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« Compare and contrast | Main | SNP accused of fabrication »
Monday
Feb022015

Inside scientivism

The BBC's Inside Science had a fascinating section (from 30 sec) about the recent research by Cardiff University's Nick Pidgeon on the effect of last year's floods in the West Country on public perceptions of climate change. Pigeon found that those affected by the floods were more likely to develop a firm belief in manmade global warming than those who were not.

To his credit, presenter Adam Rutherford noted that linking flooding events to climate change is hard, but he was neatly parried by Pidgeon, who wheeled out the attribution paper from Myles Allen's group, with its silly claim that global warming has made floods 25% more likely in the UK. Listeners were not informed that this claim was based on an unvalidated climate model with no proven ability to model precipitation (no climate model has). It would also have been interesting to ponder whether this 25% increase in the likelihood of floods has produced actually made floods 25% more prevalent. I think not.

Still, the section was about Pidgeon's study. My abiding impression was of a BBC presenter and a social scientivist sitting about discussing the efficacy of what amounts to a con on the general public. Julia Slingo's desperate misinformation about the human link to last winter's floods has clearly done its work. And the sense you got of the reaction in the studio was of "how interesting" leavened with a bit of "oh goody", but not a hint of "people are not understanding" or "people are being misled".

Oh dear.

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Reader Comments (38)

"Julia Slingo's desperate misinformation about the human link to last winter's floods has clearly done its work. "

- It still aggravates and astonishes me thinking back to the RSclimate event. It was only then that I found out how Slingo conducts & presents herself in front of a scientific audience is very different to how she does for a radio or other media appearance.

Feb 2, 2015 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterKatabasis

BBC Science has a major presence in Bristol and Cardiff Uni just across the Severn has been a "go to" spot for supplying some truly miserable AGW climate change = floods stuff pumped out on the local news Points West vehicle which covers the Somerset Levels.

iirc Points West regularly "book-ended" floods coverage last year with much earnest doom-mongering from academics obviously star struck at being contacted by "BBC Science" (the required content being over the heads of the editorial team at BBC Points West).

I suspect any survey would comprehensively skewed by both sample bias and that BBC propaganda blitz last year on the local level as well as Moonbat et al.

Feb 2, 2015 at 10:30 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Wrong thread...oopps

Feb 2, 2015 at 10:38 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

In Somerset the floods were caused by neglect of the drainage a deliberate policy conducted in accordance with some EU directive that had as its purpose putting the rights of vermin that inhabit the drains before those of the people who inhabit the houses.

I suppose that if these rules were applied in the Netherlands the Dutch would be asked to flood their polders. The EU would not dare!

Why the British have not told the Commissioners to sod off is something I have never understood.

Feb 2, 2015 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Colbourne

The way these voodoo religions work is that they tap into any natural event ascribe the event to the sinfulness of the potential recruit and then claim that by paying the priests (for their new computers), that they will somehow magically prevent the next flood, drought, rain, snow, etc.

And the problem with these religions is that those who join because of the flood .... get disillusioned by the droughts, those who join because of the drought ... disillusioned by the floods. Those who claim snow will disappear ... disillusioned by the snow, and those that will sooner or later join when we have a few winters of snow ... are disillusioned by the lack of snow.

But so long as there are enough gullible people who will believe first that we could possibly have caused the natural disaster and secondly that someone on a big computer can magically stop them occurring ... there will always be believers.

Feb 2, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Nick Pidgeon, at least according to the link on the BBC site is a psychologist who seems to have hopped on the climate bandwagon to explain hmm, the reactions of humans to the prospect of anthropogenic CC, producing a load of papers about social reactions etc. A notable number of local people are members of FLAG, the local flood action group who inter alia demand the rivers be dredged, they have been, at least the agreed bits of the Tone and Parret, some 8km, but these findings seem at best somewhat dodgy. Many of us know the area well, picking up 8 20 year old cars blocking a spillway as well as turning off the pumps to meet the EU's wildlife directives can hardly be dismissed, let alone whether this is just bad weather (likely) and bad river management( EA). He did not explain what "other questions" were asked of residents but asserted they suported. This is hearsay and not evidence

Feb 2, 2015 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaxW

I remember watching the discussion that included Slingo's disgraceful, unscientific statement. I could not believe I heard her correctly. Bearing in mind she was clearly briefing against the views of her scientists, who were actually practicing science, not, like her, indulging in politics.

Feb 2, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

The BBC has still not got the memo. I have heard and seen several programmers over the last few days (Gardener's World, Countryfile and several more on Radio4) which claim 2014 was the hottest year ever and it is getting hotter.

