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« Do green claims hold up in court? | Main | Harry Huyton and avian perception »

Told you so

When The Conversation started up its UK edition, I pointed out that it was no more than a campaigning rag for superannuated teen-revolutionaries, funded almost entirely by the taxpayer.

By way of proving my point, take a look at today's offering from Lawrence Torcello, a professor of Philosophy at Rochester, in which our learned author cites the fake Gleick Heartland memo without apparently batting an eyelid.

A mistake? Perhaps so, but then take a look at another article today, by Rod Lamberts, the pschologist who runs the Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science.

There’s no profit in trying to change the position of deniers. Their values and motivations are fundamentally different to those of us who listen to what the weight of scientific evidence tell us. So forget them.

Forget the Moncktonites, disregard the Boltists, and snub the Abbottsians.

Now I have sat next to Monckton when he has explained that everyone agrees that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. By way of confirmation, here is an article from the Telegraph, which quotes him as follows:

Yes, there is a greenhouse effect. Yes, CO2 contributes to it. Yes, it causes warming. Yes, we emit CO2. Yes, warming will result. But not a lot

So it is fair to say that Mr Lamberts has made up the bit about Moncktonian deniers. It seems that the Australian National University wants science communication to involve misinforming as many people as possible.

As for The Conversation, I rest my case.

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Reader Comments (68)

This crap will continue untill they have to pay a price for doing so ,
Needs some good legal action on our side .

Mar 13, 2014 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterSweet Old Bob

I pointed out that it was more than a campaigning rag

.. no more than .. ?

[Thanks, done.BH]

Mar 13, 2014 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Isn't Torcello repeating a proven libel?

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

I mourn for philosophy. Philosophers should have been the first to expose this 'Extraordinary Popular Delusion and Madness of the Crowd' which is CAGW.

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Don't look at me. In my philosophy study, all the papers were written between Six and Seven in the morning, and typed between Seven and Eight.

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

[Raise the tone please]

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Maloney

Kim, I have posted this link a few times over the years, but I still think Martin Cohen has written the best essay on the Sociology of AGW. ( Keywords - Cascade theory, madness of crowds): -

The Copenhagen summit is in full force, and so too is the idea that man-made global warming is incontrovertible. But Martin Cohen argues that the consensus is less a triumph of science and rationality than of PR and fear-mongering...

Beyond Debate? (THES, 10th December 2009)

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:21 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

The error, Iap, was to believe in the power of Narrative over Nature. It is an ancient and useful fallacy.

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

that is very TAME, compared to this presentation he the University f Western Australia. (Sept, 2012)
see slides 30:30 and 42:40!!!

and he goes after Lindzen, Spencer, Christy at 9 minutes

and he goes after named politicians at the end 47 mins.. calling 'these people' wilfully ignorant, completely foolish or corrupt, then goes on to say how to handle that.. to morally condemm them, and to be silent (ie not doing that) is to be complicit.

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Bish, where do the users of 'denier', like Rod Lamberts, define it in such a sensible way as you do? You imply that saying

Yes, there is a greenhouse effect. Yes, CO2 contributes to it. Yes, it causes warming. Yes, we emit CO2. Yes, warming will result. But not a lot

shows that Monckton is not a denier. But isn't that using your own definition of the term (albeit shared with people like Judy Curry)? Where has anyone of prominence who has actually used 'denier' been this precise?

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:30 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Yes, warming will result. But not a lot, and probably not enough.

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

One of the difficulties we face is so few CAGW apologists understand the reliance the alarmist scientists place on dubious feedbacks.

Maybe someone should conduct a survey in academe asking how much warming is expected directly from CO2 and how much from ancillary temperature dependent factors. I suspect the results would make it fairly clear the alarmist case is floating on a sea of academic ignorance.

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarnwennan

Floating, one wing full of hope, the other full of hype.

Mar 13, 2014 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Or, to put my question another way, isn't 'denier' actually the evil twin of The Empty Shibboleth? (As you later didn't call it.) The vagueness and emptiness in one part is matched with a word that (like it or not) implies that dissidents of any stripe (lukewarmers and policy sceptics included) are wilfully disregarding something of utter certainty, importance and horror.

