A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Bullying is not science

Science is broken. Bloggers are paid to smear scientists, and rather than decry the intimidation and bullying, groups like the David Suzuki Foundation, New Scientist, the UN and Nature (the journal!) actively support it. DeSmogblog is run from a PR firm “Hoggan and Associates”, and Jim Hoggan is on the Suzuki Foundation board. Professional marketing types attack scientists for any mistake on any topic they may have ever made, for their funding, their religious beliefs, and they scorn their credentials (that’s rich, coming from PR graduates). If they can’t find “funding”, they imply it anyway. Who needs evidence?

Cartoon: Instead of evidence people just bully

How many Greenpeace or Suzuki supporters know that their donations fund ad hominem smear campaigns against scientists?

Meanwhile James Hansen from NASA calls for people to be jailed for “denial”. One green candidate in Australia has suggested we may need to suspend democracy — sure, lets have a totalitarian emergency state to save the climate. It’s chilling.

Usually people who point out flaws are called “whistleblowers”, but in climate science, they’re “deniers”. If the crisis-team had evidence, they would provide it. Instead they call people names. Gore’s staffers were so outrageously viperous about one eminent physicist, Fred Singer, that he sued them for libel and won. But how many scientists would be willing to fight for their names against lies from the Vice Presidents’ staff? Singer won the case, but the power of the bully-boys was made clear.

Pat Michaels lost his job as Virginia’s state climatologist, so did the chief scientist of the US Department of Energy, Will Happer. This set the scene in the early 90’s.

Why would any scientist want to raise doubts against well funded, well organised autocrats with no scruples? Many scientists wait till they retire so they can speak freely. Despite the intimidation, thousands are rising up in protest, so great is their concern.

Convince us with evidence not with threats.

Science is not just a subject in school. Lives depend upon it.

There is no civilization without science.

There is no science without civility.

When we slow science, people will die who could have been saved. There is no aspect of science that is improved by bullying and threats.

Science is nothing without polite discussion.Those who mock, scorn, and attack researchers are not scientists but stone age thinkers. They try to push us back to a new Dark Ages for their own personal gain of money, power or status.

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14 comments to Bullying is not science

  • #

    On that note,

    Who else saw Komrade Kevin drop the Denier label warning thing last night in the Lamestream media.

    Hey Kevin guess what, you’re a pawn for big business. You are their lackey and you are a sellout.

    C02 does not affect the climate – and yes kevin, I have looked my 2yo son in they eye and told him that.

    I was thinking of teaching him to say “Global cooling” when it rains, but then I thought I had better not as he will get bullied for it (by his teachers).


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    [...] a subversive and fraudulent tax based on fraudulent science fiction. As K Rudd/Turn-bull tries to bully Australia into being taxed to oblivion the populace are asking – why havnt we been told about this, why [...]


  • #

    If he calls AGW sceptics “criminals” one more time, I may have to sue for damage to my reputation (Well, after Saturday’s party, there’s not much left, but thats not the point..) a criminal, as a dictionary definition, is very specific, and being labelled as such for simply having the presence of mind to *gasp* doubt the word of a politician, has the potential to influence others perception of my trustworthiness.


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    Dave Broad

    The debate on climate change is over. So let the name calling begin!


  • #
    Tom Forrester-Paton

    I would be very happy to contribute to a fund set up to take class legal action in respect of the gratuitous and unfounded insults with which, as an AGW sceptic, I have been labelled. Rudd calling me a “criminal” is surely actionable? Any lawyers out there?

    And while it would be profoundly satisfying to win such an action, revenge is a dish best taken cold – the Americans have a term for using unwarranted influence to frustrate the careers (not quite the same as defaming) of good, honest scientists like Ian Plimer and David Bellamy – “tortious interference” – surely we have an equivalent in Australian law? And wouldn’t that be a class action to get behind?

    I propose the establishment of a fund for these purposes, to be called The Naked Emperor Fund.


  • #
    Mike S.

    One thing that doesn’t help is that we have such a paucity of popular terms for referring to the degree/nature of a skeptic’s skepticism. This lets the alarmists lump together everyone who disagrees with them as if they’re all the same. For example, Monckton and Lomberg diverge quite a bit in their views on AGW, but are both called “deniers” or whatever the insult du jour happens to be.

    Maybe we should put together a sliding scale of skepticism – I’d call it the “Six Cs”, based on defining the alarmist’s view of AGW as “Cost-effectively Correctable Catastrophic Carbon-driven Climate Change”.

    C2 level – skeptical that any significant Climate Change is happening
    C3 level – skeptical that Climate Change is primarily Carbon-driven
    C4 level – skeptical that Carbon-driven Climate Change will likely be Catastrophic
    C5 level – skeptical that Catastrophic Carbon-driven Climate Change is Correctable to any significant degree
    C6 level – skeptical that it would be Cost-effective to try mitigating Correctable Catastrophic Carbon-driven Climate Change (as opposed to adapting)

    (Since, to be a C1 skeptic, one would have to be skeptical of either Change or Climate, I think we can safely skip that designation)

    So, if a person believes climate change is probably carbon-driven but has a lot of doubts that it will be catastrophic, they would be a C4 skeptic. Self-disclosure: I’m a C3 skeptic.

    P.S. – Tom – love that idea!


