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Oreskes, the Queen of Climate Smear, ignores the big money, has no evidence, throws names

Posted By Joanne Nova On August 8, 2012 @ 8:01 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

You’d expect a professor to have done the basic research.

Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes is famous (of sorts) for the book: Merchants of Doubt — it seeds doubts about skeptics by saying that skeptic’s “seed doubts” about climate change.

The skeptics seed doubts by questioning the evidence and pointing to contrary results (isn’t this known as “discussion”?). Oreskes seeds doubts by digging through biographies, analyzing indirect payments of minor amounts, hunting through unrelated topics and tenuous associations from 20 year old contracts.

The hypocrisy of saying that skeptics attack the messenger is lost on Oreskes who specializes in …  attacking the messengers.

Oreskes’ work is based on a logical fallacy, inept research, and incompetent reasoning.

What is remarkable is that so many “intellectuals” or journalists can’t or won’t see through her thin rhetoric.

  1. Oreskes can name virtually no significant funding for skeptics. Skeptics are almost all unpaid volunteers, working out of professional and patriotic duty, appalled by the illogical, anti-science sentiments of people like Oreskes.
  2. The enormous “vested interests” are well over a thousand to one in favor of alarmism as measured by funding, yet Oreskes has not even considered them. The largest proactive skeptical organization (Heartland) has a budget that is one hundredth of Greenpeace and WWF’s combined.  Funding for alarmist research since 1990 is at least $79 billion, and probably a lot higher. Funding for skeptical research is so small, no one can add it up. The oil giants like Shell and BP mostly support alarmism and carbon markets. The global carbon market was worth $176 bn in 2011, about the same as the global wheat trade, and the renewables investments added up to $243 bn in 2010. These are very large amounts of vested interest. Since Oreskes is blind to the real money in the debate we can only assume she is an activist rather than a historian.
  3. She resorts to twenty year old documents about tobacco funding to smear by association because she has so little real evidence of actual funding or misbehavior of skeptics. As it happens, Fred Singer was never directly paid by a tobacco company, has never doubted that smoking causes cancer, but corrected a scientific error in a paper on passive smoking. He deserves thanks. Oreskes owes him an apology.
  4. Skeptics far outrank believers in both numbers and in scientific kudos. They have won real Nobel Prizes in physics, the climate scientists Oreskes quotes have won “Peace Prizes”. Skeptics can name 31,500 scientists including 9,000 PhD’s and hundreds of professors. The IPCC can name 62 people who reviewed the critical chapter nine of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, some of them reviewing their own work. Alarmists don’t try to counter the Petition Project with a petition of their own because, even with all their supporters on the scientific gravy train, they don’t stand a chance of coming up with a number large enough to prop up their claims that 97% of scientists agree.
  5. Oreskes claims “deniers” attack the messenger, which on it’s face is true, except that she is the one who denies the evidence and attacks the messenger.  She is the Queen of Smear and The Merchant of Doubt herself. Virtually no one has done more to smear opponents in this debate than she has. She refers to them continuously as “Deniers” — though she cannot name any evidence they deny, she has dug mindlessly into the paltry funding, biographies, or association and connections with topics that are totally unrelated to our atmosphere. Skeptics keep asking for evidence. It’s been 30 months since I asked, and no one can provide THAT mystery paper that supports the catastrophic claims.
  6. Oreskes keeps stating that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and increases the temperature of the planet, but almost all the leading skeptics agree with it. Why does she keep stating it, as if it is a point of contention? She wants the audience to believe that this is what the debate is about, while the skeptics agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that causes warming — but dispute the feedbacks asserted by models (which account for two thirds of the forecast increase in temperatures), but which is completely absent in the observations. Is Oreskes ignorant and incompetent in assessing the real scientific debate or is she deliberately deceiving her audience? Only she knows.

When she says those in denial reject “the scientific evidence”, she mistakenly believes that “evidence” about climate change is an internet poll of government funded researchers. It’s an anti-science position akin to witchcraft. Tens of thousands of real scientists, including men who walked on the moon, and Nobel Prize winners of physics, know that evidence for climate change comes from thermometers, ice cores, satellites and fossils. Real scientists can quote 1,100 peer reviewed papers that support their skepticism. Naomi Oreskes can quote no real evidence that supports her catastrophic pet hypothesis. Instead she thinks computer simulations produce “observations” and scientist’s opinions are worth measuring and quoting.

Oreskes’ event at Curtin in Perth on Thursday is advertised with the following:

Professor Naomi Oreskes will host a discussion where she will outline the political and ideological roots of climate change denial, showing the linkages between neo-liberalism – the revival of classical commitments to laissez-faire economics – and the rejection of the scientific evidence of man-made climate change. Professor Oreskes will show how those who are committed to laissez faire reject the scientific evidence, and attack the scientific messenger. And she will suggest that the way forward is to focus on solutions, particularly solutions that minimize government interventions in the market-place.

Since skeptics don’t deny any scientific evidence, her theories about neoliberalism collapse in a hole, doomed by an error cascade that starts with her first phrase. Here’s an alternate hypothesis: Scientists reject man-made global warming because it’s wrong (it lacks empirical support), not because of their political beliefs. The models she claims are working fail on global, regional, and local scales, they fail on short term forecasts, get core assumptions wrong and can’t explain long term historic climate movements either.

The question she ought be researching is why those of a collectivist, big-government nature are so blind to the mountain of evidence staring them in the face. Could it be that a scientific theory that suggests we need a larger, more regulatory and powerful government involvement appeals to exactly the same people who dislike individual responsibility and real free markets? Those who call for “free market” solutions to climate change are the ones who don’t understand what a free market is. In a real free market, governments don’t set the price, create an artificial demand, determine the supply and tweak the rules to get the outcome they want, picking the “winners” in the energy game.

She is in denial about what science is, what evidence is, about the mass movement of whistleblowing scientists storming across the web, and about the vested interests.

The hypocrisy is blatant. Why is UWA supporting her as a 2012 UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Professor-at-Large? Who is paying for her to come, and why are UWA standards so low that they continue to support her smear campaign?

The first and only thing you need to know about Oreskes is that she does not understand what science is. Although she’s called a science historian, whenever she refers to “The Science” or “The Evidence” she is not referring to science as understood by Faraday, Einstein, Bohr or Fleming. Where they hold empirical evidence and the data to be the ultimate decider, Oreskes thinks science is done by voting, and only an anointed subclass of scientists is allowed to cast their opinion.

Naomi Oreskes is speaking at UWA today. UWA needs to justify how much taxpayers money they contribute to propagating something that is so clearly not science, but not even competent research.  In years to come, UWA and Scripps will be embarrassed that their science faculties should promote something so unscientific.


Other days when JoNova explained what Naomi Oreskes was up to:

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