for the Labour Party because they represent what you’ve just described which is, as if they’ve got a hope of the way that society will be and everyone has to conform to this perfect ideal that we”ll never attain. Can we talk about the Guardian? Do you want to talk about the Guardian a bit?
MP: Well I try not to, but all roads seem to lead back to the Guardian, so why don’t you say what you..
RB: Well, I think the Guardian punches above its weight. That’s one of the first things that’s got to be said about it. It is the BBC’s house magazine as well, so its influence is more pervasive than the relatively low circuation that it’s got. The Guardian seems to eschew both science and common sense, and yet has fantastic influence over our politicians.
MP: But it’s a conundrum, isn’t it. I mean, you know, we’re in the most rational era in the most rational country in the most rational civilisation ever known to man, and yet, as you say, common sense gone out the window, but more than that, there seems to me, I don’t know whether you agree, but there seems to me to be on these controversial issues an absolute refusal, or inability even, to grapple with evidence, to grapple with facts, to understand that if something is a fact, and, guess what, it’s different from an opinion, and the fact is an objective truth. Mention the word “objective truth” to the younger generation and they say: “How can you be so incredibly imbecilic?” I mean, is it me? Have I lost the plot somewhere? What’s going on here?
RB: The younger generation maybe are not interested in objective truth and objective facts. And - does it go back to this God-sized hole? That they need something? I mean, the Green Revolution, the global warming alarmism? That desire for an end of the world scenario? Narcissistic though it may be, it’s our generation that destroyed the world..
MP: Yeah, amazing parallels
RB: It’s a form of hubris, arrogance. The number of King Canutes there are out there is unbelievable. We have our own.. you know, Tony Blair started it, King Canute, Obama’s the latest King Canute. Al Gore, the king of all King Canutes..
MP: Holding back the tide ... of what?
RB: Holding back the tide .. exactly. How are they going to influence..? And the other thing about King Canute is that he, when he stood in the waves he wa demonstrating that he couldn’t control the waves. We’ve all forgotten that, because we all characterise King Canute as a loony who stood i the waves trying to stop them, and he didn’t. He knew he coiuldn’t stop them, and it was his followers, his court that thought he could. He only stood in those waves to demonstrate that he couldn’t.
Interesting that Bean calls himself an old-fashioned socialist, I call myself an old-fashioned socialist. Martin Rees and Paul Nurse call themselves old-fashioned socialists. This is because socialism was murdered in the eighties by of the betrayal of the Guardian and its right wing clique within the Labour Party.
Shocked by the election of the socialist Michael Foot as party leader (who was ahead of Maggie in the opinion polls upt to the sinking of the Belgrano) they furthered the creation of the SocDems from nothing and their return to nothing (i.e. merger with the Liberals) and supported Thatcher’s politics of class war.
You can look upon global warming as a kind of mass displacement activity, a distraction from the fact that the Guardian has been a major actor in the destruction of the left. That’s why we socialists read the Telegraph now.

Entropic Man
You really haven't the foggiest, have you.

Jan 8, 2014 at 11:53 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Geoff chambers

Try talking about evolution to a member of the religious right in the US!

I've never been a great fan of socialists either. They create nothing, only redistribute the wealth until its all gone.

Jan 9, 2014 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Just wish it was Richard and Melanie on that BBC couch so that I could buy a TV again. Two people, divided by politics; united by common sense and a healthy disregard for designer correctness.

Jan 9, 2014 at 12:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Entropic: Just because some of the religious right in the US, who are very different to the strong libertarians in the Tea Party

* have questions about evolution
* or wonder about how the complexity of the human brain arose
* or completely reject natural selection as an explanation for different species
* or adhere to a 'literal interpretation' of Genesis 1-3 (it isn't) coming up with an earth less than 10,000 years old
(and they're all very different positions)

doesn't have a jot to do with

* the question I asked about anything equivalent to 'denier' in the Tea Party approach to its ideological opponents
* what Geoff is trying to say about old-fashioned socialism and how it fits with a rejection of climate alarmism
* what Richard Bean was talking about with Melanie Phillips.