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:04 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I wonder why the locals demanded dredging, would it be because it was more effective than more windmills and solar panels.

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

More BBC brainwashing.

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Elliot

The BBC are good at pretending what they are NOT.

They are NOT a news agency, they are an overpaid dysfunctional marxist entity chockful sociopaths, with a mission of
propaganda.They are a threat to our lives. They are a threat to society.

But hey feel free to try and "look good" with them..Maybe they will reciproke, lol.

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterMars Shmallow

You are seeing the difference between 'effective ' and 'honest' in action , science is supposed to be the latter but one of the ways climate 'science' is special is in that its the former that really matters , and for Slingo there has been 97 million new reasons why this has proved to be true , while for Allen its the basis of his current career .

Its another sigh of how little the whole AGW thing has to do with science and how much it has to do with political ideologies and vested interests. Oddly the very things AGW sceptics are attacked for .

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

The full report on the survey is at the top of this page.

It was reported last week at the Telegraph and the Guardian.
They can't be accused of not publicising their results.

One point picked up by Emily Gosden in the Telegraph (but not of course in the Guardian), from a footnote on page 17 of the report, is that
"In 2005, 44% of people stated they were very concerned about climate change. This declined to
28% in 2010. In the present survey, only 18% of people stated they were very concerned about
climate change."

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I'm sure that it is a planned policy to emphasise the weather as a way to swing public opinion but it's a risky one.

Firstly, they need to remember that saying about fooling people. If they raise expectation of catastrophe today, they have to have the catstrophe tomorrow. Are they confident that the weather will co-operate? Rise in technology acounts for a large percentage of the perceived rise in weather disasters, is there enough real increase to keep people shocked?

Secondly, if you go all out to scare people about weather, they're not going to think 'I need to change my light bulbs', they going to think 'what is the government doing to prevent [insert catastrophe].' Where will the government out council be when the public use their own scare stories as evidence for spending money on stuff the government or council know is not really necessary?

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Don't know what they're arguing about. Quite a bit of the flooding was definitely caused by mankind. Well, a couple of specimens of mankind. See

http://metro.co.uk/2014/12/23/builder-deliberately-opened-sluice-gate-flooding-the-somerset-levels-4997116/

for some details.

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterChGr53

@Paul M url for link : understanding-risk.org
surely it's www.disinforming-risk.org @climate.religion.con

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:46 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I've been following FLAG on twitter and the impression I get is that they blame the people who did not maintain the drainage channels. How much of that decision was based on the belief that climate change was making southern England a desert we will never know.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2006/apr/13/water.g2

I notice the BBC drought pages haven't been updated lately. They not interested in good news

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456972/html/nn1page1.stm

This looks like a cleverly crafted deflection of the blame.

.

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterClovis Marcus

Danger to the sane : BBC show causes high Blood Pressure : Owned by Eco-loonies
I already marked such shows with a public health warning : So I avoid these hijacked BBC Science Environment shows Tom Heap, Adam Rutherford, Tw&t Cox, Attenborough, Science in Action etc.
It's their BBC
PS ..if you own Britiains largest media platform by far, then why would you PAY to advertise in the Guardian ?
..Like does the Guardian pay to advertise on the BBC website #corruptionORincompetence

Feb 2, 2015 at 11:53 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The Somerset levels were improved for agriculture over the centuries, by local landowners, farmers and people, for the benefit of local landowners, farmers and people, using land drainage schemes, dug and maintained, by local landowners, farmers and people. Inadequate maintenance of the improved land drains, was not an acceptable risk for local landowners, farmers, and people.

Take control of the land drainage, from the local landowners, farmers and people, and put it in the hands of administrators, who probably don't own a pair of wellies, who deliberately allow the land drains to become clogged with silt and weed, and it is only a matter of time, before flooding happens.

This is Man Made Flooding, blamed, conveniently, by a female meteorologist, on global warming.

Go straight to prison. Do not pass go. Do not collect your pension of £200k.

Feb 2, 2015 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

The problem with BBC science programs is that the presenters are so lightweight. Take Quentin Cooper who was (seriously) called "the world's most enthusiastic man" and "an expert on everything from pop music to astrophysics." Besides the not very funny jokes and the quick talking there was nothing very much and the BBC science show was more fop and "scientertainment" that anything serious. He got dumped a few years ago for the younger, prettier, but even more lightweight Adam Rutherford. If you ever expect in-depth discussion on the BBC radio science magazine programs forget it - it's all gosh and wow and amazing and free publicity for scientists.

