Critique of Lewandowsky, S., Cook, J. & Lloyd, E. Synthese (2016)

Several commenters (Jaime Jessop, Ristvan, ROY) have suggested that it’s a waste of time analysing the output of Lew and Co. Best treat it as a joke. I’ve given the matter much thought, and decided that I don’t agree. We have to beat them at their own game by providing a serious thoughtful deconstruction of their theses. Hence I’m going to propose a thorough critique of the article for publication at Synthese. (Gosh, imagine if I could get published in a prestigious philosophy journal, fifty years after scraping through a philosophy degree at a university that boasts Christopher (‘Chris’) Rapley as Professor of Climate Science!) Here’s my draft. I hope I’ve hit the right note.

Critique of Lewandowsky, S., Cook, J. & Lloyd, E. Synthese (2016)

The abstract to this article identifies a group of critics of climate science:

“People who oppose this scientific body of knowledge because the implications of cutting GHG emissions […] threaten their worldview or livelihood..”


“oppose whatever inconvenient finding they are confronting in piece-meal fashion, rather than systematically”

and whose discourse is therefore full of contradictions, such as:

“claims that the globe ‘is cooling’ [which] can coexist with claims that the ‘observed warming is natural’ and that ‘the human influence does not matter because warming is good for us’.”

The abstract goes on to observe that:

“Coherence between these mutually contradictory opinions can only be achieved at a highly abstract level, namely that ‘something must be wrong’ with the scientific evidence in order to justify a political position against climate change mitigation. This high-level coherence accompanied by contradictory subordinate propositions is a known attribute of conspiracist ideation, and conspiracism may be implicated when people reject well-established scientific propositions.”

The idea that “mutually contradictory opinions” can become “coherent” “at a highly abstract level” is not immediately clear to this reader. However, the authors go on to explain what they mean:

“…namely that ‘something must be wrong’ with the scientific evidence in order to justify a political position against climate change mitigation. This high-level coherence accompanied by contradictory subordinate propositions is a known attribute of conspiracist ideation, and conspiracism may be implicated when people reject well-established scientific propositions.”

To summarise: The article claims that there are:

“People who oppose this scientific body of knowledge because the implications of cutting GHG emissions […] threaten their worldview or livelihood..” who contradict themselves, and who resolve the contradiction by attacking the science, thus revealing themselves to be “conspiracy ideationists”.

In the introduction to the article this group is further defined as:

“..a small but vocal group of contrarian voices [existing] mainly outside the scientific community—that deny that greenhouse gases cause climate change or that dismiss the risk of adverse consequences, [whose] dissent almost never finds expression in the peer-reviewed literature, and when it does, the research typically does not withstand scrutiny. Instead, the staging ground for climate science denial tends to involve internet blogs and other social media.”

The article continues:

“…there is growing evidence for an involvement of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of climate science, both in public discourse and on internet blogs…”

The sole sources cited for this “growing evidence” are three articles by Stephan Lewandowsky et al. In at least two cases, [the Springer site is currently down, so I can’t check the third] it seems that no-one has ever cited these articles, except Stephan Lewandowsky.

The article continues:

“In this article, we broaden the enquiry of conspiracist ideation to an analysis of the (pseudo-) scientific arguments that are advanced against the scientific consensus on climate change, and how they contrast with the positions of the scientific mainstream.”

In fact, there is no “analysis of the (pseudo-) scientific arguments that are advanced against the scientific consensus on climate change” in the sense of a discussion of the truth or plausibility of the arguments. Instead, there is a detailed list (section 1.3: “Alice-in-Wonderland states of denial”) of seven pairs of purportedly contradictory statements which are unattributed, but stated (without reference) to be “found in contrarian discourse.” This is followed by Table 1 which lists nineteen other pairs of unattributed contradictory statements, and Table 2, which lists nine pairs of contradictory statements made by the same person.

The nineteen pairs of statements in Table 1 are not quotes from named individuals, but brief summaries of possible positions which are either clearly not contradictory, or so vague that it is impossible to say whether they are contradictory or not.

The nine pairs of statements in Table 2 are quotes attributed to specific individuals, namely Professor Ian Plimer (three times), Professor John Christy (once) Anthony Watts (twice) and Chrstopher Monckton (three times). None of them are prima facie self contradictory. They are from varying sources. A statement in an article of which Watts is a second co-author is claimed to be in contradiction with a statement by Watts in a TV interview.

Here appears a major flaw in the paper. At no point is any evidence produced to indicate that Anthony Watts, Christopher Monckton, Professor John Christy, or Professor Ian Plimer are “people who oppose this scientific body of knowledge because the implications of cutting GHG emissions […] threaten their worldview or livelihood..”. There therefore exists no logical connection between the thesis proposed and the evidence produced to support it. The paper is therefore worthless.

Which is perhaps just as well, since such an accusation aimed at Christy, Monckton, Plimer and Watts would be patently false, and therefore defamatory. Two of the authors, Lewandowsky and his boy Cook, have already had a paper retracted because of its false and defamatory allegations against numerous individuals, including Watts.

Having presented the evidence, the authors, before outlining their findings, quite correctly, consider a possible objection to their thesis:

“Our analysis was performed at the aggregate level; that is, we considered the incoherence of collective argumentation among a “community” of like-minded individuals as if it were a single intellectual entity. It is possible, therefore, that individuals within this community would only hold one or the other of two incoherent views, and that each person considered in isolation would not be incoherent. In that case, one could argue that there is merely a heterogeneity of views in the ‘community’ of denialists, which might in turn be interpreted as being an indication of ‘healthy debate’ or ‘scientific diversity’ rather than incoherence.”

Indeed one could argue thus. And one does. That’s how we argue at That’s how Socrates argued, and that’s how Karl Popper argued in “The Open Society and Its Enemies” when he advocated “critical dualism”, or the necessity of distinguishing between the laws of science and the arbitrary rules of primitive societies, tyrannical jobsworths, fascists and religious fundamentalists.

The authors continue:

“We reject both the possibility and its hypothetical implication.”

Well, you would, wouldn’t you, you slimy little shits. Because the very idea that people might have differing views is such anathema that you think that merely demonstrating that some of the people who think that you’re a bunch of pathetic arseholes sometimes say things that are not in accordance with what some other people say (who also think that you’re a bunch of pathetic arseholes) somehow proves that you’re not a bunch of pathetic arseholes. And that by adding the names of Watts, Monckton, Christy and Plimer to a rehash of a blog article by Nazi crossdresser Cook and using the good offices of philosopher and female orgasm expert Lloyd to get published in a journal of epistemology you can further your nasty fascist project of keeping scepticism out of the public eye.

Well it doesn’t and you can’t.

This article is a disgrace to an International Journal for Epistemology, Methodology and Philosophy of Science. The editors and reviewers who passed it should sack themselves. Since academic independence is one of our most precious guarantees of freedom of thought, Lewandowsky Cook and Lloyd should be allowed to remain at their posts at their respective prestigious universities, to be ridiculed and jeered at until their retirement as the pathetic establishment-arse-licking charlatans that they are.