We can all be guilty of going off course on any thread but that is pushing it, my friend.

Jan 9, 2014 at 12:42 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Thanks, Your Grace , for posting this jewel of an item.
I cannot be numbered among the headline-makers in any area, but Melanie Phillips' and Mr Bean's views on the topic of climate science are very similar to mine and the group of individuals I mix with socially and professionally. Some of the group have advanced degrees but many do not. A few are regular churchgoers, most are not. The common denominator with this group is that they have been successful in most things they have turned their hands and minds to. Most( but not all) of the group have become apolitical through long experience; authority figures in society are listened to, but not always believed. The urge to take care of our fellow man runs strongly among members of the group but is expressed in many different ways. Most of us detest Socialism as a political movement and ALL of us regard the United Nations' IPCC and all its works as a scam based on the mis-use of science; some of us are seen as right wing and some are seen as left wing, but those labels are not accurate in most cases. The most typical attributes most of this group share is that all of us are willing to hear one another out politely on all manner of topics and we enjoy each other's company; any individual who forgets his or her manners will soon become an ex-member of the group when they realise they have breached the norms of polite and respectful discourse.
Monty and Entropic Man would soon eject themselves from the group on the evidence of their pronouncements here.
Sadly, a discussion such as that between Melanie Phillips and Mr Bean would not be heard on either Radio or TV here in New Zealand .

Jan 9, 2014 at 2:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K


On the whole, I agree with what you are saying to EM. However, there is a connection to the Bean/Phillips discussion in EM‘s comment, though not the one that he intended and that is the behaviour of many of those that consider themselves to be the opposite of the creationists, the Athiests. Often, they are one and the same people as those that Melanie and Richard discuss, sometimes not. But the behavioural traits are the same, the apparent need to crush all dissent, the designation of their “opponents” (as they perceive them) as almost non-human - or at least sub-human - and either inherently evil, or too stupid to know better. As an atheist myself (well, almost I think) I find it all very fascinating. As is the subject of this thread. I look forward to seeing some good discussion on it. I hope to get the time to join in.

Jan 9, 2014 at 3:34 AM | Registered CommenterLaurie Childs

Laurie: Thanks. What is definitely on topic is what Richard Bean said about everyone having a 'God-shaped hole' - as he admits he does. This explains for him the religious nature of green devotion in the young and others. Even if one accepts Bean's premise it doesn't make everyone who claims to have plugged the hole a lovely person or an intelligent one. And I agree about the intolerance you see elsewhere too. But I think there's a positive, empathetic framing here for something we often mention in passing, namely the religious aspects of the CAGW and wider green movement.

Jan 9, 2014 at 4:08 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Monty has a phd in climate science yet his comments could be written by a child. You would think his wealth of knowledge would bury our ignorant mumblings.

Where is the evidence? The facts?

It's just schoolyard taunts all the way through. I personally would want to see a logical explanation for the model failures. But this juvenile mockery just continues to diminish whatever remaining respect I had for the climate science field.

Jan 9, 2014 at 4:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterChip

Saw "The Heretic" when it came to Australia in 2012 - excellent play.

Jan 9, 2014 at 5:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip

EM. "Yes, I het quite a lot of that here."

That's what you come for isn't it.

A word of caution to all, while it's nice that Melanie and Richard can attack the Guardianistas it won't get an airing with the ordinary people, so the people will still be kept in the dark.

Jan 9, 2014 at 5:17 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

A word of caution to all, while it's nice that Melanie and Richard can attack the Guardianistas it won't get an airing with the ordinary people, so the people will still be kept in the dark.

'in the dark' in all forms both metaphorically and actually.

