Maurice Newman’s frank Op-Ed broke lots of rules last week — he used the words “fraud”, “deception”, and the IPCC on the front page of a major national daily paper. But the response to it has been a lower grade of apoplectic than what we are accustomed too. Which says something about the debate. Tick tick tick…
Graham Readfearn, journalist, has had nearly a whole week to summarize the strongest rebuttals around the world and he’s come up with 600 words of lame names. Newman is a “dizzy” denier, with “tricks on the brain”, and a “conspiracy dial”. Where is the science? Even as ad homs go that is barrel-scraping.
The Readfearn reasoning amounts to saying that Newman is either wrong because he is an old white guy (let’s be ageist, sexist and rascist eh?), or he is wrong because he cited Roy Spencer who is wrong because he’s a Christian. Thus and verily, ergo, ergot and a truffle too, climate sensitivity on Planet Earth is 3.3 degrees C.
If Spencer had been a Muslim would Readfearn have spent 6 paragraphs mocking the awkward conflicts with science and the Koran? Perhaps not. Instead he might have had to fill 6 paragraphs with more sexist, ageist and anti-right-wing material, though I expect he could have managed. He’s had practice.
Readfearn was probably “inspired” (in namecalling) via The Weekly Standard which discussed
the climate Roy Spencer’s religious beliefs last weekend, or rather, which revived the same old intolerant attack lines that have been around for years.
Roy points out some of the hypocrisy in his reply:
“When warmist scientists like Sir John Houghton use the Bible to support action to fight global warming (e.g. his book Global Warming: The Complete Briefing) that was OK with everyone. Same with Katherine Hayhoe and Thomas Ackerman. So, I guess it depends upon whether the bible-believer agrees with them before the warmists decide to trash Bible-believing ways.”
Let’s use the Readfearn-sword-of-insight. If the climate is facing a crisis because Roy Spencer is a Christian, then the climate will also be OK because Hayhoe and Ackerman believe in God. Does two outnumber one? Has anyone done a survey on Christians in Climate Science, and can we pivot-table the skeptics and believers? (Quick, send the idea to John Cook.)
Life is like an endless Escher puzzle to the namecallers — one question leads to another, and before you know it, you’re back where you started.
Let’s put a bigger perspective on it. Readfearn attacks Roy Spencer, the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Roy was awarded both the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal and the American Meteorological Society’s Special Award. Readfearn is a journalist who ran a blog which got 14,000 comments (he says so on About Graham*). Notably, while he was working for the BBC news service, 911 happened. He now writes in quite a few green left publications including a regular with DeSmog. These are his career highlights.
Of course, experts can make mistakes, and Readfearn might be right about Roy, but if so, why doesn’t Graham discuss any science? If he cared about the environment, you’d think he’d care about getting those satellite measurements right.
Readfearn is convinced that Spencer is wrong, and The Guardian is convinced that his opinion is worth sticking up their masthead.
That says something about The Guardian.
* BTW Roy Spencer got 22,000 comments on his blog in the last three years, though I notice he doesn’t mention that on his About Page. (I had to ask instead.)
Roy’s reply is at Science and religion: Do your own Damn Google search.
(Jo says, if anyone finds God through Google, do let us know.)