Dear Synthese, An International Journal for Epistemology, Methodology and Philosophy of Science,

I would appreciate it if you would publish this correction, prior to your retraction of Lewandowsky, S., Cook, J. & Lloyd, E. Synthese (2016). My fees are 500 US Dollars per thousand words, but I’ll settle for four hundred if you’ll put in a plug for our site Thanks in anticipation,

Geoff Chambers

84 thoughts on “Critique of Lewandowsky, S., Cook, J. & Lloyd, E. Synthese (2016)

  1. There is also the false claim that there is a consensus position on global warming presenting a “global problem”. While in reality none of the referenced papers investigated that aspect and at least one of the authors was an author in two of the referenced papers, therefor should know that this claim was false.


  2. Seriously, I think there is so much to fault with Lew, Lloyd, Cook 2016, you could get lost for weeks burrowing down each rabbit hole. You need to assemble a condensed hit list of the most obvious, glaring errors/inconsistencies (as revealed by Brandon, Michel etc.) and compile them into a punchy and devastating critique to submit to Synthese.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. If we look at the bigger picture, then the theme of the paper is that it misrepresents “contrarians”.

    For example by comparing newspaper clippings (skeptic position) with papers in scientific journals (consensus position), even when a skeptic scientist published his supporting results in a scientific journal (the same as the consensus scientist was published in).

    Also by using vague, general statements without any context (table 1) and misrepresenting claims from individual skeptics (table 2).

    It is my opinion that this invalidates the claim in the conclusion that “we provided preliminary evidence that the pseudo-scientific arguments that underpin climate science denial are mutually incoherent, which is a known attribute of conspiracist ideation.”. This does not necessarily follow from the arguments used in this paper, because it is not possible to know whether this conclusion comes from “contrarians” actually being incoherent or from the misrepresentations of those “contrarians” that makes them look incoherent. It then also invalidates the rest of the conclusion that build on this.


  4. Don’t wrap it up in polite journalese Geoff, just say what you really mean. LOL.

    If you seriously want to take this paper to pieces (and like Jaime, I think it might be a pointless, bottomless and thankless task) – why not break it down into sections and ask for critiques?


  5. Richard Drake
    It was indeed Karl Popper. I’ve been sitting in the garden reading “The Open Society and Its Enemies” (backwards, so I’ve only just got to Plato) and telling myself I must stop obsessing about these deluded rascals. There’s a whole intellectual world out there to explore (and I really must cut the hedge now the temperature’s down to a comfy 25 degrees).

    Brandon has an excellent analysis of the supposed contradictions at


  6. Geoff, your statement that “no-one has ever cited these articles” is not correct. The papers referred to as 2013a and 2013c have been cited and thoroughly debunked in the academic literature. One by Dixon and Jones, the other by Jussim et al.
    More on that story later.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “I’ve given the matter much thought, and decided that I don’t agree. We have to beat them at their own game by providing a serious thoughtful deconstruction of their theses”

    Geoff, your second thoughts at 9.21am are more rational. For whose benefit would be this “deconstruction”. Lewandowski’s entire output is designed to allow supporters of The Narrative to disregard anything critical without the need to address issues by labelling sceptics as mentally disturbed.
    Even his own clientele do not wade through the opaque logic, obscure conceptual language and grotesque methodology but just quote the sound bite of a conclusion. So why distract yourself from hedge trimming? It is a wasted effort to debunk a process nobody can follow anyway.
    A career spent in that other bastion of politically managed science – healthcare- has taught me to instantly recognised “science” produced to order to provide a rationale for a political position. On just reading the title of the “moon landing” paper I knew what was in it.
    The last paragraph of your draft precisely the best course of action.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ref this – CO2 is plant food vs. CO2 is just a trace gas

    the author of this contradiction, in none other than co-author John Cook, founder of Skeptical Science – where this Table 1 reference comes from..

    Thus we have evidence of sceptics contradicting themselves, as supplied by John Cook’s assertion that they do, provided by a link to his own website, where he asserts this statement is a contradiction – even though it is factually not contradictory – with no evidence/references for any skeptic actually saying this, or the context of a skeptic saying this…

    did somebody say peer review is dead………..

    Reply ↓


  9. Paul
    Thanks for the correction. I haven’t seen Jussim, and only looked briefly at Dixon and Jones. Peer reviewed refutation is of course the key to defeating this garbage in a normal world. But is this a “normal” world?

    Ive been browsing through what philosophers have to say about climate change. There’s quite a lot of it, and none as awful as this paper. But the bias is there, at the (still faintly beating) heart of our civilisation.

    For all its obscurity and frequent triviality, philosophy has been establishing (and rewriting) the rules of rational discourse for nearly three thousand years. Philosophers can politely and reasonably discuss whether the physical world exists, or whether slavery can be justified, but they seem to have difficulty getting their heads round the idea that McIntyre and McKitrick might be right and Mann might be wrong. The idea is just too absurd even to consider.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is the post-normal world Geoff, where people like Cook and Lew think they are untouchable, where they can waft poisonous propaganda in the direction of prestigious journals and get it printed up as ‘peer reviewed research’ and there’s very little the targets of that propaganda can do about it. So just leave this latest heap of rubbish to fester and decompose whilst it steadily erodes the reputations of the people who fly-tipped it into academia, whilst it nibbles away at what little remains of the credibility of the academic peer-review process.


  11. I wholeheartedly support the idea of a write-up of the errors and applaud Geoff and others. The paper only ‘gets away’ with its errors by being superficially plausible and by sounding academic-y. It takes further reading and a bit of interest to get to the details of its wrongness. A readable post on these errors from someone who has the time to set it out, preferably hilariously, is the way to go.

    I’m sure there’s a large number of lurkers like me interested in examining the extent to which this paper fails epicly. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Diogenes,

    > For whose benefit would be this “deconstruction”.

    Suppose that someone says, at any time in the future, “Lewandowsky et al showed that climate denialists are incoherent and self-contradictory”. How do you respond? You could say to them:
    “Go and read these five blog posts by Michel at his TrustYetVerify blog (yes, it’s five now, I think), and read these two by Brandon Shollenberger, and read these two by Geoff Chambers, and …”.
    Or, you could say,
    “Read this one document that provides a serious thoughtful deconstruction of their theses”.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. But you are still left with the fact that “climate denial” (for want of a better name) itself really is incoherent and self-contradictory. Whether the new paper is good or bad, the mess that is “scepticism” about climate science remains.


  14. Raff, please submit your coherent analysis of why “climate denial” is incoherent and self-contradictory. You can’t do worse than Lew/Cook/Lloyd. Either that or point us in the direction of a study which does demonstrate conclusively that “scepticism” about climate science (aka man-made global warming) is a “mess”. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. RAFF: — “But you are still left with the fact that “climate denial” (for want of a better name) itself really is incoherent and self-contradictory.”