Jan 9, 2014 at 8:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Vituperative responses occur on both sides of the climate debate.
There are sites I hardly ever visit any more because of the ignorant cheer squad they attract.
In real life though I am often amused by old lefty friends, whom I would once not have disagreed with on anything, holding forth on the obtuseness (even evilness) of deniers such as myself. It isn't that they are necessarily wrong- I am pretty obtuse- but that these particular fellas could not summon up even one simple physical law between them. I suppose when you're that lacking, it does make sense to blindly believe. What I don't understand is where they lost their curiosity to actually try to understand the arguments.

Jan 9, 2014 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Cruickshank

I see Monty with his PhD in 'Climate Science' has been peddling the line that only those qualified in that or related disciplines are fit to comment on the subject. Well, my PhD is in Applied Physics and I got into this discussion because in the 1980s I co-developed nanotechnologically engineered optical coatings to achieve particular ends. Accordingly, I know from a great deal of background experience who is right and who talks rubbish on cloud physics.

Carl Sagan got hi aerosol optical physics badly wrong. It was introduced into Atmospheric Physics in 1974 by Lacis and Hanse. In 2011, the latter claimed that CO2-AGW was exactly offset by aerosol cooling, some genuinely by direct aerosol cooling, the rest by the 'small droplet reflection effect' claimed by NASA. The latter is very wrong. The sign of the aerosol effect on clouds has been reversed. People like Monty with advanced degrees in 'Climate Science' have been taught incorrect physics (they are also taught incorrect radiative physics).

Because of this they have no right to claim ownership of the subject and unless they retrain as a discipline, must relinquish it to the better qualified. This is not an option because they have got so much provably wrong.

Jan 9, 2014 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterMydogsgotnonose

If you need a PhD in the appropriate subject to take an intelligent interest in science, I wonder how science ever got started. But Mydogsgotnonose, I've seen you comment about Sagan made many a time, to the point where our host possibly thinks it derails discussion, so I wonder could we arrange an off site discussion so that I could understand your ideas. You could email me on if you feel so inclined. Spammers take note, it is a burnable address.

Jan 9, 2014 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Cruickshank

Just thought, Piers Corbyn is a Lefty I think, so another one for the list.

Is there an alternative list, "Righties" who believe in CAGW? I think it will be shorter. But not as short as "people who don't profit from it in some way" who believe in CAGW.

It seems to me that any correlation is "indepenent thinking" versus "herd following" rather than a particular right/left thing. Contrary to popular opinion the BH regulars at least seem to be a collection of individuals from varied backgrounds who have arrived at their conclusions independently rather than as being part of some group.

Jan 9, 2014 at 9:40 AM | Registered CommenterSimonW

SimonW: You're right about Corbyn, brother of Jeremy, the Labour MP for Islington North when I lived in those parts in 1987-1990 and still today. Harold Ambler is another important US leftie who is deeply concerned about the effects of so-called global warming mitigation policies hoovering money into the pockets of the rich few at the expense of the poor.

Jan 9, 2014 at 9:59 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Recently deceased, Alexander Cockburn was a GW sceptic, and about as leftist as anyone I can think of.

Jan 9, 2014 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Wilson

Simon W
"It seems to me that any correlation is "independent thinking" versus "herd following" rather than a particular right/left thing."
Absolutely. Yet the "clueless bumblers" in the social sciences who study us insist that we behave in the way we do because of our cultural background and worldview.

Evidence for your statement is hidden in the supplementary data of this paper by Capstick and Pidgeon.
(It says it's open access so everyone should be able to see it).
In tables S2 and S3 they find strong positive correlation between scepticism and individualism, but none between scepticism and voting conservative. In the main body of the paper, the link between scepticism and individualism is mentioned, but the lack of link between scepticism and voting intention is not.

Jan 9, 2014 at 10:38 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Where's the disrupter gone ?
very ironic The audio was all about new green/left trying to close discussions down.
And he/she came here to do exactly do that.

