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« Graunocrisy -Josh 319 | Main | The Guardian backs big oil »
Tuesday
Mar312015

A lack of self-awareness

I caught most of Costing the Earth today, in which some of the problems with mainstream climate science were discussed. It featured a bunch of alarmists and ex-alarmists discussing aspects of the science that they had until quite recently decried sceptics for mentioning. Towards the end they wondered whether sceptics shouldn't perhaps be admitted to the debate. I'm not sure that they quite grasped the irony of this position and certainly, when the presenter asked about sceptics being presented as crackpots, nobody deigned to answer.

It's definitely worth a listen.

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Reader Comments (78)

There are ex-alarmists?

Mar 31, 2015 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Something is very fishy here! What are the BBC playing at? The bastards are up to something!!!! Seeds of doubt being cast upon the "established" science in some programmes, yet at the same time decrying sceptics in others? Could there be a possibility that they are softening Joe & Joanna Public for a change in direction, or am I just expressing a wish? Could it all be just about "the best available science at the time" kind of thing? No surely not?

Mar 31, 2015 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Hedging a bet, Alan?
They just killed their golden goose, Top Gear.

Mar 31, 2015 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

We will listen to it later. The irony is in the title of the programme. Climate change policies are literally costing us the earth.

Mar 31, 2015 at 4:58 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

good find Bishop

As the old song goes 'Last night as I lay Dreaming....'

At 0205 GMT I was listening to BBC World Service Radio and discovered another gem.
The programme was called The Inquiry.
It really blew my mind away because the gist of it was the lack of coverage of Global Warming on all sorts of MSM platforms.
Like Alan the Brit above, I shouted at the wireless ( I sleep alone) - 'You can not be serious! , or are they extracting the urine.
If anyone has a spare 25 minutes please try

www.bbc.co.uk/worldserviceradio/programmes/schedules

courser down to 0205 GMT and listen to 'The Inquiry'

One contributor who really made my ears prick up was a certain Joe Smith of BBC fame, he suggests that the best way to convince the sheeple about MMGW is not to mention the subject at all but to emphasize the benefits of a hair shirt society by appealing to the public's civic responsibilities.
At about 3 minutes in came the money shot. The lassie stated ..."there is a consensus among the majority of the worlds scientists that temperatures are rising most likely driven by human behaviour...."
There was a hilarious piece by some moaning Minnie about the fiasco of Copenhagen and how she is still suffering withdrawal symptoms. Funnily enough I cannot recall any mention of the upcoming last tango in Paris. Is Marlon Brando dead?
Enjoy
.

Mar 31, 2015 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterpatrick healy

I rather shouted at the radio when Lynas made a disgraceful comment - somt. to the effect that yes, climate change might be beneficial "if you live in the Arctic and want to grow pineapples." [quoting from memory]

Mar 31, 2015 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJit

Dr Helen Czerski comes across as someone who know how to 'talks the talk' (e.g. she welcomes negative results) but doesn't seem to 'walk the walk' (e.g. she seems to think models are basically correct, even when their results differ from reality) when it comes to scientific method.

I was also amazed that they questioned the applicability of the "97%" meme but failed to highlight the many questions against its methods and statistics.

Maybe someone in the BBC is trying to create a few 'fig leaves' to hide their position... just in case.

Mar 31, 2015 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

What a mess this field is. I wonder if Miles Allen has ever presented his theory of continuing warming disappearing into the oceans within the confines of a physics department seminar? If I'd come up with that type of clap trap I'd have been drummed out of the room!

And I'm not sure any of them grasp the significance of the Ridley clip concerning models; if there are contra indications from the real world, and the number of these grows in both number and significance, then something is going wrong. perhaps the models really aren't that skilled after all?

