with Peter Sinclair
This is not science fiction. It is real. You will have to deal with it.
Not if you’re in denial you won’t! Just look at WUWT – it’s all because of the storm, and the data are being fudged!
I get the impression Dana, that over the last few years, Watts has been getting worse in that some of his posts are even loonier, like he is clinging even harder to his denial and will post anything that is anti-warming regardless of its merit. I know nothing he posts has merit but I just get the impression he is shifting even further towards the whacky. I also think his followers are mutating too, or is that just me?
There is a palpable disturbance in the farce since the canary fell off its perch.
Wormtongues Watts and Goddard have to know what is really going on in order to be able to deny. Denial is their profession. Their raison d’êtres are their abilities to continue spreading doubt and to keep misleading those that don’t know any better and don’t want to for whatever reason. Integrity, truth and shame mean nothing to them.
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed moron is king.
Our only chance is to keep educating.
Watts seems to be losing his mind and reasoning faster than his hearing.
An Open Letter to Scientists Who Still Deny AGW
So it turns out there is no aether.
In 1895, believing that light waves traveled in some invisible medium was a perfectly respectable theory with tons of supporting evidence. Oh there were problems, but…
By 1930, with all the evidence supporting Relativity coming in, holding onto the aether theory was a little pig-headed, but still understandable.
But it’s now September 1945, two atomic bombs have been exploded over Japan, all thinking people are debating what we’re going to do with the new atomic physics, and you’re still telling us and decision makers that light really travels on an invisible medium called aether.
You know what the real debate is now? How long do we continue to debate YOU and not look silly.
Watts belongs in a looney bin. He has long since lost touch with reality.
Climate Scientists also need to get better at getting their evidence is more widely seen. The media are bad at science, but scientists are not good at media.
Re: “The media are bad at science, but scientists are not good at media.”
I see this completely differently.
What is much more likely to explain the way the media operates it to realize that the media is a sub-set of the multinational corporate cabal that rules the world.
Keen observers see that there is a huge propensity the likes of Fox News, CNBC et al to take their lead from the CEOs of our major corporations.
For the fossil fuel industry, this means that denial that excessive CO2 pollution is a problem is a key media message. So Fox and CNBC dutifully promote the view that excess CO2 is not a problem.
And what do these media complexes chose to do with real scientists who are viewed by the multinational corporations as a threat to their profitability? Why they will use their minions in the media to make scientists look as foolish and misguided as possible.
I sense scant reason to believe that if scientists were the second coming of Christ, that they’d get a fair hearing in our corporate media. Christ, for that matter, with his message of egalitarianism, concern for the poor, pacifism and kindness to strangers would also be pilloried as a weak-kneed anti-American wimp.
As I see it, scientists are just fine at getting their message out. The willful destruction of truth being done by others.
That is certainly the case with the organisations you mentioned however, even in the unbiased media organisations, there is a severe lack of scientific training amongst reporters, and this includes science reporters. Unfortunately, scientists are trained to report their findings in a very dry, jargonistic way and making the transition to layperson’s terminology is not easy. There are a few who can do it.
I am well aware of the short comings of the media, but they are also lazy and want information presented in ready to use way, quotes, spokespeople, pictures etc.
The three or four organisations studying Arctic Ice all released their information on different days and in different ways. This just leads to what should be the biggest story, being “spread” thinly over days. As a media story this lost its impact.
I hope that the Arctic minimum is reported in a more coordinated way.
Re: “I am well aware of the short comings of the media, but they are also lazy and want information presented in ready to use way, quotes, spokespeople, pictures etc. ”
I have personal experience at this. Several years ago I led a large anti-war rally. I was able to speak to the reporters from the local newspapers and TV. Because I was sophisticated enough to understand the media’s predilection for sound bites, I offered a substantive variety of them to the reporters, hoping that a few would be picked up and used. Alas, I was sorely disappointed when I scoured our media coverage the next day. Not only did my soundbites not appear, the newspaper reporters to whom I gave an exact count of our numbers sandbagged us and said that there were only about 10% of the actual numbers of attendees as was the truth. They deliberately lied about a simple fact.
It was even worse with TV news anchor who was not present yet reported that “pro-war and anti-war protesters were on the street”. He implied in equal numbers. But there were 350 anti-war protesters to a mere 4 counterprotesters. Anyone watching the TV coverage would have never understood the real situation because the camera angles used by the TV report editor emphasized tiny groupings of people.
So Bob, my conclusion about the media is not that they are lazy, or not up to speed on science. My conclusion is that they are basically at the core dishonest and corrupt.