    ‘itself’ is neither an ‘it’ nor a ‘self’. That much has been explained to you.

    Even if it were possible to consider ‘it’ as an argument against another, the other is in fact incoherent, as has been observed. That much has been explained to you, too.

    –” Whether the new paper is good or bad, the mess that is “scepticism” about climate science remains.”–

    You should be more concerned with the quality of your own argument.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Climate septicism doesn’t have to be coherent, it merely needs to be persuasive. No scratch that, It doesn’t need to be anything. Remember Raff, we’re just trying to prevent governments wasting trillions on solutions that don’t work for a problem we might not have. What’s in it for us to make it coherent? After all, it’s never bothered your side to make something sensible.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. RAFF, it is true that there are some fringy skeptical voices that error, for example asserting there is no GHE, or that CO2 is not a GHG, or that as a ‘trace gas’ it doesn’t matter (the old incorrect conduction heat thing).
    But there is a large skeptical core that has a quite coherent message, which is also observationally robust. Is there global warming (GW) over the 20th century (but not the 21st yet)? Yes, but it all could be mostly natural like the pre 1950 era per IPCC A4 SPM figure 4. Is there AGW? Probably yes, since CO2 is a GHG. But we don’t know how much because of the attribution and feedback amplification problems. Could this AGW become catastrophic (CAGW)? Probably not, because observational sensitivity is half of what has been modeled (~1.65 versus 3.2) so we will not reach the arbitrary 2C falsely supposed threshold for C, and because we also know the models are incorrect in other ways as well. They produce an AGW ‘fingerprint’ of tropical troposphere warming that in fact does not exist. Are there potential future ‘tipping points’? Probably not. All those feared to date turn out either to be incorrect upon detailed examination (Greenland is bowl shaped and some melting is because of a tectonic hot spot, Ronne and Ross were stable during the Eemian) or very slow processes over millennia based on the geological record (for example Eemian sea level highstand above the present over several thousand years) to which adaptation rather than mitigation is the appropriate response if/when needed. Finally, the renewables decarbonization solutions on offer fundamentally don’t work because of intermittency. We could decarbonize with nuclear, but that is contradictorily anathema to most CAGW believers.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. As I remarked on the previous thread, we have been denied standing to discuss this with the academic community. They worked long and hard to achieve this, so we should salute their efforts even as we regret the outcome.

    We need someone from the consensus side to say the obvious–that this is tripe. It is possible–look at Gavin’s ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ piece at RC today.

    The plain fact is that we’re talking to each other and the few trolls that come by to make us see the error of our ways. We could collectively discover the cure for cancer and the common cold at the same time and the tree would fall in the forest unheard.

    We are not ‘influencers’ of public opinion, you see.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Jaime, you don’t need me or Lew to tell you – you only need to read a variety of “sceptical” comment to realise it. RIstvan has been around long enough to have seen it and to see it, though he likes to think it is “fringy”, whereas I’d say it is common.

    Nobody is interested in whether the word ‘itself’ can be applied to “climate denial”, BenPile.

    No you are right, TinyCO2, it doesn’t have to be anything. But you are all mightily upset that Lew & Co should try to describe what it is all the same.

    You tell a good story, RIstvan, but it is selective and you probably have to exclude anyone not like you. You’ll find plenty of “sceptics” who buy into Salby and his arguments about where the CO2 came from and all that, and you’ll have no trouble finding people who will argue that McKitrick and Essex or some such paper says there is no such things a global temperature and so there is no GW etc. There’s plenty who still argue about downwelling radiation and your observational sensitivity numbers are almost certainly produced with data extracted from GCMs that “sceptics” say don’t work. BTW the AGW ‘fingerprint’ is actually a GW fingerprint so falure to find it means little and saying there are ‘probably’ no tipping points in a chaotic system that has an energy imbalance is really just a guess. You might be able to unite some “sceptics” around a core, if you could get them to shut up about their personal hobby horses long enough, but it would mean little.


  20. Raff, I cannot shut up Doug Cotton or other ‘sky dragons’ or other fringe ‘deniers’. Anymore than Gavin Schmidt can shut up Mann when they disagree about the pause. But I can denounce them as clearly and as factually as Warmunists like Hansen, Karl, and Schmidt. McIntyre did Mann, and we both did Marcott. Wrote the better part of three books on related topics already with hundreds of footnotes to peer reviewed stuff. You can get them cheap at Amazon Kindle or iBooks.
    Exposed much academic misconduct as well as misrepresentation and selection bias in both AR4 and AR5 plus your mainstream peer reviewed literature. Read essays A High Stick Foul, Cloudy Clouds, Humidity is still Wet, No Bodies, By Land or By Sea, Shell Games, Greenhouse Effects, and Burning Nonscience in ebook Blowing Smoke for a few inexcusable examples. Then get back with factual counters–if you can. There isn’t a global temp, true, but you can create an average anomaly of same as a globally averaged local proxy index. McKitrick never claimed otherwise. Only a few fringe skeptics. And in a sense, they are also partly correct despite being a fringe argument. No Eskimos or polar bears in South Florida. I live there and am observationally certain. (Although, some of the winter Canadian ‘snowbirds’ we get seasonally definitely resemble snowbirds– fat and white.) And McKitricks latest point was that when you properly statistically account for autocorrelation, there has been no statistically significant warming for periods ranging from 16 to 26 years in three temperature records. The imconvenient for climaye models but real (before Karlization) pause. Yet another way (ECS and Absence of tropical troposphere hotspot being two others) to falsify climate models, which cannot be correct because the small grid scales needed for ‘physics law’ simulations are >10^6 computationally intractable, so crucial processes like convection cells have to be parameterized, the parameters tuned to best hindcast. And that automatically sweeps in the attribution problem already commented on here and elsewhere. Essay Models all the way Down touches on it, as do several others. Or see my fairly recent (2016 IIRC) models guest post at WUWT for more amusing details.


  21. Tom Fuller, am not as pessimistic, although grant your points are partly valid. We need to reach policy makers. There are three ways, IMO. 1 influence votes. That means voter education. Hence my books. And twitter/facebook/warmunist echo chamber blog rebuttals (which they mostly disappear). And feeding skeptical,politicians good sound bites on CAGW (see point 3, partly redundant). 2. Influence MSM and scientific journals by naming and shaming. Now granted, this has not had a stirling success rate ( for me, 0 for 3) but… 3. Feed skeptical politicans ammunition from #1 and 2. That seems very effective, at least in the US. They then call the Congressional hearings to expose the disinformation, and amplify truth.


  22. The amazing thing about climate science is that the people who promote it present themselves as either idiots or charlatans. That is a quite amazing achievement. The mathematical inadequacy of Mann. The serial lies of Hansen and Schmidt. The sociopathy of Tobis. The aristocratic ennui blended with intellectual inadequacy of Connolley and Annan. The pitiful lack of education of Raff.