Mar 31, 2015 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Game, set and match to the lukewarmer moderates. What was interesting here was the fact that all four agreed:
a) There was a hiatus.
b) The science is not settled.
c) Scepticism is the basis of science.
d) Natural variation was extremely influential.
e) The 97%consensus was meaningless and about as scientific as saying that breathing is essential to living.
f) Concern at the fact that many honest commentators had been dismissed as being mad.
g) The Dutch government had questionned the negativity of the IPCC.
h) The rise in carbon dioxide was greening the planet.
And so on. And produced byTom Heap, is that a dollop of umble pie being prepared for Paris?

Mar 31, 2015 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered Commentertrefjon

Where is Alex and his transcripts? To get this out where it is easier to reference and mull over – if nothing other than to pick out the outright lies, as well as the most utter rubbish! “It’s not actually a huge amount to explain in the sense that global warming did not stop in 1998, the warming has continued below the surface of the oceans in particular…” Yeah, right. Also, it seems, the El Nino in 1998 was the world having a “hot flush” from which it is still recovering.

“The climate is variable…” Some truth, anyway, though we are told that there are temperatures that are “several tenths of a degree above what they should be…” Oh. And what temperature should they be?

At least the host does raise a few questions… but precious few.

Mar 31, 2015 at 5:32 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Maybe the BBC have started to realise that Top Gear fronted by George Monbiot, with endless tests of battery powered cars, failing to get anywhere useful, might be seen as a deliberate parody of BBC dogma.

Mar 31, 2015 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@ Radical Rodent, I've been working on something else today but tomorrow hope to give this one a go!

Mar 31, 2015 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

So they KNOW the world is getting hotter but they don't know where the heat is going. So HOW would they KNOW this? They KNOW this because they BELIEVE their models. Sounds like faith, not science to me.

Mar 31, 2015 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered Commenternzrobin

I keep dreaming of having unlimited funds so that I could enjoy taking the BBC to court for being in breach of their charter.

Mar 31, 2015 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Perhaps it is an indictment of the BBC that this programme stands out as being mostly balanced and reasonable when compared to the rest of their propaganda. I watched the Tom Heap segment on this week's Country File about tidal lagoons. This too showed balance, though having heard about concerns for fish and mammals being chopped up by the turbines, Tom missed the opportunity to point out to the RSPB talking head the number of birds and bats killed by wind turbines. Tom Heap had better be careful, if he keeps on making programmes that don't follow the party line. his producer will give him the dreaded cold meat platter for supper.

Mar 31, 2015 at 8:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

The BBC World Service sings from the same hymn book, but at a much more fundamentalist level, a bit like ISIS but not yet having discovered kitchen knives. Today I listened to a programme about why people were not talking about climate change, and what should be done about it. Sceptics are not allowed to have any sort of reputable position, they were described as those who don't like the solution and are able to challenge minor technical issues with "the science".

This was from some geographer at the OU (how come the most zealous are those with schoolboy knowledge of physics), hopefully Tamsin can apply a knee in the appropriate area.

Mar 31, 2015 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Its worse than we thought, the OU guy is a SOCIAL SCIENTIST, both knees please Tamsin.

Mar 31, 2015 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

An interesting show that I thought would be heavier on the framing than it turned out to be, though it seemed ML and HC in particular wanted to have their cake and eat it. The notion of scientists jumping for joy when their research turned out to be wrong seems to be very much out of kilter with the reality of any scientific discipline. The problem with the BBC's favoured science communicators such as HC is that their naivety looks very much like an agenda -- all very innocent, I'm sure, but an agenda, nonetheless. ML's comment about scientists telling people what to think gives the lie to HC's claim. No doubt that is what he thinks, but hasn't thought much about what the implications are. For a scientist, it would be understandable. But for a politics & history graduate, there's no real excuse for not being aware of what the counter point to such an ancient view of expert Guardianship is.

MH made some very interesting remarks, in particular about the Dutch Government's assessment of IPCC ARs treatment of impacts, which is framed by official priorities, namely enumerating risks. His remarks on the 97% survey were also useful.