It is indeed certain that "climate change is happening". But important and horrible it ain't - or at least that is about as far from certain as it's possible to be. I don't think we should concede that Doug Cotton should be called a denier, let alone Rhoda or Martin A. It's a word that denotes transgression in the mouths of those who actually use it in anger. It's bunk. We shouldn't go along with its abuse - and all use of it in the climate debate became abuse long ago.

Mar 13, 2014 at 3:11 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Academic Freedom

Free to insult
Free to lie
Free to be incompetent
Free to milk the public

etc., etc.

Mar 13, 2014 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

I'm with rick Bradford, Bish. Has any qualified comment from the likes of your Grace been given to 'The Conversation'?

Mar 13, 2014 at 3:30 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

It's clear now what "denier" means. If you believe that speculation on what temperatures will be like one hundred years from now is unscientific and virtually useless, you are a "denier."

Mar 13, 2014 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

Comments to the article include Barry Woods explaining to the author that the Gleick reference is somewhat suspect.

But they also include several comments from a denier nutter named "Alistair McDhui". In my opinion, this destroys any attempt to educate the author, as he has far more work to do to extract the valid comments from the dross, and probably wont bother with either.

Mar 13, 2014 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Ass. Prof Torcello really does like to invoke projectile vomiting. Here's a starter:

"Many scientists recognize these civic and moral obligations. Climatologist Michael Mann is a good example; Mann has recently made the case for public engagement in a powerful New York Times opinion piece"

"More deaths can already be attributed to climate change than the L’Aquila earthquake [300] and we can be certain that deaths from climate change will continue to rise with global warming. Nonetheless, climate denial remains a serious deterrent against meaningful political action in the very countries most responsible for the crisis."

"We [no indication of who 'we' is] have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent. The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend to all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus."

I note that Barry Woods has dropped in with a comment, but my blood pressure will not allow me to get stuck into this piece of sh*t. But I did take note that the Ass Prof made every effort to show that none of his sponsors etc could be tainted as being big oil etc. Shame then that when you look up Rochester Inst Tech you can see (what they admit is an incomplete list - why incomplete?) the names of there major industrial sponsors. Toyota (petrol engines?) and Dow Corning (plastics?) and American Packaging (plastics?) are some of the names I could find. Of course, they would not exist were it not for Big Oil!!

The man's a hypocrite. We have more to fear from the cold than a warming climate. Who will be the 'criminally negligent' then?

Mar 13, 2014 at 4:07 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

I thought it quite an amusing article. Taking Italy as some sort of bastion of judicial probity and integrity was a good start. Then the kind remarks in the comments that sceptics should not be judged too harshly, it is a form of madness rather than criminal intent. And so on.

Mar 13, 2014 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Based on stylistic issues, I think that Alistair McDhui is none other than mydogsgotnonose/spartacusisfree/alistair from this parish.

Mar 13, 2014 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

By denier they mean denying all 3 of the following tenets of the climate change cult:
a) it's warming.
b) it's our fault.
c) it's going to get worse.

Skeptics say there are no actual facts to support b) and c) is based only on obviously crap models.

Believers seem to need only a) to be true to believe in b) and c) because somehow they cannot conceive of the planet warming all by itself - despite ample evidence that it can and that 0.6K/century is not really a big deal in the great scheme of things.

The use of the term is only offensive because of the awful association with the holocaust but since Roy Spencer has gone Godwin, maybe we should all call them climate nazis at every opportunity just to give them a taste of their own bile until they start to be behave like adults.

Mar 13, 2014 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Steveta_uk: I had some sympathy for your denier nutter named "Alistair McDhui". Did you, like me, get the impression it could have been spartacus/mdgnn/etc? At least he gave the Ass Prof and bit of grief.

PS: See I was beaten to my impressions by 'anonymous' :-)

Mar 13, 2014 at 4:17 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

I have put a comment on the Lamberts article in my usual diplomatic tone.

Mar 13, 2014 at 4:31 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Too modest by half, Dr Matthews.

That's two desperate incoherent rants from climate propagandists in the same day.
What are these people calling for? Suspension of democracy so that they can get their own way? Shouting in a louder and shriller, more hysterical way, as the so-called "Conversation" seems to be doing? If they understood anything at all about climate scepticism, they would know that this behaviour is counter-productive.

So bring it on, Lamberts and Torcello. Rant and Rave. Hurl abuse at anyone who doesn't share your own view. And public opinion will continue to move to the sceptic side.

