You know that guilty pleasure you get from reading an email that obviously wasn’t meant for you? One of my seemingly-multiple female friends copied me in on one today, and it was most interesting.
See, my friend is Viral Marketing Director for a prominent player in Europe’s educational-tourism industry. Die Deutsche Gruppengedankgruppe GmbH, or DGGG, specializes in running conventions and seminars in the groupscience space—which covers fields like scientific consensuology, the Consensus Sciences and Post Normal Epistemology.
The highlight of the academic consensuology calendar is, of course, the Vienna Circle Institute‘s Konferenz für die Kommunikation des Konsenses der Wissenschaft des Wissenschaftliches Konsenses. Not for nothing has VienCircSciConCommConCon been called ‘the BiMonSciFiCon of consensus science’: it’s massive.
If you haven’t been on at least one WienerSchaft (as those who’ve been on at least one WienerSchaft call WienerSchafts), then you’re nobody in the Climate and Majoritarian Sciences. Intellectually speaking, you’re a pygmy among midgets. A hobbit among dwarves. A ninth of a man in a world of half-men. The crap de la crap. I’m not saying you’re dim, but it generally takes you three or four metaphors to realize you’re being insulted.
Inevitably, the contract for SciConCommConCon ’18 was awarded to DGGG. And the rest is history: my friend is working on a draft program. She attempts to CC it to her boss, Brandt Keith. She fails.
And you, reader, are now the beneficiary of a sneak preview of this year’s drawcard:
Special guest Professor Stephan Lewandowsky will introduce
Language Incompatible with Human Dignity
as a Tactic to Silence, Stigmatize and Suppress:
a step-by-step guide
for scientists, educators and communicators
in the climate change context
We’ve invited the most recognized people in punitive communication to lead this intensive workshop. All our tutors are linguists of the stature of Paul Bain, George Lakoff and more.
As an example of what you’ll produce on completion of the learning objectives, the following essay earned a Distinction in last year’s exam.
What Fake Skeptic is That? Field Guide to a Few Faux Foes of Science
Deep in the Dark Continent, on the open savannah, we see a reputable scientist. It could be anyone, but it’s probably your daughter. She’s ivory-skinned with terror—as usual. But it isn’t the science that scares her.
Today she’s being hounded by pseudoskeptics. They’re baying for her blood, bleating over every misplaced comma, monstering her in a dogged and rabidly pig-headed bid to cow the facts.
Science has a term for this ghoulish gynecomachy: Serengeti skepticism.
But to blame the recent spate of maulings on Luddite boors or dinosaurs who hate science would be to miss the complete picture. For those responsible, it’s not even about the science. It’s about the science, and the threat it poses to their dreams of a free market where dog eats dog and nary a government regulation stands in the way of the Law of the Jungle. For all their howls about screening fallacies, hidden declines, arbitrary temperature adjustments and pal review, they’re just dog-whistling past the graveyard of an obsolete economic ideology.
Suddenly, from a smoky miasma smacking of bad faith and emphysema, an ageing Ball is trotted out by vested interests from the stable of lapdogs in their pocket. And do you think the masses of slavering frauditors pause, even for a second, to sniff the fishy pedigree of their alpha “scientist”?
Do bears crap in people-toilets?
Not according to anyone serious.
And so it is that skeptoids—with their primal need to weasel out of the implications of science—would never look a gift stalking-horse in the mouth. They can’t afford to.
Old man Ball is still braying to the choir of climate kuffar about some nit he thinks he’s picked when the sudden smell of Dick makes the pack change tack. Dick! Dick! Dick! To a man, homo negator is gay for Dick. Turning tail together, like birds of a feather they make their concerted, well-orchestrated beeline for Lindzen’s already-flawed “paper,” drooling to wolf down a fresh trough of expired denier-fodder.
And now a thousand ears prick up, for lo! Murray is parroting howlers again. The running dogs of carbon capitalism now trample their young to lap up the latest crock of Fox Science rattled off by “Snaky” Salby.
In the Medieval bestiary of fake doubt, one bedrock species is the only constant: the bottom-feeding attention-seeker that hogs the light like a stooltoad (the toadstool’s contrarian cousin). When they’re not secreting disembowelled rats on your doorstep, they’re shedding something drier than a dead dingo’s donger: faux-crocodile tears for their precious Denied Debate. How they crave the live exchange of views, ravenous for a good consensus-cruelling!
Don’t take the bait—it’s actually a trap.
Scientists have a simile. Debating the evidence with a climate-Truther, they say, is like fæco-Roman wrestling with a pig. You can’t possibly compete; you end up reeking of nightsoil like some halitotic caecotroph; and The Beast lords every turd-bemerded minute of it over you.**
Don’t even think of bitching about how you should have listened to me. I know you should. That’s what I’m saying.