I butted heads with Tamsin & HC this on Twitter. Tamsin decided that my comments were the expression of my latent sexism, and that I didn't know what HC's thoughts were. But the show bore out what I was expecting from ML and HC -- that they are naive and don't understand the debate, and are forced to frame it post hoc.

Mar 31, 2015 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Mikky -- This was from some geographer at the OU

You mean Joe Smith? And this programme - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02mnn29

He seemed to me to be arguing for some kind of vanilla censorship. The principle of debating policy in the face of criticism seems lost on many academics these days. All you need to be right is to be in the company of the right number of 'nice' academics.

Mar 31, 2015 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

precisely Ben Pile and Mikky

as I mentioned above at 5 02 PM about our mutual friend Joe Smith. Was this the same programme as I listened to on the BBC world service. I am a bit confused.

Mar 31, 2015 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterpatrick healy

The last word was "Just because we don't know everything doesn't mean we don't know anything. That's simply not true".
That was the take home spin - better use the Precautionary Principle despite the fact we keep being exposed as clowns.

There was a lot of sophistry about models being 'not wrong'. The point is the predictions are wrong and proven to be so. Policy is made on predictions not investigative tools.

One final point, Climategate!
How dare they suggest that climate "scientists" are sceptical and welcome being proven wrong. The emails show that is not so. Their actions, concealing source codes and corrupting raw data, show that is not so.

They did address the UNFCCC biasing science to look for downsides and not the truth. (Good).
They didn't address the fact that all climate "scientists" are trained in this reversal of the null hypothesis.

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:00 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

@ Radical Rodent, I've been working on something else today but tomorrow hope to give this one a go!

Alex Cull.

May I extend my grateful thanks for all of the extra graft you put in - for 'the cause', it should be marked. Speaking for myself but I am sure on behalf of some many other of my fellow commenters here - you hard work is very much appreciated - transcripts are particularly useful to ponder on and at length reading some of the preposterous guff the alarmist blob are wont to spout.

Cheers Alex!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

There was a hilarious piece by some moaning Minnie about the fiasco of Copenhagen and how she is still suffering withdrawal symptoms. Funnily enough I cannot recall any mention of the upcoming last tango in Paris. Is Marlon Brando dead?

"last tango in Paris"

I Like it Pat;-)

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Good point, Athelstan, and apologies to Alex Cull for my apparent dismissal of the excellent work done in transcribing. I have tried it myself, but my fingers are soon tripping over each other, so I do appreciate what is involved. (Also, Alex, apologies if I have your gender wrong; I have known few Alexes(?), but the female ones have usually been “Alix”.)

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:19 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent


when the presenter asked about sceptics being presented as crackpots, nobody deigned to answer.

Too polite?

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Nah, they've just listened to the Guardian podcasts and are beginning to wonder about the sanity of their own side.

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Ken Rice - 'Too polite'

Imagine that... 'Trying to keep the discussion civil'... by not saying anything.

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Like any TV soap with a declining audience, the Climate Change™ show (previously titled ‘Global Warming’) is being ‘rebooted’ in an effort to regain the lapsed audience, same cast though but apparently with new writers and a revamped "narrative".

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

Ben,


'Trying to keep the discussion civil'... by not saying anything.

As I understand it, that's kind of the definition of civil.

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Ken Rice - As I understand it, that's kind of the definition of civil

But not the definition of discussion.

Not having the discussion is uncivil. Literally. As is avoiding the discussion or policing the discussion.

We may have stumbled across what it was that doomed your project, Ken.

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Ben,


We may have stumbled across what it was that doomed your project, Ken.

Quite possibly. The whole "civil discussion" thing was a dismal failure. Although, I didn't really have some kind of project, just a naive sense that it was possible. I was wrong. It's all a learning experience.

Mar 31, 2015 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

It's all a learning experience.
What a shame you work so hard not to learn anything from it, though.