Watts probably thinks Denial is a river in Egypt, but describing him as a loony does him a great dis-service. We should have more compassion for his kind:
Every single one of them – from the Four Horsemen of the Anti-Apocalypse (of Jastrow, Nierenberg, Seitz, and Singer), through Lindzen, to all those that have been duped by the “there is no cause for alarm” mantra (I am thinking mainly the scientifically-illiterate journalists)… They have all invested a significant portion of their lives – and a great deal of emotional energy – into justifying a prejudicial prior assumption that human activity cannot or must not be responsible for the changes to our climate. Changes that were long predicted and long delayed (by other forms of industrial pollution); but which now are taking hold.
The realisation that they are wrong will be very painful and disturbing. I do not think it is an exaggeration to equate it with that which must have been experienced by people in the Middle Ages who had to come to terms with the fact that the Earth was not flat, nor created in 6 days, nor at the centre of the Universe.
The big difference now is that, 500 years ago the speed at which people were willing to re-draw their mental map of reality did not have an effect on the survival chances of civilisation. Today is different, every year counts and we have already wasted about fifty.
I think recognizing insanity in deniers is preferable to have Nuremberg trials. Yes, they may well be responsible for the deaths of millions, but I don’t believe that they believe it was ever their true intent. It would only feed into their delusions about a global conspiracy even more. We may someday find a way to cure that type of insanity.
Guy, I am not calling for show trials; I am calling for compassion.
There may be some who are paid to spout things they know to be false but, apart from influencing public opinion, I see little value in identifying and/or prosecuting them. However, I consider that deniers are generally not insane; they are just blinded by ideological and/or theological prejudice.
They are not mad; they are just wrong. And for that they deserve our pity; not hostility.
the trials will be lawsuits more like the tobacco example
I suppose it depends on how things develop. What if we just give them a free pass the worst case happens and millions die? “Oops you were so wrong and lots of people died as result. Oh well. you deserve our pity.”
Wouldn’t it then become an appealing perfect crime for sociopaths to join the denier industry and wreak havoc on as many lives as possible? If they know that society is going to let them off the hook in the end what’s to keep them from it? If the worst case scenario results from it, there could be demands for justice, but by then it wouldn’t help much to prosecute anyone.
Denial is a mental disorder that should have been weeded out of the population through natural selection and this is something I can’t get my head around. All human behaviour is an extension of base instinctual behaviours that by all rights aided in our evolution and got us through historical times when nature could well have wiped us out. Why does the male keep fit and go to the gym? Why does the female put make-up on? Why do some people have violent tendencies? Why do we have empathy? These are just a few examples of behaviour that can logically be traced back to instinctual behaviours. So where does denial fit in?
What is funny (or not) is the way some deniers accuse climate scientists of “crying wolf”. Anyone who has taught a basic statistics module will be able to tell you that the boy who cried wolf is always given as an analogy for making type 1 and type 2 errors. For those who don’t know, a type 1 statistical error is a false positive where you reject the null hypothesis when you should accept it and type 2 error is a false negative where you accept the null hypothesis when you should reject it. Deniers who claim scientists are crying wolf are essentially preferring a type 2 error over a type 1 error (assuming the scientists are in fact, wrong). If I put this into an evolutionary frame.
Its 100000 years ago and modern humans have evolved to something akin to us. One fellow is wondering about looking for food and he thinks hears a large predator but he isn’t sure. He decides that although he will go home hungry, if there is a predator he won’t go home at all. He makes a value judgment that it is better to be safe than sorry. Turns out there was no predator and now he’s hungry. No big drama, he’s hungry for another day. That is a type 1 error. It has a consequence. In the other situation, he thinks he hears a predator but writes it off as the wind, and continues on his way, walks on a short distance and is attacked and killed by the large predator. It has a consequence. That is a classic type 2 error.
It is well established that in statistics and science, type 2 errors generally have worse potential consequences than type 1 errors. This is why it boggles me that denial, being a type 2 error, persists the way it does. Is it that as humans progressed and found fire, better weapons, better nutrition, those susceptible to making type 2 errors were able to survive long enough to breed? Did communal hunting mean the decision makers, choosing to err on the side of caution save the idiots?
In my view, I think the answer to your quandary lies in threat identification. I think we all have that evolutionary aversion to risk, the complicating factor lies in the judgment over what should be viewed as a threat. First, most don’t deal with long term threats all that well. Second, we have competing threats that may win out in some people’s minds (economic alarmism). Also, there are those that identify with certain groups where environmentalism and environmentalists are viewed as the real threat. It seems difficult to change a person’s mind on threat identification.