Great stuff.

Mar 13, 2014 at 4:55 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Paul Matthews: Read your diplomatic comment. Well said! Lamberts and Torcello are obviously working in harness - they both seem to want a denial of democracy and to burn books. And then they have the gall to claim that all that is wrong with the alarmist side is that they are not getting their message across. The word 'communication' occurs five times in Lamberts' article and nine times in Ass Prof Torcelli's. Considering the communicators they have to call on I figure they need to raise a complaint with the likes of the BBC etc.

Mar 13, 2014 at 5:07 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Just another AGW bigot.
Here is what he is really saying:

"There’s no profit in trying to change the position of ni**ers. Their values and motivations are fundamentally different to those of us who listen to what the weight of scientific evidence tell us. So forget them."

No psychologist would make that claim. I question that bigot's credentials, and certainly his professionalism.

Mar 13, 2014 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

They are breaking their own rules, it seems ...From The Conversation's : Charter Page

"Provide a fact-based and editorially independent forum, free of commercial or political bias. (using "denier, denialist" is political ..they are not scientific words)
•Ensure the site’s integrity by only obtaining non-partisan sponsorship from education, government and private partners. Any advertising will be relevant and non-obtrusive. (all of the listed seem to have agendas)
•Ensure quality, diverse and intelligible content reaches the widest possible audience by employing experienced editors to curate the site. (why didn't the editors pick up the flaws ?)
•Support and foster academic freedom to conduct research, teach, write and publish. (by shouting denier if you disagree ?)
•Work with our academic, business and government partners and our advisory board to ensure we are operating for the public good ... (is it ? How do they check this ?)
"Report abuse of any kind"

from their Twitter feed @ConversationUK
"Corporate funders of global warming denial are corrupt and deceitful. They must be charged of criminal negligence" ..doesn't sound very non-political to me
- "London is not very green but this could soon change—with more skycrapers "
- "Climate change denialists who pour money to mislead the public must face charges of criminal negligence By @Ltorcello" ..another non-political tweet ? the link goes to the Torcello article we are discussing
- "Bob Crow obit: a passionate fighter for members' rights who worked his way up through the ranks." ..non political ?

Mar 13, 2014 at 5:18 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


It's clear now what "denier" means. If you believe that speculation on what temperatures will be like one hundred years from now is unscientific and virtually useless, you are a "denier."


By denier they mean denying all 3 of the following tenets of the climate change cult:
a) it's warming.
b) it's our fault.
c) it's going to get worse.

Skeptics say there are no actual facts to support b) and c) is based only on obviously crap models.

Nice answers. I respect you both but my challenge remains unanswered. Can anyone find a precise definition of denier from those like Lamberts and Torcello, Mann and Trenberth, Miliband and Obama, who have actually used the term in anger? (And anger seems a fair word indeed.)

Otherwise it's like adopting a conciliatory definition of 'vermin' from a pious Jewish leader in Germany in 1930s, hoping against hope to escape the worst, rather than the hate magazine actually using the term. What do the users of denier mean by it? That's the crucial thing to discover and repudiate.

Then we can get on to Roy Spencer 'going Godwin', as JamesG nicely puts it, and whether we should follow. But let's not pass over, perhaps through a misplaced sense of decency, the foundational question underlying all that.

Mar 13, 2014 at 5:28 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

hmm , CO2 a green house gas, but what actual effect does it have.

In order to maintain a constant terrestrial blackbody emission integrated over all wavelengths, it would be necessary to increase the emission flux in other regions of the spectrum and thus warm the Earth. Contrast this situation to a greenhouse gas absorbing solely at 15 mm, in the CO2 absorption band ( Figure 7-8 ). At that wavelength the atmospheric column is already opaque ( Figure 7-13 ), and injecting an additional atmospheric absorber has no significant greenhouse effect.

Mar 13, 2014 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard

"Denier" means "nonconformist".

Mar 13, 2014 at 7:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

"Denier" means "capable of thinking for himself". Very dangerous, and definitely to be discouraged.

Mar 13, 2014 at 7:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

a burning match heats the atmosphere as well

cannot be denied not it cannot

that's the sort of gravitas around all of the warmish sceance

Mar 13, 2014 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

In all honesty think Lord Monckton is his own worst enemy. What with peculiar claims about curing various diseases and I'm not entirely convinced about his claimed level of influence on Mrs Thatcher. That said, he is an entertaining egg!