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:04 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Ken Rice - Although, I didn't really have some kind of project...

Nor even any kind of discussion.

The radio show was a more interesting reflection on failure, though wasn't it. Even in the WS broadcast, Joe Smith was able to reflect on his own failure -- or at least the failure of the project he was part of -- to take some responsibility for it.

What reflections does the one-time anonymous physicist have on his own failure? Is he here to punish sceptics for his own failures to discuss (let alone discuss civilly)? Or what?

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Ben,
Do you want to try asking a coherent question or one that makes any sense?

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:16 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Curious. I understood it. Not very pleasant, but perfectly understandable. Perhaps you need greater self-awareness to understand it…

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:25 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Ken Rice - Do you want to try asking a coherent question or one that makes any sense?

I was trying to get you to reflect on what you admitted was your own error, in the way that the people on the radio seemed able to.

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Ben,


I was trying to get you to reflect on what you admitted was your own error, in the way that the people on the radio seemed able to.

One error - IMO - was thinking it was possible. Another common error, is what I'm doing now.

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:45 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Ken Rice - One error - IMO - was thinking it was possible.

For you. Perhaps. But I've had civil, productive discussions with lots of people I disagree with. Half of those on the radio shows mentioned, for instance.

Apr 1, 2015 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Ben,


For you. Perhaps. But I've had civil, productive discussions with lots of people I disagree with. Half of those on the radio shows mentioned, for instance.

Oh, so have I. I didn't day I was incapable of having a civil discussion with with people I disagree with. I often do. I hadn't quite realised how perfect you were, though. That really wasn't obvious. Bear in mind that I have seen your twitter feed - well, until you blocked me that is.

Apr 1, 2015 at 12:14 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Ken Rice - I didn't day I was incapable of having a civil discussion with with people I disagree with.

No, that was the implication of my comments.

The problem I think the participants of the radio shows have got over (to greater or lesser extents), but which you, and if I may say so, some of your colleagues still seem to be troubled by, is that more than having discussion, you seem to want to police discussion. This is most obvious where alleged 'deniers' and 'lukewarmers' meet, and the result is a conversation which is not easily seen as binary.

You seem as troubled by nuance today as you were when I blocked you on Twitter, which is why you were blocked.

Apr 1, 2015 at 12:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Ben,


you seem to want to police discussion.

No, I don't. I simply have every right to decide how to run my own blog and have every right to decide what discussions to continue and which ones to leave.

I do find it amazing that a group of people who regard themselves as genuine skeptics, think that mind-reading is possible.


You seem as troubled by nuance today as you were when I blocked you on Twitter, which is why you were blocked.

Firstly, I actually have no idea why you blocked me (not complaining, just to be clear - I'm perfectly happy being blocked by you) as I have no memory of us every interacting on Twitter. I'm well aware that your theme seems to be that you see nuance that others can't see. Personally, this just seems like pretensious nonsense, but maybe I'm just not getting the subtlety. On the other hand, in most cases where people explicitly express their ability to see nuances that others can't see, it is because their nuance is other people's pretentious nonsense.

Apr 1, 2015 at 12:32 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

Ken Rice - I simply have every right to decide how to run my own blog...

You're not on your own blog. I'm not talking about what you say and do on your own blog. I'm talking about the tendency of 'consensus policing' that seems to turn up wherever there is a possibility of interesting discussion, to sustain the division of scientists-vs-deniers, if only by disruption. Heaven forfend there be a discussion, civil or otherwise, because to have a discussion is to admit that another point of view may be legitimately held.

Apr 1, 2015 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Ben, +1.

Apr 1, 2015 at 1:49 AM | Registered Commentershub

Ken talks not about not talking.
=====================

Apr 1, 2015 at 1:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Ben,


I'm talking about the tendency of 'consensus policing' that seems to turn up wherever there is a possibility of interesting discussion, to sustain the division of scientists-vs-deniers, if only by disruption.