To the “sceptic” rabble, the dismay of a respectable scientist is so much chum in the churning surf. Your curses are catnip to them. With the rat cunning to ferret out a mole of fear-pheromones from as far as a furlong, even the cravenest sub-ilk of the science-eschewing kind comes flocking, borne on the tiny monkey-wings of buffalo, to gwk at your pwning. The teeming denialist horde shares a single, feral drive: to crow over the savaging of Science on the public stage.
Ask not, therefore, why the swarms swarm. I just explained why: Denialists feed on Debate, which feeds straight into the hands of Delay.
A million deniers Trojan-horsing and Gish-galloping roughshod over consensus opinion: is this Mother Nature’s most sick-making display? Yes. And that’s saying a lot—she’s a vile old exhibitionist at the most G-rated of times.
So if you were on the trail of the Morally Or Logically Consistent Pseudoskeptic, you might as well put down the binoculars. There’s no such animal.
They’ve gone the way of the Honest Disinformer. In the rat-race of modern science, they’re rarer than hen’s testes.
This essay is not about legitimate, scholarly criticism, which all scientists welcome at the appropriate time and place.
* If you must debate, however, always use the lamest possible arguments; debating properly would be like casting pearls before swine.
** Source: ‘Monckton’s Monkeying Apes Guerrilla Tactics of Big Evil,’ scientific blog article, http://www.skepticalscience.com (cached 6 June 2008)
Perhaps you’ve dreamed of making the cover of ZooIntersectionality, the hard-social-sciences journal at the nexus of ethology and logothety, as this essay did.
Or maybe you just want to communicate science more effectively, having reached the limits of what honesty can achieve.
Then this masterclass may suit your needs.
Remember, preregistration is essential as this is always our most popular stream.
Assumes knowledge equivalent to completion of Session 555: Engagement with Contrarians—The Solution, or Just A Tremendous Waste of Time? ◼︎`
OMG. I think I’m in lust.
So why am I sharing this awesome educational opportunity with you? Shouldn’t I have deleted the unintentional communication immediately and notified the sender?
Well, by an astonishing miracle, someone forgot to add the usual boilerplate at the end of the email—the stuff that admonishes you against reproducing the contents on pain of vaguely-adumbrated legal uglinesses. I know, I know, such threats are probably hollow, but I’ve always been the sort of superstitious, weak-minded, unquestioning person they work on.
If I could afford it, I’d be on a plane to Austria before you could say Wienerseptemberbeginnenfest. If anyone needs a seminar like this I do. Lest you think this is just my usual false modesty, check out the following. It’s my utterly bestmost attempt at polemicizing in the style of the essay above.
For several years now, armies of irate pensioners have been swarming the countryside, spurred on by feverish websites, taking photographs of thermometers in the belief that this would invalidate concerns about climate change—and seemingly unaware of the fact that the utility of a thermometer derives from the accuracy of its measurement rather than anything captured by a colour photo.
Likewise, climate “sceptics” obsessively yelp at the alleged frailties of the surface temperature record and accuse respectable scientific agencies of “fudging” data, oblivious to the fact that multiple independent analyses of the temperature record give rise to the exact same conclusion. The further fact that the satellite data yield precisely the same result without any surface-based thermometers is of no relevance to climate “sceptics.” It is also of no relevance to climate “sceptics” that their claims about the absence of global warming are logically incoherent with their simultaneous claim that humans didn’t cause the warming.
And that’s as far as I got.
Believe me now? As a hateblogger I’ve never felt more amateur. Give generously, that I may receive the expert tuition I need.
Meanwhile, until the event itself kicks off on Austrian Harvest Rot’s Eve, I’ll be drip-feeding you the hottest-looking snippoids from the confab’s agenda.
Update: The otherwise schmutzig tone of the comment thread below is marred by a single off-note in the form of this erudite poem by beththeserf:
Ode to intellectual modesty
Hey, u gotta heed Socrates,
wisest of men,* who says,
‘if it’s so ’tis only because
I do not ‘know.’ There’s also
Hamlet addressing Horatio,
more things above and below
heaven, e’en into middle earth,
that u can’t guess, let alone know.
And Rumsfeldt declaring ‘Unknown
unknowns;’ beware the ideas of Mann,
basing everything on one tree ring to rule them
all, a kind of Gruppengedankish-measurement.
*Survey by Oracle of Delphi. ‘Recursive modesty.’
Note to Commenters: please resist guessing or “outing” my friend’s name. More importantly, please don’t retweet this post and tell all your Facebook contacts about it, let alone casually mention it in the top slot of a WUWT thread. My friend really loves her guerrilla-marketing job, and she really needs her guerrilla-marketing job. The more eyeballs this unfortunate leak gets, the more trouble she’ll get in. (You try paying alimony on a 5-year-old kid while satiating your own lifelong fossil-fuel dependency on a few hundred Euros’ worth of unemployment benefits a week. It’s a pretty good life, sure, but hardly one of great luxury.) —B.K.