The Alps are setting some records this year as well:
[…] 2012/09/01: PSinclair: You Are Here and It Is Now. […]
Must say I think the idea that we should be compassionate toward the leading deniers because they suffer from some form of insanity could not be more wrongheaded. The leaders of this movement are perfectly sane. They see themselves as at war. Climate scientists are the enemy that must be defeated at all costs. The deniers consider themselves to be like psy-ops specialists, creating and disseminating falsehoods in a tactical manner. As well expect such specialists, post-victory, to be remorseful about the lies they spread during the war to help the cause.
Switching points of comparison: Do you think Karl Rove felt guilty about having once slandered John McCain — for having suggested that he had fathered an illegitimate black baby — after his client Dubya won the nomination? Not a bit, I assure you. Turdblossom probably still congratulating himself on the coup. That’s they way these guys are. So save your compassion for more fit objects.
I did not say we should have compassion on anyone who has led the campaign to deny the nature of reality; and I am fully in favour of criminal prosecutions against individuals and/or corporations who can be shown to have misused public money or led governments to act in ways that were and are not in the public interest (i.e. in perpetuating the burning of fossil fuels and/or preventing planning for a post-Carbon era being implemented in an organised fashion).
Furthermore, I have no compassion for anyone who has deliberately misled anyone; my compassion is reserved for those who have been misled (i.e. the vast majority of those who say they are “sceptical”)
Not so sure, Martin, about that “vast majority” who you imagine are so very naive, so eminently dupable –whom you see as victims of the denialist propaganists. In the case of most people I talk to who are skepticism about climate change, there is a willful ignorance about them — they have chosen not to hear what the vast majority of reputable scientists are saying about climate. They simply will not be educated on this issue. I feel about them the same way I feel about the creationists, and that feeling not exactly one of compassion. More like disgust.
I guess I’ll save my compassion for the millions of people in the world, most of them in third world countries and living in abject poverty at present, who are going to suffer tremendously from the First World’s refusal to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. The longer we delay in adopting a serious national / international climate policy, the more they will suffer. And it is precisely delaying the formation of that policy that is the only aim and end of the denialist gang.
Dear kanspaugh: I totally agree with everything you say; including your equating climate change denial with young earth creationism. But that does not alter the fact that – as a former evangelical Christian (but never a YEC) – I feel sorry for these misguided and/or willfully blind people. However, if I were living on a river delta in Bangladesh and knew what I know; I suspect I would indeed be very angry. My choosing not to get angry with those in denial does not lessen my anger against those that willfully spread misinformation and lies; nor my anger about the consequences.
Regarding Karl Rove, here’s a recent item that sent a chill down my spine. Here’s Rove denying he was involved in a murder he was not accused of:
This sort of remonstration is often a “tell”. Though Rove is so well guarded and insulated from prosecution that we’ll never know how Michael Connell’s plane happened to fall out of the sky on a completely routine flight.
Makes you wonder about Paul Wellstone and Mel Carhahan.
I’m not normally into conspiracy theories but the balance of power shifted as a result of their deaths. If people kill for money wouldn’t they also kill for power?
Carnahan (is the correct spelling).
Re: Paul Wellstone’s death
I concur that the death of Paul Wellstone seems suspicious. The timing of the incident, plus the appearance of a cover-up in the investigation of the incident are both high suspect.
Re: “I’m not normally into conspiracy theories but the balance of power shifted as a result of their deaths. If people kill for money wouldn’t they also kill for power?”
Of course they would. A prime example is the situation in Louisiana. Prior to Hurricane Katrina the balance of power at the state level was slightly in favor of the Democrats. Once the evacuations of several tens of thousands of New Orleans residents to Houston and beyond occurred, the Dems lost the Governor’s Office and the control of the State levers of power.
I wrote a 125 page Hurricane Katrina Timeline and I covered the politics pretty closely. One of the absolutely outrageous things the White House did in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane was to declare a national-level natural disaster…. in every Republican controlled parish in the state. While every Democratic Party parish, including New Orleans, was left to twist in the wind. This was what that infamous shouting match between George Bush and then Governor Blanco at the airport was all about. Blanco saw Rove and Bush deliberately killing off the people of New Orleans in order to restructure the political power base in the state. Rove won that round.
[Aside: The population of New Orleans dropped by 120,000 from before Katrina to the current day: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/27/new-orleans-since-katrina_n_1834696.html ]
We got a great suggestion from Jason Alexander (of Seinfeld fame) on Real Time with Bill Maher last week.
Amazingly enough, Maher led an intelligent discussion about climate change denial on his show.
Alexander’s contribution was to suggest we put the 50 leading climate change deniers on the Arctic Sea Ice, wait five years, and see what they think…
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