Jan 9, 2014 at 10:42 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

- Salient point is Guardian Types RACISM : "(our) Green is the only way,
Non-greens are evil"
- Graham Strouts had a good essay about "Left is the new right"
old left was
1. pro-progress to improve workers lives.
2. and pro tolerance

- It's not that we old green/left have moved
rather it's the political establishment that has moved.
- Watts, Bishop and others labelled ex-greens are still the real greens.
They are certainly pro environment whereas alarmists are not, their dogma is counter productive.

- However it's not new is it ?
Hard left like Stalin has always
SHOUTED for socialist values
ACTED with facist values

- BTW : Left/Right labels are arbitary
Marx "workers should control the means of production", seems to say workers should all be small business owners

- God shaped hole
Yes, believing dogma is EASY
.. Nice to belong, to fit in etc.
Thinking rationally about complex things is HARD

Jan 9, 2014 at 10:46 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

stewgreen: That is a really helpful contribution in note form. I only have one question: do you think when Richard Bean used the phrase 'God-shaped hole' of himself he was implying that he already was locked into easy dogma - or just that it was an ever-present danger? :)

Bean may have been implying easy dogma for those youngsters we see buying into CAGW - though even there I would say there was more empathy than that. (Empathy's my big word for 2014 I've decided!) But the most basic thing Bean was saying, if I heard him right, is that he can detect a God-shaped hole in himself. He didn't imply that he had had it filled (like at the dentist) with easy dogma. Or indeed with Blaise Pascal's “fire, fire, fire, joy, joy, joy!” (which is difficult to reproduce, to be honest) or with mind-altering substances or with anything else. Just that it was there. There was considerable humility and vulnerability showing at that point, I thought, that I'm sure Melanie Phillips appreciated. But others may have heard it very differently.

Jan 9, 2014 at 11:20 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Thanks Stew here is the link Greens to the Left of Greens to the Right? I draw heavily on an interview with Brendan O'Neill. Traditional socialism was genuinely progressive in respect to supporting new technology, and a belief in human progress. Modern environmentalism is misanthropic and has its roots in fascism, particularly interesting is the link with Mother Earth/New Age religion and Nazi occultism which have similar roots. Many environmentalist causes are deeply conservative, paternalistic (think Prince Charles, Goldsmith, Schumacher) and traditionalist (keeping the poor -but close to the Earth, eg Vandana Shiva and anti-GMO). The impulse to supra-national orgs. and suggestions of One World Government wrt AGW and concepts of "denialism" etc seem more Orwellian with thought police and so on, which looks far-left in some respects, but both right and left have totalitarian extremes which merge into each other.

Jan 9, 2014 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraham Strouts

Graham: Sorry that in all the time you've followed me on Twitter I've not looked at your blog. That first thread looks incredibly interesting and to the point. I've long bought into the virtual interchangeability of the two totalitarianisms and their occultic roots, as James Billington expounds in Fire in the Minds of Men and Michael Burleigh in Third Reich a New History. I agree about the worst aspects of the right taking over a supine yet highly vindictive left on the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Hitler-Stalin pact revisited. I don't think such language overstates what's there in embryonic form. The difference of course is the requisite terror apparatus is not yet deployable at the UN level. That is not a small difference. We have massive amounts to be grateful for as well as a gripping and indeed fascinating battle in our own generation. No pressure as they said on 10.10.10 :)

Jan 9, 2014 at 12:03 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

grahams link .. Not sure it was the one.. you talked about left becoming ant-freedom, not just greens.

Jan 9, 2014 at 12:35 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I am also a little perturbed to see Monty say that only people with a PhD in climate science can speak on the subject. Why exactly? Anyone with a good first degree in a physical science who independently reads up on climate science can be just as informed as someone with a PhD in climate science. Having a PhD doesn't magically make you anymore intelligent or knowledgeable than someone who does not (and judging from the PhD people I've met they've all been spectacularly unspectacular in the intelligent stakes (i.e. no more special than us mere first degree bods)).