IMHO they need a heavyweight to do interviews (no not Jim Al Kalali per-lease) and then we might get somewhere interesting instead of Rutherford asking "what have you done?"

Feb 2, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBehind the times

There are always weather disasters. At least weather events of interest. If that is linked to climate change then climate change will be in the news every three months.

The question of the same disaster repeating is important. The UK floods regularly, which is OK. It's better than being in an earthquake zone. But if the same area floods more than before we would need to ask why. And the climate may be the reason (or buildings, or silting or...)

Yet, have the Somerset Levels had a 25% increase in flooding? Has anywhere in the UK? Has the UK as a whole?

Feb 2, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

BOFA earlier on Unthreaded said "more activism made out to be science. No evidence at all for extreme weather but its good for the cause as the public fall for the propaganda."

@NW replied The first bit neatly encapsulates the burning desire of so many of these lefty academics to suppress and silence dissenting views, the second is just a virulent outbreak of vapid meaninglessness.
...Hey, Prof. Pigeon, if your "scientists" could actually manage TO demonstrate convincingly that:
a) our weather will become more extreme in the future
b) some sort of anthropogenic factor other than "bigscarynumber of CO2 emitted must have an effect"
c) evidence that any proposed measures will make any difference
d) their ideological leanings don't fit perfectly with their "findings"
e) they are not, as the Climategate emails suggest, venal and incompetent.
...then most of us would be a lot less sceptical.

Feb 2, 2015 at 12:14 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Guardian focuses on : 88% of people believe in CC !!
The Telegraph focuses on "but only 18% are actually much concerned"

"A separate survey of 135 people whose properties were damaged by the flooding found higher levels of concern than among the general population, at 78 per cent"
- Let me guess the Qn - Was your flood damage your own stupid fault for buying a house in a floodplain and trusting the EA to do maintenance, or do you think it's one of those unpredictable parts of climate change you should be REALLY concerned about ??
...sounds like Prof Nick Pidgeon @PsychCardiff MBE is a psycho psychologist like Lew-d
Here's his Nov 2014 paper Geoengineering, climate change scepticism and the ‘moral hazard’ argument: an experimental study of UK public perceptions
Its weird its like the mental patient who think he is the doctor.

"Perhaps we should now ask whether it is time to banish climate scepticism once and for all, and for scientists to be more decisive in demonstrating how our weather will become more extreme in the future if we do not act on climate change."
Professor Nick Pidgeon In the Press Release repeated by the Luni-versity of Nottingham
"time to banish climate scepticism" we dont banish any other legal opinions ..so why us?
Latest tweets - "Does it really take extreme weather for people to believe in the effects of #ClimateChange? "
- "Citizen engagement with national policy: #energy project work by Prof N Pidgeon"
...sounds like he gets "the right results" so they fund him and use him to form policy .....#dangerous

Feb 2, 2015 at 12:19 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Philip Bratby: Re BBC science on Country File (Green Peter): I watched Tom Heap last night doing a pitch on insect-borne diseases becoming more of a risk to livestock. I said to my current Mrs P that it wouldn't be long before he said it was all linked to CC - and sure enough, within two minutes he'd suggested that it was the rise in temps (!!??) in the UK that had most likely caused the rise in these rare diseases in livestock. And none of it proven: the BBC do not need to give references for their claims. And that's a disgrace.

Feb 2, 2015 at 12:24 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Look into my eyes, concentrate, your eyelids are getting heavy...

Now repeat after me: the 1953 floods in SE England and Holland did not happen.

When I snap my fingers you will wake up.

There, glad we got that sorted out.

Now about these unprecedented floods, terrible aren't they.

Feb 2, 2015 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterclovis marcus

YOUR COMPLAINT:

Well, let's try (again).

Complaint Summary: "rising temperatures" causing x, y and z

Full Complaint: In this week's program we were told, over and over ad nauseum, that rising temperatures and climate change were heralding a variety of catastrophes which would seriously damage livestock and farming. Where is the evidence for these "rising temperatures" please? The fact is that temperatures have not risen for more than eighteen years. Why was this not stated? It was also stated that 2014 was a record hot year. Are you aware that his has now been acknowledged as incorrect? The BBC has a responsibility to report factually and honestly. This program was filled with exaggeration and misleading information. Where is the balance and sound research? This is shameful propaganda.

