A regular object of ridicule at this blog is the so-called Conversation, supposedly providing “Academic rigour” and “journalistic flair” that is “free of political bias” but in fact failing to deliver any of these and instead serving up a diet of thoughtless, biased, political activism and academic groupthink.
Their latest idiocy is a piece by Professor Neil Levy from the Practical Ethics Group at the University of Oxford, members of which we’ve mentioned before. It starts off talking about how important the alleged 97% consensus is, then goes on to discuss how how the eating-fat-causes-heart-disease consensus has been overturned. “Might something similar be occurring in the case of climate change?” he wonders, before trying to convince himself that it isn’t.
Then we have the hilarious punchline
“The other difference is that in the case of climate change, there are buckets of money available to those who want to put forward a contrarian position”.
This self-delusion of climate activists was the subject of my first post here, nearly a year ago. I’ve noted in a comment that Andrew Montford, whose Bishop Hill hill website — for many years the unrivalled leader of UK sceptic blogs — has adverts and a tip jar to try to raise cash. He has also now virtually stopped posting, partly because he is “busy earning a living”. Why does Andrew bother earning a living, hosting ads and running a tip jar? Doesn’t he know that buckets of money are available? It’s been demonstrated as a fact in the Conversation, with Academic Rigour.
Looking elsewhere on the page gives a little more insight into where the buckets of money really are:
Neil Levy receives funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Australian Research Council. He has previously received funding from the Templeton Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust.
The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.
Update 1st October:
Shocking news – Conversation author Neil Levy linked to climate denial!
In a comment to substantiate his claims, Levy links to the article “Dark Money” Funds Climate Change Denial Effort which is about Robert Brulle’s investigation into the ‘climate change counter-movement’. Brulle’s paper lists the Templeton Foundation as one of these organisations, see part of his pie chart below. But as noted above, the article acknowledges that Levy has received funding from the Templeton Foundation.
Update 6th October:
Neil Levy’s piece has now been cross-posted at the Oxford Practical Ethics blog. Things went badly for him in the comments at the Conversation, but the comments at the Practical Ethics are even more devastating and take apart almost all of his arguments. One difference is that Geoff (banned from the Conversation) is commenting, and another is that so far no comments have been moderated. After briefly attempting to defend the indefensible, Levy throws in the towel, simply regurgitating his mantras about experts, consensus and peer review. There are so many excellent comments in response. A new blog post on this may be required.