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Discussion > The Sceptic Skeptic. Open Letter to Bishop Hill

Iwannabe, two quick comments: (a) The Royal Society is an august institution, with its Fellows being very distinguished scientists in their own fields. As an institution, it does not however embody 'science'. So attacking the public pronouncements of the presidents of the royal society is not necessarily the same as attacking science. Picking an example closer to your interests, do you think all archeologists always agree on matter of archeology with the leadership of the Royal Archeological Institute? (b) You are right, one fascinating aspect of science is the people involved and their stories. However, you are quite wrong to imply that the "data is dull" and not worthy of any interest. Science is about data, ways to interrogate nature to obtain data, and ways to interpret it. If you are not at all interested in the data and what it means, then you are missing a huge amount of what science is about - and in particular, what the debates about AGW are about.

Feb 21, 2012 at 9:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Harvey

Feb 21, 2012 at 9:02 AM | Jeremy Harvey>>>>

Well put.

As an analogy, You couldn't present a meaningful history of interesting people, such as Newcomen, Trevithick or Stevenson, without including their specific contributions to the development of the steam engine.

You simply have to work with the "dull data" to at least equal the diligence of a 16 year old student.

Feb 21, 2012 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

iwbas..your post at 7.40: "sceptic scientists [Stott] and loud mouths like Monkton"

iwbas..Your post at 7.58: "unless I enter into the puerile name calling of my opponents then I am to be excluded. Is that your message? I have been very up front in my posts-".

Those two conflicting statements lost you the argument. Mr Monckton is your host if you did not know.

Feb 21, 2012 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

Oh dear. I appear to be in the strange position of adding information supplied by Zed and subsequently deleted. Our host is staying firm to deleting ALL correspondence from the Truro Troll.

In this instance, all Zed did was correctly point out to Disko Troop that our good host is Mr Montford, not 'Monkton'.

Feb 22, 2012 at 2:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy


I have read your piece through a couple of times and have formed the opinion that you have little concept of the many headed beast that Climate Science has become.

I suspect that if the writer of this article linked below and I met in a pub we might agree about very little (Counterpunch is very left in its views) but he lives on a yacht which makes him an OK guy to me!!! Here he is spot on. I see he was a Pentagon analyst. You will notice that Mr Spinney recommends reading some book called the Hockey Stick Illusion - I am sure you have? I can see my copy from here.

GroupThink has taken over and It struck me when reading this subject that it still has not occurred to some of those who want to cool the planet by geo-engineering that the Sun might actually do it for them without spending any money - after all it has done many times in the past.

The depressing part of the Bishop's report on the RS is the factual content and the need to write it all.

Feb 22, 2012 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

Richard Betts Feb 16, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Michel Crucifix gave it a go and got put right off - he's told me he won't be coming to BH (...)

Perhaps his authority was not adequately acknowledged.

Feb 22, 2012 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Perhaps his authority was not adequately acknowledged.
Maybe he should try not talking down to people.

Feb 23, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson


As in this case, I don't bother to read any authors or commentators who use the word "denier". That's a typical expression one would find someone on the alarmist(!) side of the debate using and is a dishonest emotional device to equate sceptics and holocaust deniers. Which you knew of course when you chose that label, didn't you?

Feb 26, 2012 at 1:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

"I prefer to be courteous"

Your brother, the 'dull engineer' may differ! Your opening statement seems at odds with it, too.

Mar 5, 2012 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

iwannabeasceptic raised an interesting point. He wrote: ' I use the term carefully: a denier will refute any information that does not conform to their beliefs.' Being careful, 'refute' here means 'reject/deny' (rather than its primary meaning of 'disprove').

By that definition, the Mann-Jones-Hansen-Gore-Houghton... network is composed exclusively of Deniers. And that is true. AGW theory has become what Julian Jaynes called a Scientism - an avowedly scientific system of ideas embraced with religious fervour by its devotees, for example (JJ) psychoanalysis. We have a lot of these today: AGW, the Big Bang, Darwinism... some no doubt true, some false, but all anti-scientific in the sense that they discourage and disparage any challenge. According to the frequently cited definition by Karl Popper, a scientific theory is one which can be falsified; the attempted falsification, the act of scepticism, is an essential part of the scientific process.

Apr 11, 2012 at 12:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterlogicophilosophicus

> The Royal Society was set up [or rather received its royal charter] to
> advise government on policy,

As before, it was almost the opposite. The initial brief was to offer _no_ opinion on science.

> just like your doctor if you ask about 'reducing the risk' of cancer and heart
> disease they will be uncompromising: stop smoking, eat healthy, exercise.
> Ask science how to reduce the risk of AGW and the answer is simple.

If you'd asked your doctor for treatment for an ulcer 15 years ago their answer would have been simple.

And have been completely wrong, even though it was the consensus.

BTW iwannabeasceptic, every one here so far has assumed you're male. Am I right in thinking that's incorrect?

May 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial