Dear entire skeptic leadership except me,
How embarrassment. Tonight an inner voice, intractable to scientific understanding, told me to check the contents of my CENSORED folder. I’m glad I did, because the first thing I noticed was the email I was supposed to send y’all last year—the one with instructions for the maintenance of the Good Ship Skepticism during my absence—gathering digital dust.
Which would explain why nobody fed my fish.
(My deep apologies to anyone I may have accused of premeditated piscicide earlier today. Anthony, please send me your dry-cleaning bill. Marc, your Humvee was already like that. Sorry. It must have been those liberals I saw speeding away from the scene of the keying in a yellow Hyundai.)
Anyway, here’s what I meant to tell you before I exiled myself for a year. Besser spät als nie, and all that.
Subject: I am just going outside and may be some time
If you’re reading this it means I believe in the science.
God knows when you’ll see me again on the skeptical flat-earthosphere. But when I return, I promise to answer all your questions in a trilogy of must-read CliScep posts serialized over five to six nail-biting days.
The next 90% of the email is concerned with the care and walking of Bobby Fischer, Blackish Backfisch and Nemo Dat Rule. This is purely of historical interest now that my fishies are nowhere to be found, having turned on each other in an interpiscine rock-paper-scissors hunger game.
Oh, before I go, just some quick tips to help the skeptical movement avoid annihilation.
(Apologies in advance for the somewhat unnatural-sounding, redundant exposition. I assume this email will be hacked and read by parties who aren’t always familiar with the ins and outs of the climate debate, so I’ve tried to write it with a broad audience in mind.)
- Maintain what Hoofnagle & Hoofnagle  call ‘the illusion of debate’ by the use of structured arguments that give the impression we disagree with the other side.
- When you see their certainty, raise them a confidence interval, which you can then sell—in its refined “doubt” form—to generate funds for our network of think-tanks. In other words, adhere to the ‘Merchants of Doubt’ business plan that has already made everyone on this mailing list a millionaire several times over.
- Remember: if you can fool the common man into thinking scientists aren’t unanimously sure about every single aspect of the sky, sea or land’s behaviour 100 years from now, then he’s more likely to believe science still has work to do—a libelous insult to the hard-working scientists.
- To make the alarmist narrative look even shakier than it is, it is necessary to reposition CAGW as wild-ass conjecture rather than baseless speculation.
- Keep up the pressure on local school boards to teach “alternatives” to the scientific consensus—such as Foreign Languages, Math, or Science.
- Invest intensively in inner-city school debate teams, either by sponsorship or anonymous financial support. Internal research shows that the youth are the future, so if we can somehow make arguing “dope”, we can make America great again.
- Continue to erode the integrity of science by replicating, correcting and improving upon the findings of a handful of climatologists flagged for their substandard work. This is all spelled out already in the ‘Serengeti Strategy’ spearheaded by our Canadian friend, of course.
Last but not least, put every available resource into Operation Death Threats ’N’ Dead Rats, our secret campaign of organized intimidation against “anyone guilty of doing good science” (as Mann so obtusely put it).
Boosting our operational capacity must be the priority, even if it means hiring another 200 university graduates for the threat-writing centre. Our Riyadh Commitment Goal, I hardly need remind you, is to be able to send two emails per annum by 2025. Internal guesswork indicates that’s the level of firepower at which Prof. David Karoly (ANU) will be “deterred…. from presenting the best evidence [of the impending death of the climate].”
As my parting gift, please find attached a scanned Moleskineful of jokes at various stages of combat-readiness. Where I’m going there will be no use for wit, so I freely bequeath this priceless arsenal to anyone who can read my handwriting. Deride and Conquer!
(An 8.6MB file was attached at this point.)
Admit nothing, nullius in verba (Trust No Bitch), and may the Method be your shield in the courtroom as it is in life.
But hang on: if this was in my CENSORED folder, then that means I sent you—oh… no no no… Shitballs.
You may have received an email from me, in error, containing raw, unfiltered, uncentred dendrochronology data. The file in question is personal and intended only for the titillation of my wife and myself. Obviously, I have no legal right [I just checked] to demand that you respect the sanctity of our marriage by deleting all copies from your computer. The best I can do is appeal to whatever honor there is among deniers and implore you all to do unto my dirty data what you would have others do unto your dirty data.
Thank you for complying despite not understanding.
*ABOUT OUR OBFUSCATION POLICY
Loath as one is to break out the ol’ black highlighter, the current climate sometimes makes redaction a necessary evil. In a post-Heartlandgate, Post Facto age the price of liberty is eternal paranoia. You never know when something you put online is going to be read, downloaded and plastered on the internet—often by parties that may have interests above and beyond honest, objective science-denial.
If you still don’t believe people are out to get you, try the following thought experiment:
Imagine people are out to get you.
[I owe this technique to Prof. Stephan Lewandowsky.] ■