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    C7 level – skeptical that Emission Trading is a workable method of reducing Carbon output.

    That would put most of the Greens party into C7 level skeptics.

    BTW, personally I’m not skeptical that Climate exists as a theoretical construct, but I am skeptical that anyone on Earth has a practical system for measuring it, especially down to tenths of a degree change within a decade. Climate is a highly complex thing and our coverage with thermometers, etc is not particularly dense (probably less than 1% of the surface is measured).


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    C999 – Al gore is a scientist, is correct and would never mislead us as he practices what he preaches

    This is a special categorisation for KRudd and the ABC


  • #
    Neil Fisher

    Mike S:

    I was probably a C3 or C4 on your list, but some recent revelations from EM Smith and a few other things have pushed me back to a C2, I think. Why? Well, first we have EMS showing a rather disturbing propensity of GISS to move where the thermometers are located. Second, we have the revelation that most of the change in average is from a change in the minimum temperature, not the maximum. Third, we have known for a long time that the “corrections” to the thermometers are on the same order as the claimed warming. But perhaps most damning is that it appears that we are not yet able to determine what is “natural variability” and what is “forced variability” – as Jo and many others have shown, the rise and rate of rise is not significantly different now from the 1920s/30s. So overall, I would say we are still “in the noise” in terms of the actual measurement of climate change. Together with the published research of Pielke Snr (specifically, boundary layer effects), Michaels & McKitrick (specifically, correlation of temperature rise to local GDP), and much more, I find it difficult to see how we can be certain of any trend in climate system heat content, and it’s also difficult to credit that the measurement of temperature of such a complex system at one point (ie, the surface, not just one measurement) can tell us about the heat content of that system.
    Now, having said that, it may perhaps surprise you to learn that I do think us humans affect climate – it seems to me that this is trivially true, as we change our environment to suit ourselves and this must affect local climate, and hence, on a large enough scale this will produce regional and then global changes. Are we at that point yet? It’s hard to say, but given that even such a heavily populated and urbanised place as the USA (at least compared to here in Oz) has only managed to significantly alter around 5% of the surface, there’s still some doubt that this is true – at least for me. I don’t think we are at the stage where we can accurately predict what such changes will do over decades and centuries, even in general terms, and I certainly don’t think that GHG’s have been shown to be the major forcing, or that feedbacks cannot cancel out any potential warming from them. It certainly seems to me that we do not have anywhere near enough knowledge of the climate system to either:
    i) start deliberately trying to change it (geo-engineering) or
    ii) make significant changes to a system that has lifted millions out of poverty or
    iii) prevent those unfortunates who are still stuck in grinding poverty from lifting themselves out of it using the same methods we used.
    It also seems to me that climate change is slow, and that technological change is fast and accelerating. In the next two or three decades, we may see at least three technologies that have the potential to completely transform our world – fusion energy, artificial intelligence and molecular nanotechnology. Fusion, and IEC fusion in particular, promise to provide us with an almost inexhaustable supply of cheap, clean energy with no country or area having a monopoly on the fuel. Molecular nanotechnology – which seemed inevitable even in the 1950′s – will radically alter not just our manufacturing sectors, but medicine as well as what it means to be human. And lastly, artificial intelligence will help push us to new and better things in all areas. That these three technologies will interact is inevitable, and it certainly makes the concept of a technological “singularity” – where the future is so radically different to the present as to be all but incomprehensible to us – seem both hopefull and frightening at the same time. Still, what a time to be alive, eh? Wouldn’t want to miss a thing, would you? So you see that I have great hopes for humanity and it’s future, but of course, that’s tempered with, I must admit, not a little fear – fear of the unknown, of course.
    Sorry for the OT rant, I’ll shut up now ;-)


  • #
    Mike S.

    Good point, Tel, I’ll have to make it the “Seven Cs”:

    C7 level – Skeptical that a CO2 emissions trading scheme (ETS) is a viable/effective means for addressing Cost-effectively Correctable Catastrophic Carbon-driven Climate Change

    Hopefully nobody comes up with an eighth, or I’ll probably have to break out my thesaurus :-) .

    MadJak – I’m not ignoring yours when I say that, but we can abbreviate C999′s description as “Cuckoo^999″.

    Neil – I’m with you. I could easily be a C2 as well, especially after analyzing about 110 years of raw daily temperature data for my area and finding it can be explained entirely as (1) an annual sine wave plus (2) a square wave coinciding with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation plus (3) the urban heat island effect plus (4) trendless “noise”.

    I think, more than any science, it’s that I’ve accepted the existence of climate change (specifically, warming) as a “given” so often for the purposes of argument (namely, trying to show alarmists that simply accepting the climate is changing tells us nothing about how or even if we should do anything about it), that I don’t bother to exert any skepticism there any more.


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    Judith Curry Earth Scientist open letter on science and research ethics:


  • #
    Aqua Fyre

    MadJak said..

    C999 – Al gore is a scientist, is correct and would never mislead us as he practices what he preaches

    We all know that Al Gore invented “Global Warming”…lol…

    But here we have Al Gore accidently claiming that he creatted the internet…

    ” I took the initiative of creating the internet “


    Aqua Fyre


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    James Callaway



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    Maduro 8, the presidential palace in Caracas told reporters at a news conference: “we have already received the asylum application letter