Jan 9, 2014 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterABC

Richard Drake - very interesting comments, Richard. I would suggest that the whole point of religion is, and has always been, to acknowledge owning a 'God-shaped hole' and finding ways to tolerate the loss rather that rushing to fill it. If so, maybe this offers a clue o the intolerance, urgency and terror motivating a belief in CAGW.

Jan 9, 2014 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

Peter S: intolerance, urgency and terror are there in spades in all forms of bad religion. Is there any other form? Some say no. I think Richard Bean might be searching for something better. If so, I'll follow his case with interest. Because as we've been listening to him and writing about him it's come to me that he might be Dickens for our day. No pressure there either. :)

Jan 9, 2014 at 3:12 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard - I suppose if a 'good' religion were to exist, logically it would recommend tolerance, patience and self-containment to anyone wondering what they could do with (or how they might live with) their God-shaped hole.

The Dickens article is a very enjoyable read, BTW.

Jan 9, 2014 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S


Write your ideas on aerosols, cloud physics and radiative physics up for publication.

Nothing builds a scientific reputation like proving that all the other scientists got it wrong!

Jan 9, 2014 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

I'm with the evolutionary biologists. They suggest that the "God shaped hole" evolved as societies developed. A religion has rules governing proper behaviour. It has rewards and punishments. It encourages individuals to subordinate their interest to their tribe's, even dying for it.The priests make a good living and support the king.

Overall, tribes with a religion survived better than those without. A genetic predisposition to believe in god(s) had survival value, even without the gods.

Jan 9, 2014 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Climate Science religion has rules governing proper behaviour. It has rewards, false Nobel prizes and punishments, removal from paper publishing. It encourages individuals to subordinate their interest to their tribe's, even having incorrect papers pulled. The Scientists make a good living off Grants and support Michael Mann and his Hockey Stick.

With help from EM, could never have come up wit it myself ;)

Jan 9, 2014 at 6:02 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

@EM scientists don't try to prove others wrong, they try to prove THEMSELVES wrong
ie their own hypothesis wrong
..But there are so many scientists these days, that don't abide or understand the basic principles of science

Jan 9, 2014 at 6:13 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I'm an ex-Marxist myself and often "accused" of moving to he right due to my support of market economics and liberal democracy but actually I would self identify as "left" politically in many respects. I swallowed AGW completely and only disagreed with the Guardianista concensus over Nuclear power - to me it was obvious that Wind and most current renewable sources of energy are unreliable and ultra expensive. Provoked by the Milliband brothers I foolishly (in terms of my future blood pressure) started investigating and thinking for myself. Even before Climategate the paucity of the AGW science seemed staggering to me. Interestingly Marx would have made mincemeat of the Greens as he was a strong believer in technical progress - he attacked the Green equivalents of his day. To add to the list of left wing anti Green commentators see John Heartfield. His book "Green Capitalism" is interesting although I disagree with his theory that Green policies are supported to create artificial want in order to raise the rate of profit. The reality is more disturbing than that - rent seeking combined with a too powerful government/academic establishment in the grip of an irrational belief that has totalitarian implications. Put Heartfield in the hands of a young radical and it might get them to start questioning the Green consensus.

Jan 9, 2014 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterRecovering Leftist


You'll have to ask Mydogsgotnonose about that. I don't know what he's done to try and fasify his hypotheses.

Regarding the evolution of religion hypothesis, I'm not sure you could come up with an ethically acceptable experimental design to test it properly.

Jan 9, 2014 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

I’ve transcribed a large chunk of the interview at
More to follow

Jan 9, 2014 at 11:03 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Monty wrote;

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

Were you on the Akademik Shokalskiy?

kind regards.......

Jan 10, 2014 at 8:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterbullocky

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