Mar 13, 2014 at 7:45 PM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

tim: You're not the only one to have such doubts. But the influence the other way, of Thatcher on Monckton, is I think beyond doubt and it was of the best kind. He told us so against himself in June 2010:

A little vignette will illustrate her scientific integrity. In the late 1970s, a year before she won the first of her three General Elections and became Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, I had sent her a tiny piece of propaganda that I had designed, the Labour Pound.

The little slip of paper bore this simple message: “This is a Labour Pound. This is how small your banknote would be today if it had been shrunk to match the fall in its value under Labour. Vote Conservative!”

Margaret Thatcher noticed at once that the piece of paper was a little too small. Inflation had been bad under the Labour Government (at the time it was running at 27% a year), but not that bad. “Do it again and get it right and be fair,” she said. Humbled, I did as I was told – and tens of millions of Labour Pounds were distributed throughout Britain at the subsequent General Election, to satisfyingly devastating effect.

For that, at the very least, respect.

Mar 13, 2014 at 7:57 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

The Conversation has an interesting policy on comments. They let Barry Woods, Foxgoose and me tear Lewandowsky to shreds for a few days, then took down all the comments plus replies, including some requests by neutral observers that Lewandowsky and Cook should reply to our criticisms. They didn't.
Keep doing it, and academics, who are not all stupid, will start to notice.
They welcome articles, but you have to have a university email address to contribute. I nominate Paul Matthews as our intellectually acceptable spokesman. A well argued article making the points made above would provoke either a hysterical response or a deafening silence. Whatever, it could provide the basis for an interesting article on the morality of publicly funded McCarthyism in some favourable media outlet like the Spectator.

Mar 13, 2014 at 8:14 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

I sent a quick note to Heartland to alert them that they've been defamed, again.

Perhaps if Heartland sues Torcello and 'The Conversationist' for libel they can bring international attention to Gleick's fraud?

Mar 13, 2014 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

James D now has the story at breitbart

Mar 13, 2014 at 9:23 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Here in Australia, I was banned from commenting at the taxpayer funded theconversation.
The excuse was I used two email addresses, though this was never stipulated when signing up to comment.

I always used my name & links to dispute quotes but was abused by 'loved' regulars, violating rules & regs.
Therefore, my gmail was spammed with @thecon emails saying comment deleted.
I deliberately chose not to use my isp email address for just that reason.

Type 'communication climate science' into the con's search box and you get pages of posts lamenting the ability to communicate the climate science by 'leading communicators'.

A good communicator also listens. @thecon silences.
And Lambert admits they are losing ( the 'bad guys' are winning' he says).
Go figure.
A sad reflection on the intellectual state of debate in our universities in Oz.

Mar 13, 2014 at 9:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterhandjive

I am on the email circular from Daniel Hannan, Conservative eurosceptic MEP.

Todays article is a tour de force pointing out the uncomfortable truth that fascists really were reborn left wing totalitarian socialists and not right wing extremists as commonly claimed.

If you can find it, it is a brilliant essay.

And the connection to the thread? Totalitarianism reborn by ecofascists. If you don't agree with the Professor's view on CAGW, no matter how good your scientific credentials, it must be because you are evil and not because you can think for yourself.

Nullius in verba.

I tend to do as Frank Turner suggests in the lyrics of Sons of Liberty. Tell them to go f**** themselves and tell their friends to do the same.

Mar 13, 2014 at 10:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterThinkingScientist

By denier they mean denying all 3 of the following tenets of the climate change cult:
a) it's warming.
b) it's our fault.
c) it's going to get worse.

JamesG is forgetting

d) It can be stopped in its tracks by subsidising windmills and making heating oil and internal combustion vehicles too expensive for the proletariat.

Next winter when the lights go out on a cold night with no wind they will no doubt turn on the electricity utilities and blame them for the problem!

Mar 13, 2014 at 10:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGlebekinvara

Geoff, I dont think TheConversation would publish an article by me, after I have been so rude about Torcello and Lamberts. But people are noticing - even devout lefty Alice Bell has written an article about them in a highly critical style-
It seems that not only do the editors of TheConversation solicit articles from people like Alice who they think will express the 'correct' opinions, they also then edit these articles further, to sex them up a bit.

