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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The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Help! How do I know?

How do you tell a scientist from a non-scientist? Where does science end, and propaganda, politics, and opinion begin? You only need to know one thing:

Straight away, this sorts the wheat from the weeds. We don’t learn about the natural world by calling people names or hiding data. We don’t learn by chucking out measurements in favor of opinions. We don’t learn by suppressing discussions, or setting up fake rules about which bits of paper count or which people have a licence to speak.

A transparent, competitive system where all views are welcome is the fastest way to advance humanity. The Royal Society is the oldest scientific association in the world. Its motto is essentially, Take No One’s Word For It. In other words, assume nothing; look at the data. When results come in that don’t fit the theory, a scientist chucks out his theory. A non-scientist has “faith”, he “believes” or assumes his theory is right, and tries to make the measurements fit. When measurements disagree, he ignores the awkward news, and “corrects”, or statistically alters, the data–always in the direction that keeps his theory alive.


Spanish translation of Skeptics Handbook I

Spanish Translation – The Skeptics Handbook I

I am delighted to announce that finally, after drafts have been sent between three continents, the Spanish translation is ready to share. With over 330 million native speakers of Spanish, I expect it will be one of the most popular of all the translations.

Download the 1.2Mb emailable version.

Thanks especially to Víctor González García in Mexico, who did most of the work and coordination, and with editing help from Pepe Salama in Spain.

Please send links to this page or to Pepe’s blog page to your Spanish speaking friends, so they can download copies from either site. And consider PePe’s page as the main home for discussion of the Handbook in Spanish.

There is a larger 7Mb version here for printing.

All translations and versions are available on this page.

Volunteers have translated the first Skeptics Handbook into German, French, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, Turkish, Portuguese, Danish, Japanese, Balkan and Spanish. The second Skeptics Handbook is available in French and Turkish.


How many tax dollars have you paid towards climate PR or research?

Richard North has picked up the ABC Drum article “The Money Trail”, and wonders about the total value of financial contributions towards carbon related research or PR from the UK and EU. I’ve wondered the same thing. Indeed, I tried to find answers for other nations and to add to the USA figures I put into Climate Money, but rapidly discovered, as he has, that it’s a hideously complex task. It’s a Ph.D size project, and there are no grants available to fund this kind of Ph.D.

Five times the cost of the Manhattan Project

Spending is hugely fragmented, between several departments of state, including DEFRA and DECC, with contributions from government agencies and quangos, including the Carbon Trust.

Then there are the devolved governments, the regional development agencies and local authorities, plus a very considerable input from the European Union, through the Framework research programme and also via direct contacts issued by the various Commission DGs.

Among the big spenders, though, are the seven UK research councils, which collectively dispense billions into the research community each year. You might think that each of these would be able to pinpoint the amount dispensed on climate research, but that it very [...]

Turkish – Skeptics Handbook II

Turkish Translation Skeptics Handbook II

Once again, marvel at the worldwide grassroots network of volunteers. E-mail all your Turkish friends. Click on the image above to see the Turkish Skeptics Handbook II. The first Skeptics Handbook in Turkish was announced in August (and had a rather interesting synopsis of the Turkish situation vis a vis climate change at the time).

The climate industry wall of money

This is the copy of the file I sent the ABC Drum Unleashed. I’m grateful they are allowing both sides of the story to get some airtime (though Bob Carter’s , and Marc Hendrickx’s posts were both rejected. Hat-tip to Louis and Marc). Unfortunately the updated version I sent late yesterday which included some empirical references near the end was not posted until 4.30pm EST. (NB: The Australian spelling of skeptic is “sceptic”)

Somehow the tables have turned. For all the smears of big money funding the “deniers”, the numbers reveal that the sceptics are actually the true grassroots campaigners, while Greenpeace defends Wall St. How times have changed. Sceptics are fighting a billion dollar industry aligned with a trillion dollar trading scheme. Big Oil’s supposed evil influence has been vastly outdone by Big Government, and even those taxpayer billions are trumped by Big-Banking.

The big-money side of this debate has fostered a myth that sceptics write what they write because they are funded by oil profits. They say, follow the money? So I did and it’s chilling. Greens and environmentalists need to be aware each time they smear with an ad [...]

The slow road to… getting things right

I watched part of the UK Parliamentary Committee Panel investigations with Phil Jones, and my main thought was ferrgoodnesssake! The nation of the Magna Carta, Newton, and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution: Can’t the UK empire just fly Steven McIntyre in, and sit these two men down in the same room at the same time? You know, ask questions of one then the other, drilling down with no tea-and-cakes breaks, till they sort out each item on a prearranged list?

Billions of lives depend on figuring out whether CO2 matters, and trillions of dollars rest on the scientific output of East Anglia CRU.  If it’s so important, why don’t the UK Government get serious? Or for that matter, why doesn’t the IPCC volunteer to arrange this, all televised and restore its credibility; show they are take “unscientific behaviour” seriously?) Note that I’m not suggesting that the panel members aren’t serious, only that they have a long learning curve in this incredibly detailed saga, and McIntyre could save everyone some time.

Steven McIntyre has written an excellent submission (worth reading). That will have to do…

I did like that the dialogue was so civilized (that’s such a rare thing), but [...]

Lambert, victim of his own spin?

Lambert has replied to the post I did that pointed out that his use of the fake “Pinker Tape” in the debate with Monckton was a cheap-shot ambush with no real significance.

As usual, his reply includes major claims like “a dishonest post” and ”there’s no wiggle room here”, and, as usual, he can’t back them up.

Dishonest?  I quote Pinker as saying:

[I]f we give Christopher Monckton the benefit of doubt and assume that he meant “the impact of clouds on the surface shortwave radiation” than it can pass.”

And Lambert thinks that somehow this really means that Pinker said Monckton’s terminology can pass, but his analysis is wrong? This exactly-backward interpretation is delusional (or dishonest, eh?). To read it from Pinker’s statement, you need to throw out the English grammar rulebook, and read from right to left. So now, it’s dishonest to quote someone directly? This is another example of the convoluted way faithful AGW people have to think in order to dig themselves out of the hole they find themselves in.

Let’s recall after all the too-ing and fro-ing, that even if Pinker thinks Monckton is wrong, even if Lambert gets a quote from Pinker saying Monckton [...]

Science associations give science a bad name

In this story from The Australian, we have the ludicrous double-irony of subscribers paying to read a story that disguises how their own taxpayer dollars are used against them to fund the  propaganda that’s used to justify milking them for more taxpayer dollars….

Sometimes, you’d think media releases from science associations and universities were Commandments from God.

If football associations put out media releases that tried to whitewash the news of clubs rampantly breaking rules, or of officials letting them get away with it, or of umpires placing bets on the outcome of games they rule over, the sports journos would bake the officials, grill the umpires, and lampoon the clubs. But, when the topic is “science”, and the spokespeople have polysyllabic titles, they are untouchable.

Admittedly, there is that other effect: advertising. The Higher Education Supplement is designed to sell advertising space to universities, and asking the top dogs biting-hard questions is probably not the way to win big contracts (the journalists might be cynical, but Australian universities are a $12 billion dollar industry). And look in the last budget: There’s a neat pink icing on the cake in the graph below, thanks to the man-made theory of global warming. That [...]