    You might call it a cause in search of a mind.


  23. Yes, RIstvan, you have written a lot. Well done. I’ve even read a bit of it in the past too. But all you are doing is rejecting anyone who doesn’t conform to your view of climate science as “fringy”. You’ll find people here, I’m quite sure, who trip the Salby dance or who reject global temp measures, because McKitrick, or who sing the downwelling IR tune. I’ve talked with them; they exist. The views of people on this site is maybe also “fringy”, although they might not like to hear it, but you’ll find such views and more at WUWT which by any measure is mainline “scepticism”. The “core” you imagine is illusory.


  24. RAFF — “Nobody is interested in whether the word ‘itself’ can be applied to “climate denial”, BenPile.” —

    More fool them, then. Because if there isn’t an ‘it’, we can’t talk about it. As I’ve long pointed out though, the ‘it’ that features in the likes of Lewandowsky’s, yours, and other Consensus Enforcers’ arguments is an artefact of the presupposed binary debate — of ‘scientists’ vs ‘deniers’ that you bring to an in fact far more nuanced debate. This has the consequence of making Consensus Enforcement a thing — an it — which as such can be identified, and spoken about. In the case of Consensus Enforcement, it can be seen as very much trying to establish its mythology over a complex debate, at the expense of understanding that complexity.

    I make the same point to sceptics, incidentally. For e.g, from the comment archive:

    — Environmental ideology, such as it is, is unconscious; a hotch-potch of prejudices, preconceptions, and ignorance. This is reflected in its make-up and its heritage: a rag-tag bag of ossified socialists and disoriented conservatives; authoritarians and anarchists; confused radicals and members of the establishment who are incapable of allowing themselves to be challenged. If you can’t see these contradictions in ‘environmentalism’, then perhaps the problem is wider than only afflicts the environmentalists. As I put it, ‘environmentalism is a constellation of phenomena’, not a concrete political theory or philosophy. Nailing jelly to a wall would be a more productive attempt at pinning something down.–

    Which was directed at attempts to understand ‘watermelons’: i.e. the oversimplification of historical development, read backwards.

    The sceptics Lewandowsky rails against, don’t really exist; the words he takes, he takes liberties with to construct phantom sceptics. This is, of course, because he refuses to engage with actual sceptics in actual dialogue. Ditto your own performance art here.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. But all you are doing is rejecting anyone who doesn’t conform to your view of climate science

    So much for the ‘consensus’ then.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Raff “No you are right, TinyCO2, it doesn’t have to be anything. But you are all mightily upset that Lew & Co should try to describe what it is all the same.”

    It’s a hobby. The guy’s an annoying parasite. He takes good money to spout rubbish, that makes people cross. He could have said that the warmist side was as inconsistent but he didn’t beause he has an agenda.

    Of course, it doesn’t matter if what people say is inconsistent, it’s what they do that’s important and on that everone agrees ‘nothing’ suits them best. That’s why it doesn’t really matter what sceptics say or what Dr Lew writes. Climate scepticism is like a buffet table. People can take what they want and leave what they don’t. Warmism is like a set meal where every course leaves a sour taste in the mouth and you’re stiffed with a massive bill at the end for a load of stuff you never ordered.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. That Lewandowsky has an academic platform from which to launch his tripe is evidence that there is no climate conversation occurring at all, outside of the comments sections on a few blogs. Raff, I’d really love to hear you say what you really think of Lewandowsky. I’m not proposing a litmus test or anything like that–but how can you read him with a straight face?

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I don’t see much value in psychology research and I’ve never really read Lew’s stuff, Thomas. I’ve skimmed bits of the new paper, but it doesn’t seem worth the bother doing more. Most of the bits I saw of what people said seem too open to interpretation to be analysed deeply. Does that answer your question?


  29. Ristvan maintains that scepticism is a reasonably coherent body of opposition to consensus global warming theory; Raff maintains that there is no coherent core and no ‘fringe’, that scepticism is basically all over the place. I think there is more evidence for Ristvan’s point of view than Raff’s.

    On the other side of the coin, ‘consensus’ global warming achieves that status I think more on the basis of academic and political necessity rather than a willingness on the part of the people concerned. Divergent (and extreme) views are emerging. The major difference is that these views are not confined to expression in ‘fringe blogs’, they appear in prestigious journals under the lofty title of peer-reviewed research.

    Mann’s imminent thermohaline Gulf Stream shut down for instance, plunging Europe into a near ice age. Hansen’s ludicrous projections of near future sea level rise (which may or may not have made it into publication, I’m not sure). The latest example is Milankovitch Denier Carolyn Snyder claiming via a Nature peer-reviewed research article that climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is 9C! This means supposedly that we have 5-7C warming already ‘in the pipeline’ even if we 100% decarbonise tomorrow! Gavin Schmidt has very publicly taken her claims to task but I see little activity in that direction from other climate scientists. That’s not very coherent is it?

    Liked by 3 people

  30. I actually don’t see how something as wide and as new as the climate issue could be coherent. Even the IPCC report is full of different possibilities. A climate sensitivity range of 1.5C-4.5C is pretty incoherent. Emma Thompson’s 4C by 2030 is loony tunes but I don’t remember Dr Lew objecting.

    Much of the public confusion stems from a lack of clarity.

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  31. Like many commentators, Lew et al make the mistake of thinking that a fairly mature consensus scientific opinion is evidence of a mature scientific discipline. Climate science is a young and developing area whose first faltering steps have been curtailed somewhat by this self-imposed, politically driven ‘consensus’, but it will not be held back. Novel research will win out in the end. Natural curiosity will eventually overcome academic and professional restrictions imposed via a necessity to conform to the standard model.

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  32. RAFF says: “But you are still left with the fact that “climate denial” (for want of a better name)…”

    You just can’t post anything without being infantile, patronising and insulting can you, you scientifically illiterate little agent provocateur?

    Absolutely no-one denies climate, as you have been informed on innumerable occasions, the correct name is AGW scepticism, and you damn well know it.

    So take your pathetic, childish schtick back to “Hot Whopper” (what precisely are we to make of a woman of (for want of a better description) “uncertain age” with a predilection for objects of that nature, incidentally – and the arrogant, insecure computer gamer Rice with his worthless, unverifiable “accretion disk” computer fantasies (nice work if you can get it!), and leave the real science to the hard scientists who get their hands dirty and the engineers and researchers who – through their thorough knowledge and understanding of that science – produce real benefits to the population, you know, like transistors and computers and airliners and antibiotics, and don’t make a good living peddling Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt to the “Liberal” bedwetters.

    Oh, and while you’re at it, grow up and get a life.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Curiouser and curiouser. I have just noticed that the paper users the word “denialist” four times. The first three are:

    …views in the “community” of denialists…
    No such corrective processes can be observed in denialist discourse…
    …incoherencies manifest in denialist discourse…

    The fourth is in a footnote, which states that:

    We use denial as a noun that describes a political or discursive activity but we avoid labels such as “denier” or “denialist” that categorize people.