Feb 2, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Catley

this is also Dr Adam Corner (Pidgeon associate, co-author) and George Marshall's efforts at work at the Climate Outreach and Information Network

turning up persuading people these floods were 'climate change' - pretty despicable for a psychologist like Corner.

http://www.climateoutreach.org.uk/flooding/

https://www.buzzbnk.org/climatechange#aboutTheProject

Feb 2, 2015 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Climate Change is used as an excuse to cover up poor management. Simples!

Only a few years back, climate change was being touted as the reason why there was so much water shortage and hose pipe bans in the south east. This was to cover up the fact that even though there has been a significant increase in population (with consequential increase demand on water resources), due to poor water management, not one single new reservoir has been built these past 25 years in the south east.

Now we have climate change being touted as an excuse for flooding, when the root cause is poor management in managing flood defences, river managment, dredging, and allowing building in flood plains.

It is ironic that some buildling was allowed on flood plains because planners were being told that due to climate change, there would be more drought and less rainfall so the flood plains were no longer required and could safely be built upon. That just demonstrates how little understanding so called climate scientists and activists have.

Feb 2, 2015 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Philip Bratby
"The BBC has still not got the memo. I have heard and seen several programmers over the last few days (Gardener's World, Countryfile and several more on Radio4) which claim 2014 was the hottest year ever and it is getting hotter."

So true... BBC R4 World at One just reported WMO says 2014 *hottest* evah. Should it not be Global 'Hotting' now as 'Global Warming' is just so last century...

Feb 2, 2015 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterShrdlu

It would have been rather more scientific to take the poll this Winter which has had no flooding and no hence no unscientific hype. I rather think people would see it as the one-off that it was. Meanwhile lets prepare for the next drought - caused no doubt by climate change.

Feb 2, 2015 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

John Catley,

Sadly there are so many holes in your complaint that the BBC will just walk right through it with any number of papers supporting their position on Mann Made Global Warming (tm).

Regards

Mailman

Feb 2, 2015 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

The narrative is drowning in floods of dissonance.
===========

Feb 2, 2015 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

The drains were blocked with carefully orchestrated dire inertia.

Feb 2, 2015 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

There's now a transcript of the interview with Prof. Nick Pidgeon on BBC Radio 4: Inside Science, here:
https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/2015/20150129_is

Feb 2, 2015 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

I posted this in Unthreaded, but I think it's relevant here too:

More climate alarmism from the BBC.

I check out the San Fransisco rainfall history here and discovered that March is now the only month with an above zero minimum rainfall since 1849/50, and there have been 363 rainless months over the period. The lowest non-zero rainfall for most months is 0.01". The lowest for January was 0.06".

Does this remind you of anything?

I note that the smallest annual total was for 1850/51 - which at 7.42" was less than December 2014's rainfall of 11.70".

Feb 2, 2015 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

To clarify, my

The first bit neatly encapsulates the burning desire of so many of these lefty academics to suppress and silence dissenting views, the second is just a virulent outbreak of vapid meaninglessness.
...Hey, Prof. Pigeon, if your "scientists" could actually manage TO demonstrate convincingly that:
a) our weather will become more extreme in the future
b) some sort of anthropogenic factor other than "bigscarynumber of CO2 emitted must have an effect"
c) evidence that any proposed measures will make any difference
d) their ideological leanings don't fit perfectly with their "findings"
e) they are not, as the Climategate emails suggest, venal and incompetent.
...then most of us would be a lot less sceptical.

in Unthreaded was a response to:

"Perhaps we should now ask whether it is time to banish climate scepticism once and for all, and for scientists to be more decisive in demonstrating how our weather will become more extreme in the future if we do not act on climate change."
Professor Nick Pidgeon In the Press Release

I also saw that edition of Countryfile and it was a disgrace. "Warmest on record" - it was obviously a stuck record the number of times it was repeated, and CAGW blamed for every disease and blight they could think of, in the usual "We're not saying it's due to CAGW, but..."

Feb 2, 2015 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

@BarryWoods seems to provide evidence that Pidgeon"s team work in 2 parts
Part 1. His associates & friends do climate outreach, desperately trying to push a meme that Floods are caused by Climate Change eg1, eg2

Part 2. Pidgeon does his research
"Pigeon found that those affected by the floods were more likely to develop a firm belief in manmade global warming than those who were not."

Self-fulfilling prophesy ?

Feb 3, 2015 at 3:48 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

That would seem to be the basis of what the warmists call "climate communication".

Hammer the public at every opportunity using every possible means (like this week's Countryfile for example) with simple memes, hottest year ever, extreme weather, climate change etc. etc.

Claim that the public are very worried by these things and something must be done.

Feb 3, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterNW

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