Oh, I see. If only I didn't turn up and ruin things, there could be interesting discussions here. As excuses go, that's pretty pathetic.

Apr 1, 2015 at 7:46 AM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

ATTP = wind up merchant and thread bomber. As usual, he has said absolutely zilch of substance about the topic. He probably hasn't even listened to the programme in question. DNFTT

Apr 1, 2015 at 8:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterTC

All chat and no battle.
======

Apr 1, 2015 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Ken Rice - If only I didn't turn up and ruin things, there could be interesting discussions here.

You admitted that your project -- trying to keep the discussion civil -- had been a failure, in spite of it being possible and successful elsewhere, without you, and the tendency whose company you seem to share and are host to.

I make no promises about what would be discussed here in your absence (or at least your silence). I would point out, on the other hand, that you were given many opportunities to discuss the radio shows in question, and in contrast to your own views on the issues that they raised. You passed on the opportunities, preferring to put yourself in the middle of the discussion, as the subject of that discussion -- classic trolling, in other words.

After all, there is a difference between the contributions to the debate by the people in the radio show, and made by you and the Consensus Police tendency, isn't there? And it seems to be not just a matter of style, but of substance.

That's interesting isn't it. The sceptic's position is, at its broadest, that the consensus is used to shut down scientific and political debates. The consensus police's position is that the sceptics don't deserve debate, and that the debate has been had and won anyway. Now there seems to be a large opening up of the debate's ground, in which it has been realised that the policing tendency has done more harm to efforts to tackle climate change than was ever done by 'deniers'.

No wonder you don't want us to discuss the two radio programmes, broadcast by the BBC, within days of each other, which report from that new ground! It shatters the coordinates of the debate that you have been trying hard to assert over it for years. You and your colleagues are nothing if not prolific. I don't know how you find the time.

Apr 1, 2015 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

The programme should be played on a loop to school children in order to teach them how climate weirdos manage to twist every fact to prove their position.
It really was like listening to religious zealots.
All of them strike me as being somewhat mentally ill.

Apr 1, 2015 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Nicely said, Ben.

It is instructive to contrast the contributions ( and their reception) of , say, Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards, to those of ATTP.

However, PLEASE, Bish, do not ban him from commenting. I like to see his self-regarding smug effulgences....they reassure me in several ways.

However, difficult though it is, we should refrain from rising to the obvious trolling and reply only to any meaningful comments. They are so few as to not represent much effort in reply.

That is enough about him.

I have now listened to the "Costing the Earth" program twice in ever increasing amazement that it ever got past the BBC climate taliban. It is still full of misdirection and laugh out loud moments such as when it is suggested that climate scientists love to have their work questioned ( Michael Mann, anyone?) but it does represent a progress of some sort even if it is only being made for arse-covering and exculpatory reasons and TO CONTINUE TO DECEIVE US FURTHER.
There is a sort of nervous hilarity behind the discussion which leads me to infer that all involved know in their heart of hearts that they should really be calling the Guardian and the rest of the BBC out for the shameless simplified propaganda they churn out day by day, but expediency and career prospects mean that they do not.
I will not forgive these people.
Ever,.

Apr 1, 2015 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Ben,
In case it wasn't obvious, the failure was in the civil aspect of the discussion, not in the ability to have a discussion specifically. It was also a general, rather than specific failure. There are certainly people with whom I disagree who I can have civil discussions with; they just seem to be few and far between.

Bringing us back to the theme of this post, the rest of your comment just seems to be an illustration of a lack of self-awareness. It's all the fault of this supposed consensus police; if it wasn't for them everything would be so much better. It's just absurd.

You should seriously consider that this


The sceptic's position is, at its broadest, that the consensus is used to shut down scientific and political debates. The consensus police's position is that the sceptics don't deserve debate, and that the debate has been had and won anyway

is simply nonsense.

Apr 1, 2015 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered Commenter...and Then There's Physics

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