    They seem a little confused about who are the people who are incoherent and contradictory.

    Liked by 4 people

  34. Well spotted Paul.

    Does he also say we look like ducks and quack like ducks but he’s not trying to imply we are ducks?


  35. A pity that this reprt detailing climate sensitivity wasn’t available while Dr Lew was writing his report so that he could have made 1.5C seem stupidly low. Perhaps we should send him a link-

    I seem to remember plotting CET against CO2 and concluding that all the atmospheric CO2 could be the result of warming and that industry was a figment of our imaginations. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Tiny — “Much of the public confusion stems from a lack of clarity.“–

    Good point. I think the public are likely inured to academic BS. Recalling discussion about ‘experts’ from over the spring and summer, I happened upon this dire article at the Graun this AM…


    The racist ideas of slave owners are still with us today
    Catherine Hall


    My work as a historian has convinced me that ways of thinking about race are the most destructive legacy of Britain’s imperial past. In the wake of the Brexit vote we have witnessed a deeply disturbing increase in the number of hate crimes committed against Poles, Muslims and racial minorities. Globalisation, with all the losses it has brought for so many, has clearly acted as a trigger for this upsurge of rage and resentment, the wish to “take back control” and “secure our borders”.

    The legacy of slavery is the dehumanisation of others and assumptions of white superiority, as well as terrible disparities of wealth and power. These could not be starker than they are today.


    Hall is professor of modern British social and cultural history at UCL.

    The rise in hate crime and its causes are contestable. It’s interesting that a statistical claim becomes a fact removed from its numerical context (sounds familiar?), and the fact that people were encouraged to report hate crime by disgruntled Remainers has been forgotten. Moreover, the binary fact of an ‘increase’ in ‘hate crime’ seemingly makes the entire public an angry, racist lynch mob. All of which is to say that even professors at world-class Universities fail to speak to the public in precise terms when they’re illustrating a political argument from their work.

    Notwithstanding the ‘terrible disparities of wealth and power’ that exist today, they are less stark, in fact than they ever were, whatever the skin colour of the individuals on the receiving end of that excess. A historian should recognise that, even if today’s welfare laws are the unpleasant descendant of yesteryear’s Poor Law that put people into work houses, and so on, there is no comparison with the way today’s poorest are treated. They are far better catered for — not that it is on any measure satisfactory, for a number of reasons — and that treatment takes no account of race. Moreover, anyone who lives and/or works in Central London and who believes it is dominated by racism that bears any resemblance to historical racism needs to spend less time in the library. The books that say otherwise are wrong: millions of people of all skin colours and cultures share a few dozen square miles without mass violence breaking out on racial lines as a matter of routine, and without people owning each other as chattel on the same basis. (And it may be worth pointing out that what problems do emerge may be more owed to official attempts to reconcile different cultures and races premised on the presupposition that such differences are irreconcilable that any fact of their irreconcilability). If Brexit was either the expression of, or unleashing of latent racism, it is the quietest ever regression in human history, and it remains an undercurrent. I suspect that there have been more Guardian articles about this ‘spike’ in ‘hate crime’ than there have been actual cases of it above the norm.

    This is a digression from the subject of climate change, but I think that discussions about race — especially the historical development of the understanding of race — bear comparison with climate change. That is to say that race has a seemingly objective basis — you only need eyes to detect it — but that what seems to be so obviously an objective matter with a basis in biological science turns out to be so much harder to understand objectively. Hall says race was the basis on which people were subjugated by others, but anti-racism, too, on no more objective a basis, becomes the basis on which she attempts a no less chauvinistic subjugation of others. Worse, her argument comes as a defence of a political order whose illegitimacy has now been proven. Rather than seeing it as an expression of the desire for self-determination, she sees Brexit, on the contrary, as an expression of brutal libidinal forces.

    Weak arguments reach for the starkest political moments for comparison. Back in 2008, historians were making the same facile comparisons between the uneducated climate masses and slave owners…

    Most of us approach slavery with the underlying assumption that our modern civilization is morally far superior to the barbaric slave-owning societies of the past. But are we really so different? If we compare our current attitude to fossil fuels and climate change with the behaviour of the slave owners, there are more similarities than one might immediately perceive.

    Mouhot’s claim is so obviously bollocks, that you really don’t need to read on, but my reply is here. The point is that academics reach to the past for such black and white renderings of good and bad, because their understand can bring nothing to an understanding of the present that they can turn into simple morality plays in the present. Against climate change policies? Then you must be as bad as a slave-trader. In favour of Brexit, then you must be a racist that would deprive people of other skin colours of their liberty, and force them into work without pay.

    If you said ‘you know what, I think using a car is like owning a slave’ in a pub, you’d get laughed at. Say it on the campuses of Birmingham Uni, or UCL, however, and everyone nods wisely. ‘Have you considered writing up your thesis in a paper’, they would say, adding, I would really like to read it. It is a cargo-cult science, the conceit being that saying absurd things signifies having reached a closer understanding of things as they really are, things being so hard to see through ordinary eyes, appearances being deceptive. You have to be an academic to see the congruence of owning a car, and owning people as property. I’m not saying out of some volkisch anti-intellectual impulse, but, on the contrary, because these people are transparently pseuds who only get away with it because calling each other out their bullshit would bring their walls down. They’re coming down anyway, the only question that remains is whether they come down gracefully, brick by brick that can be used to build something better… Or catastrophically into a pile of rubble. I would prefer the former.

    We should not single Lewandowsky out. Nor climate change. Nor even the academy. Academics have vastly overstated their value to society’s normal functioning. And rather than uplifting us all towards more promising visions of the future, they have problematised the utterly trivial, day-to-day functions of ordinary life, robbing ordinary people of political agency in the process. And that’s the point. These were the academy’s standing orders. Acdemics were instructed to do this as surely as people were encouraged to take out loans for houses they could not afford. Not to let Lew or any other sub-prime academic off the hook for the choices he made, but the fact of an absolute torrent of low-grade research that services a political agenda without questions should not be a surprise.

    Liked by 6 people

  37. Another busy-body SJW swanning around the privileged cloisters of UCL, hiding beneath a fake cloak of academic and moral superiority. No coincidence that UCL is now a hotbed of climate change activism methinks. She needs to be put out with the trash, along with her preening SJW colleagues. She who is convinced that the British Empire is the root of all evil whilst seemingly completely oblivious to the horrors which lurk between the folds of her own grey matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Oh, and as far as I’m concerned, that statement by Hall above is an incitement to racial hatred and she should be prosecuted by the Met (fat chance).



    The article is very relevant to your point.

