The Elderly White Leftwing Sceptical Man’s Burden

Being a leftwing sort of person in the world of climate scepticism is sometimes a bit of a bore, and I tend to avoid political discussion which doesn’t actually impinge on the question of climate change. As Paul Matthews established in an article-cum-survey at Bishop Hill a while ago, we lefties, while in a minority, are not that rare.

Of course I fully understand that the insistence of academics in the denier-bashing industry that we are all a lot of rabid Trump-loving elderly white conservatives is nothing but a knee-jerk reaction by mainly elderly white lefties in their ivory towers. Of course most sceptics are conservatives, especially in the USA. If you propose raising taxes to spread trillions round the third world, who is going to be the first to notice and complain if not elderly white conservatives?

I have no problem discussing with commenters of different political persuasions. I don’t care who you vote for. Most of the time I don’t care who I vote for myself. However, I have problem with certain comments on certain high profile sites, and the problem affects us all, I think. There are thousands of examples, but here are just two:

From Tony Heller (formerly Steve Goddard) an article about the usual accusations from the usual quarters, making an excellent point, backed up with plenty of evidence, has this in its first paragraph:

In the 1930’s and 1940’s progressives put millions of Jews in gas chambers as scapegoats for Germany’s problems, and now progressive hate groups blame the weather on people who resist their climate scam.

Comparing climate alarmists to nazis is a disastrous mistake, false, intellectually shallow and horribly counter-productive. Calling nazis “progressives” in order presumably to identify them with everyone to the left of Senator McCain is beyond stupid.

And just when you think it can’t get any worse, this from WattsUpWithThat, which has some savage and very funny comments by Dr Duane Thresher about Hansen, Schmidt and GISS. However, when you go to Dr Thresher’s original article, you find a lot more ranting, including this:

Anybody ever notice how the leaders destroying Europe don’t have any of their biologically-own kids so no real reason to care about the future but they are always accusing Holocaust deniers, I mean climate change deniers, that if they don’t believe in global warming they don’t care about their kids?

This is presumably aimed at Theresa May, President Macron, and Chancellor Merkel. If you know just a little about these three people’s personal lives, you can see how vile this is.

I commented at the WUWT article.

There are two practical problems about the kind of remarks made by Heller and Thresher, apart from the fact that they’re offensive and false:

1) My natural reaction to any curiosity about climate scepticism is to recommend people to go the best sceptical sites. (My own “conversion” came quite simply from googling “global warming” and finding that Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts were more persuasive than Gavin and Monbiot.) But how can I recommend anyone to go to Goddard (now Tony Heller) or Duane Thresher for enlightenment?

2) I dream of the day when climate scepticism is seen as dangerous enough for it to be analysed seriously. The current tactic in the consensus media is to ignore the existence of Heller, Watts and McIntyre and concentrate on attacking Trump and Imhofe, but the day a debate starts, that will change very suddenly. That day may arrive sooner than expected under Trump. Then you can be sure that all the media’s Monbiots will be dragging out the most extreme quotes they can find to show what kind of spiteful rightwing weirdoes we are, and it won’t be difficult.

I know I’m the last person who should be preaching against rudeness and vulgarity. One day I may even take my own advice and act as if I wanted to win the argument, instead of simply sound off.

But don’t worry if I do reform. We’ll always have Brad.

9 thoughts on “The Elderly White Leftwing Sceptical Man’s Burden

  1. I don’t see an attempt to undo the social process that the world has made since the industrial revolution as being in any way progressive.
    But then, I tend to the Buddhist idea, that evil does not exist, there is only misplaced good.

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  2. I am personally shocked whenever I see anyone supposedly discussing science ranting about Nazis. I guess I am an idealist. However I do understand how some “climate deniers” end up ranting about Nazis. My conversion came when I was reading a blog explaining some result of a climate change extrapolation. I had asked an innocent question about the error bars which were absent. As an genetic epidemiologist deeply steeped in proper statistical analysis it seemed to me they should be there and I was wondering exactly how I was supposed to assess how likely the results of the extrapolation were of being correct. Plus I normally I really really really hate extrapolation. I will never forget how suddenly several other posters immediately swarmed me, accused of being a climate denier, in the pay of big oil, I hated my grandchildren, I was a racist and so on ad nauseam. The more I carefully and rationally explained why I wanted that error bar, the nastier they got. After about eight rounds I suddenly found myself blocked from commenting and all my posts removed. It was stunning. You get treated like that enough times, you’re bound to get fed up and throw some crap back at them. So I don’t approve of it, but I do understand it.

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  3. “My natural reaction to any curiosity about climate scepticism is to recommend people to go the best sceptical sites…. But how can I recommend anyone to go to Goddard (now Tony Heller) or Duane Thresher for enlightenment?”

    I think some kind of tripadvisor-type guide to sceptic sites might be useful. Unfortunately, the top two have more or less dried up.

    Climate Audit: 100% of articles are worth reading
    Bishop Hill: 100%
    Climate Etc: 80%
    Paul Homewood: 70%
    WUWT: About 40%
    Tony Heller: Don’t read what he writes, but he’s useful as a source of old newspaper cuttings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Paul
    On Bishop Hill drying up:
    There’s a new article today, the first for over a month, and loads of stuff on the discussion page, which I haven’t visited for a year or so. 14 articles so far this month! What have I been missing?

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  5. A common, and very human, trait is to think people with different views or beliefs to be somehow deficient. Of course, the Nazis employed that tactic to an extreme. So did many Communist regimes, who sent those who disagreed to Labour camps for re-educating or even to lunatic asylums. Back in the early C17th, there was the belief that if you even believed in the wrong type of Christianity you were condemned to burn forever in hell. In that context, proposals by the Levellers in the English Civil War for religious tolerance were quite alien.
    To a much lesser extent, in climatology (and the political beliefs that drive it) holds that the failure to believe the consensus – indeed any slight questioning of opinions made by members of that consensus – is evidence of “denial of science”. However fervently held – and backed by the revelations of the climate models – is much akin to C17th radical Puritanical Protestantism. The difference is that Puritans had the revealed Word of God to argue that their interpretation was correct, whilst the climate evangelists only have prophecies based on computer models that they have created.

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  6. “But how can I recommend anyone to go to Goddard (now Tony Heller) or Duane Thresher for enlightenment?”

    Because you’ve admitted to the following:

    “I know I’m the last person who should be preaching against rudeness and vulgarity. One day I may even take my own advice and act as if I wanted to win the argument, instead of simply sound off.”

    Hence, it would seem hypocritical if you don’t.

    🙂

    Like

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