Mar 13, 2014 at 10:17 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Wind now down to 0.21% of UKs electricity supply

Mar 13, 2014 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Paul, Geoff et al: We shouldn't forget the early days of The Conversation, in October 2011, Climate debate diminished standing of science in some quarters: Nobel Prize winner featuring the reflections of Brian Schmidt. Why not Dr Paul Matthews in April 2014? I'd sound them out, at least.

Removing the comments after the fact on the Lewandowsky thread, on the other hand, is abysmal. That's what the new McCarthyites mean by deniers: those that must be excluded, from the debate, then from society, then from the 'land' itself. At the moment it's only some comments that are excluded but that is surely what's meant. That's why I think our own redefinitions may look pretty foolish down the track. But everything is worth a try - not least Paul's blistering comment earlier.

Mar 13, 2014 at 10:31 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Following on from my comment #126658 on Lucia's Blackboard, it appears that SkS team member Neal J. King made a huge error in assuming any molecules would run out of kinetic energy when they are moving upwards between collisions. In my four molecule thought experiment #126576 we are talking about a distance averaging the mean free path of air molecules between collisions. That's about 68 nanometres! Even in a whole kilometre air molecules only lose about 3% to 5% of their kinetic energy because that's how much the temperature drops.

So may I suggest that Neal J. King goes back to his Skeptical Science Team to work up a better "answer" to the trillion dollar question (which many will be asking when my book comes out) what's wrong with the Loschmidt gravito-thermal effect theory, which eliminates any need for explaining things with GH radiative forcing?

Mar 13, 2014 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterD o u g   C o t t o n  

Yeah, so what CO2 is a GHG but that is not the point is it? Man made CO2 - is the point and anyway CO2 atmospheric% rises as a result of T rises - not the other way around. There's no denying it.

Arguing the toss with a lot of antipodean eco-lunatics is not going to solve aught - they've got the communication problem and a lot of other mental baggage besides. Realists, we are winning the science, 'science'............. well what there is was of it, any road.

Mar 13, 2014 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Rob Honeycutt is commenting on the Torcello article and offers this perspective of deniers:

When deniers take offense at the term what they're doing is throwing up a defense mechanism in order to reject the obvious fact that they are denying very well established science.

He then states:

As for deaths related to climate change, pick any extreme weather event over the past decade. There is a high likelihood that event was made worse or more likely to have occurred due to our warming planet. With each of those events the death tolls are greater than they otherwise would have been if we were not increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels.

Who's denying the science now? The IPCC's AR5 does not support such a claim.

Mar 13, 2014 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud

Its slightly puzzling why the warmists are going bonkers aggressive on many sites now days.
They have their ideas pushed by the majority of the media without any sceptical questions being asked, they have had billions spent which has achieved nothing to help the environment and dont care,they get to smear and sneer and denigrate anyone who points out problems with their meme..and then use holocaust terms to describe their opponents without blushing..
Imagine if it was just about the science..
And they feel compelled to form "we hate climate deniers" facebook pages..which have amazing intellectual arguments like "Its not a pause its a hiatus".
I kid you not. :)
On a more humourous note Sturt University Western Australia have now edited all their pages claiming a "Nobel prize winner on staff"..they became confused because the scientist had received one of the thank you certificates from the IPCC...and thought that he was sharing it with Al Gore and the IPCC.
But it doesnt matter, it never does with these people, its all good for "THE CAUSE".. :)

Mar 14, 2014 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrapetomania

assuming I want to join the precautionary view on Catastrophic Manmade Climate Change: Does this "scientific consensus" have a recipe on how to combat our CO2 discharge?

They cannot seriously claim any of those windmill and PV investments is going to make a jot difference can they ?
Are there "scientific" publications that with a straight face promote windmills above nuclear and/or population control ??

Mar 14, 2014 at 1:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Hello, the link here from James Delinpole's article about this has an extra h in the hhttp portion of the link.... ;) Oh and enjoy the extra traffic.

And with regard to The Conversation. You are not really surprised by this are you? I certainly am not. Disappointed that they would remain this dense, yes, but not surprised.

Mar 14, 2014 at 1:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterLamontT

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