    The Black Lives Matter airport stunt gained only derision because it has no place here. Immigrants flock here because it’s actually a very decent place to live and Brexit was partly about a fear that too many newcomers at once would ruin that. Many race attacks are between minorities and or against white people anyway. The amount of racial self hatred in this country is astonishing. Germany suffers the same fate and it actually spawns true racism. People sadly blame immigrants for the unfairness generated by those intent on righting historic wrongs.

    The academic world has become addicted to proving the obscure and implausible rather than the obvious. It almost scorns the right answers because they’re mundane. While the vote for Brexit might have been slim, a lot of people wanted to vote to leave. There is a massive groundswell of people fed up with the self destructive masochism that the EU and dumb academics represent. Even Germany will tire of paying for their sins in the form of wealth redistribution. Without the UK the EU burden will prove too much. Will the EU vanish? will the UN, its global brother go too? We can dream.

    If we ever wonder where the personality type that invented the ducking stool went to – the UCL would be a good place to start. ‘Witch’ has morphed into ‘denier’ or ‘racist’ but the irrational hatred is still there.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Ahhh the dyslexia is strong with this one….

    ‘ducking stool’ and ‘still there’ and others I can’t see. 😦


  41. Can anyone remind me what the consesnsus actually is, other than some kind of endlessly shape-shifting set of fantasies concocted by a political cause in search of a mind?


  42. >Can anyone remind me what the consesnsus actually is, other than some >kind of endlessly shape-shifting set of fantasies concocted by a >political cause in search of a mind?

    I think your question would be more suitably addressed to messrs
    Cook, Nutticelli, Painting et al.


    Liked by 2 people

  43. “other than some kind of endlessly shape-shifting set of fantasies concocted by a political cause in search of a mind?”

    You sorta nailed it in that description.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. BENPILE (27 Sep 16 at 1:27 pm)

    Hall is professor of modern British social and cultural history at UCL.

    Oh dear, not my dear alma mater, which made satellite systems analyst, sacked head of the Science Museum, and EU-subsidised thespian Chris Rapley professor of climate science? Jeremy Bentham must be turning in his glass box.

    (Explanation: UCL was founded by freethinker Jeremy Bentham as the first university in Britain open to non-Christians. As a final finger to the Victorian establishment he had himself stuffed and put on display in the University entrance hall. Is he still there I wonder? It must be so embarrassing for the current faculty to have been founded by an elderly white male.)

    Liked by 2 people

  45. BENPILE (27 Sep 16 at 1:27 pm)

    You have to be an academic to see the congruence of owning a car, and owning people as property. I’m not saying out of some volkisch anti-intellectual impulse, but, on the contrary, because these people are transparently pseuds who only get away with it because calling each other out their bullshit would bring their walls down. They’re coming down anyway, the only question that remains is whether they come down gracefully, brick by brick that can be used to build something better… Or catastrophically into a pile of rubble. I would prefer the former. We should not single Lewandowsky out. Nor climate change.

    Your first sentence in the quote above seems to echo Orwell’s comment from the thirties that “You have to be an intellectual to believe such nonsense. No ordinary man could be such a fool.” I think he was talking about fascism, but it could have been vegetarianism.

    The link to your 2008 article (can’t find it now) takes us back to the heady beginnings of serious reflection on what’s wrong with the (intellectual) climate. Only one comment then, from our own Alex Cull. Not much has changed since.

    On avoiding academia (and therefore eventually our culture/civilisation) “coming down catastrophically into a pile of rubble”: this is why I think it’s important to single Lewndowsky out, and patiently take him apart brick by brick. Michael Mann calls it the Serengeti stgrategy, and I roar my approval.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Oh dear, how many times does it need proven that Doctors Lewandcooksie are incompetent, narcissistic and mendacious incompetents?

    Once, twice, a hundred? Once was enough for me but not, it seems for some denizens of this blog whose intellects and contributions to upholding the scientific method I genuinely admire but whose time I feel is currently being misspent in racking up yet more evidence against these buffoons.

    The anger is more than understandable but any missile from the angered just bounces off the intended targets. I do hope I’m wrong and that your efforts will produce a positive result for common sense but
    I’m not holding my breath anymore as I’ve already done the counting up to ten bit (an exercise that I can recommend as highly beneficial 🙂


  47. of course he is cited a lot – he is a professor a royal society prize winner, big shot in the field and the APS.. of course people want to cite him…. when peer review of their papers comes around 😉


  48. Geoff — ” On avoiding academia (and therefore eventually our culture/civilisation) “coming down catastrophically into a pile of rubble”: this is why I think it’s important to single Lewndowsky out, and patiently take him apart brick by brick. Michael Mann calls it the Serengeti stgrategy, and I roar my approval.”

    Some interesting comments I’ve seen in the last few days…

    Without tenure, professors become terrified sheep — highlights three characteristics of University organisation that each beset good quality research.

    Science in crisis: from the sugar scam to Brexit, our faith in experts is fading — asks why confidence in science and expertise is in decline… Per the ‘pile of rubble’, says this:

    If this wave of concern will merge with the science crisis, then important facets of our modernity might be up for discussion. Will this lead to a new humanism as hoped by some philosophers or to a new dark age, as feared by others?

    Lew, amongst others, seem to be closing ranks, and/or fighting a rearguard action against their own looming obscurity. Indeed, and as you know, my argument has been that climate change helps shore up ailing public institutions, whose crises would otherwise cause them to lose authority. But climate is one amongst a number of issues, albeit perhaps the epitome, for its encompassing potential. We should see resistance to criticism in that context.

    So that’s absolutely not to say ‘let’s leave off debunking Lew’ — apart from anything else, it’s fun. But let’s keep an eye on the war, not just the battle, so as to keep oriented.


  49. The other I forgot to add was Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s tirade against ‘Intellectuals yet idiots’.


    The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences.


    There’s plenty I could take issue with NNT with. For instance, is advocacy of the Precautionary Principle with the regulation of GMOs. But nonetheless, he has identified a problem with the pseudo-intellectual class, which my reading of is their claim to intelligence but their hostility (i.e. inability) to debate. And that’s the point… We can disagree with NNT. We can’t debate with climate or GMO warriors.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Paul, it’s been cited by a number of articles in the last few weeks, but I was reminded of it by WUWT.

    What I think it all suggests is that broader debates have moved past the the-science-is-wrong-and-this-stuff-is-made-up understanding that characterises any first steps towards working out what’s gone wrong. Correspondingly, I think Lew’s hasty work is panic, not calculated intervention.


  51. Another — and with apologies for diverting from the main issue at hand, but it seems quiet today…

    At Realclimate – of all places – Gavin Schmidt is facepalming about the latest alarmist estimate of climate sensitivity, which the likes of Oreskes and McKibben have been calling ‘the new climate math’.

    Says GS:


    The paper claims that ESS is ~9ºC and that this implies that the long term committed warming from today’s CO2 levels is a further 3-7ºC. This is simply wrong.


