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Got baseless smears and innuendo? Perfect for the ABC.

Posted By Joanne Nova On August 2, 2010 @ 1:10 am In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Re: Climate change ‘brown wash’

Kellie Tranter attacks imaginary deniers who she doesn’t name, cite, or reference. All her inferences and innuendo are backed up by assertive confidence, a pile of convenient guesses, and nothing else.  Everything she accuses the Deniers of is something that those on the Big Scare Campaign do–and if the Deniers do it at all, those who sell-the-scare do it 100 times more.

Shouldn’t we be suing the guys who lost the data we paid for?

And countermanding her legal speculation: sanctions for those who provide inaccurate or misleading information are surely more appropriate for the workers who are paid by the citizens to give balanced and careful reporting — rather than those who offer a product for voluntary purchase in the private market.

The citizens are, after all, forced to pay for the services of the Department of Climate Change, the CRU, the CSIRO, BOM and ABC. No citizen is forced to buy Heaven and Earth. The official organisations are chartered to provide the whole truth, not just their favorite parts. Who in their right mind expects a single speech or book from a private individual to encompass the entirety of scientific knowledge?

Last time I looked, there were no laws saying non-fiction items must be impartial and unbiased.

The Brown-washing article was incorrect, inaccurate, based on fallacies of ad hominem, reasoned by mere authority, and was stocked with countless unsubstantiated claims about imaginary malfeasant authors. It’s so vacant, and lacking in any reasonable argument that it doesn’t just reflect not-too-well on the author, it begs us to ask why our tax dollars are being used to propagate this kind of abject literary and logical failure.

I’m not calling for anyone to be silenced, it’s just a question of value for money.Why did the editors of ABC Unleashed think a generic unresearched smear was worth publishing?

It’s the sheer lack of research that marks this as mindless

Tranter addresses her imaginary unnamed denier, imagining how rich they must be becoming:

Now suppose you’re a “brown washer” and you put yourself up as an expert on the issue of climate change. You knock up a book on the subject. You’re paid to deliver lectures, and you’re using the lectures to promote your profession or trade as an author. Hundreds attend and many purchase your book because they are relatively unsophisticated in scientific matters and want to know more. You’re in “trade or commerce”.

But as I noted in Climate Money, the money for those with lectures, books, junkets and committees vastly outdoes the rewards of skepticism by 3500 : 1. It’s not just a vague ad hom by Tranter, its so wrong, it springs back to hit those she defends who write the manifestos of doom instead. Al Gore is making millions from things proven in court to be wrong, and Tranter seems to think that’s ok.

This point had already been negated by well referenced material already published on… the Drum itself.

Tranter doesn’t just do inadequate research, she must have actively avoided reading anything written by the group she writes about. She might despise “deniers” but watch her become one while talking to her imaginary friend:

You don’t mention, nor do you offer any evidence to refute or alternative hypotheses to explain, that carbon dioxide affects global temperature due to the well-known greenhouse effect, or that no known factor apart from greenhouse gases can account for the past century of warming – not solar cycles, nor cosmic rays, not magnetic fields, not urban heat effects.

Tranter sure can muster the bluster. Skeptics don’t even mention evidence…? With 10 seconds of Googling, a ten year old could prove her wrong.

With 10 seconds of Googling, a ten year old could prove her wrong.

Try to imagine which skeptical book Tranter actually read: was it Heaven and Earth with 2000 references? Could it be Steve Goreham’s Climatism with er… only 1079 end notes. I guess it wasn’t Bob Carter’s new book Climate: The Counter Consensus, because its references and notes run for 57 pages.

I’m not suggesting an argument is right because it has hundreds of references, but if Tranter wanted to research whether skeptical books are based on evidence, she might actually have to thumb through one. Her imaginary-theoretical-skeptic offers no evidence, but that’s just it, anyone can write about their imaginary friends, let’s not use taxpayers dollars and pretend their opinion is worthy of a national discussion.

Skeptics don’t just discuss the evidence, we discuss what evidence itself is. (And also what it’s not.) Has Tranter  heard of the word empirical?

This is what the ABC calls “contributing to the national debate”?

We could ask Kellie why she didn’t bother reading a single skeptical argument before trying to smear the unpaid grassroots volunteers who are trying to save her freedom and money. She’s pinned her status to defending one scientific theory without reading anything from the prosecution. Perhaps she answers this herself:

Why don’t you deal with this evidence? Could it be incompetence or ignorance, that you’re not aware of it? Could it be ineptitude or cowardice, that you can’t answer it or won’t try to? Could it be cowardly self-interest, that facing it would make the premises of your arguments untenable and your output unsaleable? Could it be calculated deception, that acknowledging scientific truth would invalidate your fallacious assertions and hence your entire position, so that self preservation requires that you deny its existence?

Except I wouldn’t suggest anything so dark and premeditated. It’s more Pavlovian. Tranter has learned that in the right circles you can say baseless smears and you win applause. She’s just being obedient.


There is one paragraph packed with keywords of what she thinks is evidence. But she rote-repeats the  arguments from one of the 2005 online Guides-to-being-an-Alarmist written by one of the many vested interests: (I’ve added my points inline).

You fail to mention the consistent global scale temperature trends of the past century: (you mean the one that started 150 years before humans heavily industrialized and hasn’t changed trend since?) the ocean warming far away from cities (the same oceans that have cooled in the last 5000 years?), the ice sheet melt and sea level rise (which also started 150 years too soon, and would happen regardless of the cause of the warming), and the melting of mountain ice caps (ditto). You ignore the direct satellite measurements that have tracked the gradual progression of the enhanced greenhouse effect (the possible evidence of carbons pitiful 1 degree of direct effect, but not of the catastrophic feedbacks eh?): the measurements that show the widening gap between the solar radiation going in and the longwave radiation getting out (again: got no feedback, got no disaster). You show five years of data to make a point that you know is invalidated by a longer time record (and you show 130 years of data which is invalidated by 1000 years, 5000 years, 150,000 years, and 500,000,000 years… need we go on?).

Tranter argues that “deniers” who write books for profit with misinformation ought to be sued. She forgets that in a free nation she is free to point out all those flaws by writing her own book (instead of just baselessly asserting they are there without a single example) and in a free market she is free to get rich by shaming those who don’t tell the truth. But in a free market she’d have to impress someone to part with their own money, instead of a government employee spending other people’s.

I wouldn’t suggest she’s being dark and premeditated. It’s more Pavlovian. Tranter has learned that in the right circles you can say baseless smears and you win applause. She’s being obedient.

How is it, that humility and wisdom are in such short supply that an untrained non-scientist who apparently doesn’t know what evidence is, and can’t quote a single scientific point in support of her catastrophic claims, thinks she knows that “truth” of complex climate science and is able to predict the long-term weather? She rails at skeptical scientists who are not true “climate-scientists” (what ever they are). But the absurdity of an uninformed  lawyer definitively declaring “those scientists are wrong” escapes her. She is buried by her own reasoning. The legal lobbyist for women’s-business-rights thinks that Professors from MIT, Princeton, UC and UAH (to name a few) are wrong, but can’t say why, so she ignores them and attacks the sunday-afternoon-beer-n-barbeque-skeptics instead.

When it comes to “experts”, she’s picked her own, and doesn’t mind that hers have hidden or lost all their raw data and been caught seeking out ways to avoid FOIs. Her experts come with the backing of bureaucrats who want power, bankers who want our money, and NGOs who earn hundreds of millions saving us from “scares”: they have glossier reports, and better conferences — ergo, they must be “right”.

The oddest thing is that Tranter is so sure the legal system would help her chosen heroes. When skeptics suggest climate scientists are frauds who manipulate data, hasn’t she noticed that none of the accused have launched legal proceedings to protect their names? Those honest climate scientists are not rushing to legal discovery of documents, (especially not the ones they’ve admitted they’ve lost).

Taxpayers money is used against the taxpayer

This article is an good example of how taxpayer’s dollars are not just wasted, but are actively used against the taxpayer. Tranter should be free, of course, to sell her articles and convince the masses, but things that are so easily proven wrong, so unresearched, unreferenced, and unsubstantiated are the communication pollution that makes the country poorer.

That the ABC did not even allow or invite a rebuttal questions their partiality. That they thought this piece was worth stamping the ABC logo on in the first place, is a mark of how low standards of logic, reason and analysis have become. This is not robust community debate, it’s putting the uninformed on national soapboxes.

My 26 posts tagged “Evidence”
Anthony Cox discussed the legal aspects here.

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