    And that,


    I don’t want to speculate on how this situation can have occurred. However the maxim that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” suggests that it might have behoved the editors to require further checks of such a dramatic statement before going to press. As it is, many will claim that this is yet another example of a high profile journal going for press attention over rigourous science. The net result of the conflicting media reports and criticism will likely be a greater confusion about the relevant science, and an overshadowing of what is at heart a good contribution to understanding climate history and that is a shame.


    We don’t need speculation about how this occurred. All the clues are there, and the loss of control of the alarmist story — methane burps, ice-free Arctic summers, runaway greenhouse — which Gavin has heroically battled, should by now be as clear to him as they were to those who pointed them out to him over a decade ago. Gavin’s aversion to what he calls ‘speculation’, we can speculate, might raise some uncomfortable questions, the issues at hand being deeper than problems caused by individual renegade scientists, the political colonisation of just one or two ‘scientific’ institutions, or the media’s thirst for dramatic stories… Even Nature — the ‘high profile journal’ in question — is well and truly aware of the crisis that is unfolding in science, and its own role in the development of that crisis, and yet it seems unable to help itself.

    How long can it be before it becomes apparent to GS that his biggest problem has never been ‘deniers’, but the excesses of the ‘consensus’ position? Too little policing of the wrong people, far, far, far too late. And still no sign of self reflection.

    The ‘consensus’ position is riven through by not only its incoherence, but actual, growing, and deep fissures, that consensus ‘messaging’ cannot sustain indefinitely. This is both context and opportunity.


  52. I think the new paper is very relevant to this thread. I’m hoping Dr Lew inludes it in his next work. Poor Gavin. Who knew Dr Frankestein’s monster would take on a life of it’s own? Dr Lew will no doubt conclude that Gavin has been intimidated by deniers and is denying the possibility that this respectable peer reveiwed paper might be right.


  53. I asked Lew on Twitter if he would be chastising Gavin for having the temerity to criticise a colleague’s peer-reviewed research in a BLOG post, not through the proper channels, as per LMBF 2016. He hasn’t replied.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. this is why I try to go to actual live events – hard to ignore/delete/block/rescind in person..

    I’m no longer welcome at SkS it seems – though I want to hear John Cook tell me, not JH (John Hartz)
    (web archive version, though it did not capture one of my deleted comments, referring to blog posts by Brandon about the Alice paper)


  55. If you read the comments on that Real Climate blog post, you get a sense of just how uncertain this science is, how little is really known and understood. For all the aggression and certainty expressed by the likes of Brandon Gates and Co., the science is far from settled. It really is where physics and chemistry were around 1800. It’s definitely not ready to guide policy.


  56. Whilst these people tie everyone up with their ramblings, the UN continues apace:

    Figueres is back on the money trail, with a new, very well funded, propaganda outfit:

    Fresh from quitting what is becoming an increasingly brutal race to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN secretary general, Christiana Figueres is back with a new project: Mission 2020.

    City leaders, bankers and the burgeoning climate philanthropy sector can expect calls in the coming weeks and months as the Costa Rican gets to work.

    “By 2020 we have to bend the [emissions] curve and by 2020 we have to have a critical level of support for developing countries,” she tells Climate Home.

    Staffed with former UN colleagues and boasting Newton Investment Management chief executive Helena Morrissey as one of five advisory board members, Mission 2020 will be based in London.

    After the Brexit referendum and with UK climate and energy policy in a state of flux it seems a curious choice for an HQ, but Figueres cites the city’s rich seam of climate policy and finance expertise.

    Last week she was spotted talking to new UK climate minister Nick Hurd and longtime climate advocate Kate Hampton, CEO of the Mayfair-based CIFF, which is valued at £2 billion.

    This does not bode well:


  57. Sorry to butt in:

    Christopher Game says: September 29, 2016 at 6:34 AM

    In all that, I forgot to deliver the punch line.

    “Downwelling radiation from the atmosphere absorbed by the ground is about 320 W m^-2.”

    “Downwelling radiation”, is but a conceptual Climate Clown political SCAM, with no science at all! Never ever any physical science meaning offered. Just accept cause mommy said so! And shut up and eat your peas! This amounts to all of C. Game science.
    An instrument with upward field of regard measures upward thermal EM radiant exitance in W/m² of its thermophile in the 3-9 micron band. This exitance to space is nowhere near the 340 W/m² exitance to space as claimed by C. Game As “upwelling radiation” from the surface!. Even on a cold clear night that measured upward exitance is no more than 3 W/m² or 1% of such dastardly claim.
    Even this wee amount is strictly limited by any local atmospheric water, in any phase, creating its opposing field strength (‘radiance’) in that 3-9 micron band, that C. Game calls ‘downwelling radiation’, shut up and eat your peas, no backtalk, or else! C. Game has never bothered to learn or use any proper radiometric terms of science.
    YOU HAVE BEEN GAMED! As in, Gaming the system (also referred to as gaming the rules, bending the rules, abusing the system, cheating the system, milking the system, playing the system, or working the system) Do you feel better now?


  58. Oh but this is funny! 

    You critique a paper claiming People who oppose this scientific body of knowledge… …contradict themselves, and who resolve the contradiction by attacking the science, thus revealing themselves to be “conspiracy ideationists”.

    In  your introduction you state you are attempting a serious thoughtful deconstruction of their theses then promptly follow this up with Well, you would, wouldn’t you, you slimy little shits.

    It’s amusing that the very people who take extreme umbrage at each of Lewandowsky’s papers invariably prove him right every time through their responses. 

    I confidently predict “Recursive Contradiction” will be the follow up from Lew.   Carry on.

    Liked by 3 people

  59. Verytallguy, as you say – very funny – as it was intended. Some are annoyed with Dr Lew because his work debases intellectual endeavour. Me I dislike him because he keeps ignoring me. I want to be immortalised in crap science. I did get an honourable mention at one of his live events but I have no record of him completely misinterpreting my comments so I feel left out.

    Liked by 3 people

  60. Oh wow, a genuine Loopy Lew supporter!

    Heh, we’ve caught a live one!

    And not only that, he recommends his own posts – a sure sign…

    Liked by 1 person

  61. I was giving him the benefit of the doubt and thought he’d clicked by accident. I’d have liked his post too beause of the laugh he gave me but I don’t seem to be able to like stuff with my settings.

    Liked by 1 person

  62. Barry Woods, just like RIstvan, you think that “scepticism” must look like you and anything else is “fringy” (RIstvan’s words) or “loon[y]”, yours. But Will is part of “scepticism” just as much as you or RIstvan or Brad Keyes or Ben Piles or any others “sceptics” here. Or do you want to define for us what true “sceptics” think?


  63. Raff. Sceptics don’t own any individual. . Any more than you own climate concerned activists Vivien (911 conspiracy) Westwood and Prof Peter (artic doomed,again. Assassins are out to get me) Wadham and Al Gore

    Liked by 1 person

  64. RAFF imposes the Consensus Enforcer’s binary, opposing categories over the debate:

    –‘But Will is part of “scepticism” just as much as you or RIstvan or Brad Keyes or Ben Piles or any others “sceptics” here.‘–

    That is to say by lumping together different perspectives, the substance of the perspectives is removed from the debate. It’s the green version of you’re-with-us-or-you’re-against-us.

    This would put RAFF in the same category as Theodore Kaczynski, however, and many other green nut jobs — only some of which have (tin foil) hats that would fit RAFF. This has been explained to RAFF.

    Losing sight of the arguments in currency, however, is precisely the intention, as long as Consensus Enforcers are able to sustain their claim to scientific objectivity and authority. They are losing that bid as alarmists alienate NASA scientists, and those organised around the SKS project and Lewandowsky alienate mainstream climate scientists. Some have pointed out the absurdity of Oreskes even calling (or at least implying) Hansen a denier, and Lew saying he better knows the status of the climate than climate science, which has been infected by sceptic ‘memes’. The corollary of losing sight of the arguments in currency is that there is no check on the quality of your own argument. Lewandowsky and the Consensus Enforcers reduce ‘science’ to the level of an internet flame war.

    One thing does unify many climate perspectives, however. And that is emphasis on the construction of global political institutions, that are outside of democratic oversight and control. The defence of which is always ‘because science…’, but the desire for political authority, and for particular forms of political organisation around ecological precepts logically and historically precedes ‘The Science’, transparently. In contrast, objections to that ambition are varied. And they vary, of course, in quality, too. I’ll worry about how other sceptics get it wrong when there is a climate sceptic equivalent of the UNFCCC.


  65. No, no ownership, Barry. But i’m interested to know where you draw the line between acceptable, non-loony, “scepticism” and fringy, to be rejected, scepticism.


  66. i’m interested to know Raff where you draw the line between acceptable, non-loony, “consensus” and fringy, to be rejected, warmism. Oh, my mistake, you never reject anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  67. Perhaps if Lew does do a Recursive Contradiction paper, VTG will offer his obvious expertise in routing out many more of those give-away ‘contradictions’ which “sceptics” apparently engage in with alarming regularity. Perhaps even Mosher might help too – with his penchant for finding unicorns lurking in the climate blogosphere, such experience in tracking down mythical beasts might prove to be invaluable.

    Liked by 1 person

  68. Are you suggesting Lew strings words together to mean something psychobabbly?

    Isn’t a Recursive Contradiction a move in fencing? Or is it calligraphy?

    Liked by 1 person

  69. AR5 is the line for non experts, Tiny.

    RAFF will no doubt now realise that he should be less concerned with what is written here, and should be worrying more about what Obama has said, what Greenpeace have said, what FOE say, what is said in the House of Lords, Commons and at the UN… The ‘line’ established by the IPCC is transgressed far more by those of a green than brown persuasion.

    If what counts is the ‘line for non-experts’ established by the IPCC, how can RAFF claim that sceptics are a single thing — ‘Will is part of scepticism’ — whereas the seemingly ‘pro-climate’ position doesn’t have to explain its proximity to its nutjobs. All the more odd, because it is arguably the green nutjob which on any sensible perspective, is of much greater consequence in fact than the lonely denier with his alt-physics.

    The problem for RAFF is that there has never been a barrier to entry — a science exam — to the green fold. So to impose a condition on sceptics that would preclude sceptical voices is at best inconsistent. All those other agendas, however, got smuggled in under ‘science’. The Zen eco-socialist snuggled up to the green capitalist. The climate Marxist got cosy with the green banker. The erstwhile anti-globalisation campaigner buddied up with the trans-national energy lobbyist. Radicals of all hues found their peace with the political establishment and argued for the accretion of more capital and power. And all of them merely ad-libbed the ‘science’.

    And it’s a problem for RAFF because he thinks he can say that the fall out from this rag-tag-bag — its incoherence — is the work of deniers. And this is where the psychologists enter the debate. The incoherence of the climate-centric perspective is projected back out onto the world, and then reported back by an even more ideologically-driven and politically-colonised ‘science’ than the one[s] the psychologist seeks to defend — the soft science close ranks against their own failures.

    It’s about climate science, as defined by the IPCC, says Raff.

    But it’s not, is it. It’s about ‘cognitive science’. There is no consensus on the psychology of assent to or dissent from the consensus. There is no IPCC of cognitive science and behaviourism.

    Liked by 1 person

  70. +1 BenPile

    So Raff, what you’re saying is – more fool those who listen to Obama or Thompson and believe because they haven’t read the IPCC report and know the truth? Buyer beware? Not that anyone is buying CO2 reduction, just being forced to pay. Sceptics are a reaction against the lies told by your side but somehow we’re supposed to form a counter consensus? Your side has a consensus, so it’s ok to deviate from it?


  71. Dennis Ambler
    Thanks for that. The article is particularly opaque. There’s no hint of what he’s done wrong. Wiki seems to suggest that his critics in Australia accused the Conversation of favourising pro-Marxist policies. As a pro-Marxist myself, banned froim this apparently pro-Marxist site, what am I supposed to do, except look out for people bearing ice picks perhaps?


  72. Indeed, it is a bizarre article, saying virtually nothing about what the complaints are about.

    It would hardly be a shocking revelation if it turned out that the founder and chief editor of the Conv turned out to have extremely left-biased views, while pretending to be “free of political bias”.


  73. @Geoff Chambers

    As a pro-Marxist, how many dead people, murdered by Marxist states is the appropriate or acceptable number? Add up the estimates for the USSR, Germany, China, Cambodia etc. etc. and we have a mere few hundred million victims of Marxism. Is this too much or do we need a few more pour encourager les autres?


  74. Tony Thomas about The Conversation:

    Get a T shirt!

    Meanwhile, another Stern Review:

    “In the super-inflated market for star footballers, there is one thing a striker cannot do: move his winning goals to his new club. Not so in the almost equally inflated market for “star academics”. Here, researchers can transfer the credit for their publications to a new employer, at least for the purposes of the Research Assessment Exercise, the process of evaluating and ranking all university departments in the UK.

    This is just one of the system’s absurdities that the long-awaited review by Lord Nicholas Stern wants to put right. The review, which was published over the summer, made a few well aimed recommendations to correct the most obvious anomalies of the Research Assessment Exercise, or REF.

    The REF is a five or six-yearly evaluation of the research quality of each and every university department in the UK by panels of experts made up mostly of academics themselves. A great deal hangs on these evaluations, including institutional reputations, individual academics’ careers, student recruitment and opportunities for further research funding.

    What the review refuses to notice is the extent to which the REF has turned academic research from a vocation to pursue knowledge and scholarship into a tyrannical game of “hits” in “top journals”. This has contributed to a massive growth in the numbers of research journals, with about 250 new ones starting every year. The number of published articles has also ballooned to over a million a year. Yet most of them languish unread and uncited.”

    Liked by 1 person

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