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 nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX

The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper


Study shows bad economic times means there are more climate skeptics

I’ve said before that the man-made climate-faith is a luxury of the stupidly wealthy. Only people with time to stress about the carbon footprint of their oranges can wallow in the indulgence of owning the idea that windmills in Alabama could reduce tidal surges in Peru. It follows then that if (or as) the economy falls apart so will the Green religion.

A new research paper backs this up, but possibly shows more about researcher’s confirmation bias than it does about the public. (I suspect the most useful part of this research was that a couple of hundred people got to see a video with Richard Lindzen in.)

That the global-eco-faith needs lots of wealth is a horrible conundrum for the Greens. The best thing they can do to encourage “climate belief” is to get out of the way and let the economy prosper, which of course is the last thing the Greens can do since “Growth” = “Pollution” in the GreenWorldView. So the more the Greens do to slow or wreck the economy, the more skeptical the population will get. It’s a “positive” feedback loop that may protect Western Civilization a little bit. Joy.

Is that motivated recall or [...]

Consensus Police: 101 “motivated” reasons not to be a skeptic

Skeptics are often accused of being ideologically motivated to find reasons to “deny” the threat posed by man-made Global Disruptification (or whatever it is now called). Which begs the question of what ideology motivated Jo-the-former-Green, along with all the other former believers, to convert. It certainly wasn’t the money (we know from first hand experience). Could it be that damn truth-seeking ideology?

Judith Curry points out that “motivated reasoning” also applies to believers (to which I would add, yes, double-yes, and more-so — follow that money). When grants, careers, junkets, book sales, and offers to sit on golden-commissions are on the line, it doesn’t take much motivated reasoning to find excuses to believe your work is “science” even as you ignore opportunities to follow data that doesn’t quite fit, or delay publications of inconvenient graphs, while you double check, triple check, and invite like-minded colleagues to help find reasons the graphs are not important.

Some scientists are so motivated that they call opposing scientists petty names, and toss allusions they must be “funded” by vested interests, even as they ignore the billions of vested interests funding the name-callers. Meanwhile, all the silent so-called scientists in the tea-rooms that let the [...]

Scientists behaving badly — more retractions are cheats, not mistakes

Who said scientific experts should be trusted?

Is corruption endemic? Fully 43% of retractions in the life science and medical research journals are due to fraud or suspected fraud.

Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications

Ferric C. Fang R. Grant Steen and Arturo Casadevall

PNAS  PNAS 2012 109 (42) 16751-16752; doi:10.1073/iti4212109


A detailed review of all 2,047 biomedical and life-science research articles indexed by PubMed as retracted on May 3, 2012 revealed that only 21.3% of retractions were attributable to error. In contrast, 67.4% of retractions were attributable to misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%), and plagiarism (9.8%). Incomplete, uninformative or misleading retraction announcements have led to a previous underestimation of the role of fraud in the ongoing retraction epidemic. The percentage of scientific articles retracted because of fraud has increased ∼10-fold since 1975. Retractions exhibit distinctive temporal and geographic patterns that may reveal underlying causes.

Plus this published correction.

RetractionWatch points out that this could be the tip of the iceberg

The question, of course, is, how common is scientific misconduct? The simple but unsatisfying answer is that we don’t know, certainly not based on this study, because it’s [...]

Man Made Global Warming Disproved

 Joanne Nova and Anthony Cox

The theory that failed

It takes only one experiment to disprove a theory. The climate models are predicting a global disaster, but the empirical evidence disagrees. The theory of catastrophic man-made global warming has been tested from many independent angles.

The heat is missing from oceans; it’s missing from the upper troposphere. The clouds are not behaving as predicted. The models can’t predict the short term, the regional, or the long term. They don’t predict the past. How could they predict the future?

The models didn’t correctly predict changes in outgoing radiation, or the humidity and temperature trends of the upper troposphere.  The single most important fact, dominating everything else, is that the ocean heat content has barely increased since 2003 (and quite possibly decreased) counter to the simulations. In a best case scenario, any increase reported is not enough. Models can’t predict local and regional patterns or seasonal effects, yet modelers add up all the erroneous micro-estimates and claim to produce an accurate macro global forecast. Most of the warming happened in a step change in 1977, yet CO2 has been rising annually.

Observations from every angle point to a similar conclusion [...]

Victory of the Denialists! says Robert Manne in The Monthly as his Gods of Science fail

Firstly — No one wins anything while the people who slag off at scientists get their denigrating name-calling on the front cover of magazines. That said, I’m smiling. Beaming. The man who doesn’t know what science is, admits his team is failing. That has to be good. Real scientists everywhere, smile!

Manne’s argument appears to rest entirely on his mistaken belief that “science” is What The Gods Declare it To Be. For Manne, the Gods are “official climate scientists”. Apparently, only those who are anointed by Government funding have access to The Truth — and their declarations must be obeyed. Manne is so completely under their spell,  he is incapable of figuring out how anyone could think anything else.

“For reasonable citizens there ought to be no question easier to answer than whether or not human-caused global warming is real and is threatening the future of the Earth.”

For Manne, planetary atmospheric dynamics are so blindingly clear that only unreasonable citizens could question it. And if there is “no easier question”, then it follows that those who get this question wrong are not just unreasonable but quite possibly, brain dead. Manne’s writing is thick with insults, but [...]

Map: The Climate Change Scare Machine — the perpetual self-feeding cycle of alarm

Two professors of sociology think they can explain why “Climate Deniers” are winning.  But Riley E. Dunlap and Aaron M. McCright start from the wrong assumption and miss the bleeding obvious: the theory was wrong, the evidence has changed, and thousands of volunteers have exposed it.

The real question sociologists will be studying for years to come is: how was an exaggerated scare, based on so little evidence, poor reasoning and petty namecalling, kept alive for two whole decades?

Climate Change Scare Machine Cycle: see how your tax dollars are converted into alarming messages

See your tax dollars converted into their scare. Click for a larger image. Reference: Climate Money, Science and Public Policy Institute, 2009.


 The Full PDF version The key points

1. The money and vested interests on the pro-scare side is vastly larger, more influential, and more powerful than that on the skeptical side. Fossil fuel and conservative-think-tanks are competing against most of the world financial houses, the nuclear and renewable energy industry,  large well financed green activists (WWF revenue was $700m last year), not to mention whole government departments, major political parties, universities dependent on government funding, the BBC (there is no debate), the [...]

Another 10 of the Worst AGW papers: Part 3

Guest post by Cohenite

To natural born critics AGW is the gift that keeps giving. It would be cruel to say these papers all exhibit unworldly qualities because that is inevitable if your purpose is to generate a virtual reality with computer modeling. But, as the old saying goes, you have to be cruel to be kind; so some of these papers are speculative and unrealistic; others are eristic and the rest egregious in intent or execution. A scientific theory such as AGW is, like all human endeavours, only as good as its best examples; the following papers, all peer reviewed, represent the best of AGW. The papers are in no particular order, or lack thereof, of merit.

Part I and Part II of The Worst Papers according to Cohenite. Conversely: Ten of the best


PNAS: Witchdoctors of science — Anderegg’s blacklist of scientists

Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: a step back to the Stone Age

A shameful day in the history of science. The once esteemed National Academy of Science is reduced to pagan witchcraft: point the bone at the blacklist, count the tea-leaf-citations, put on your funny hat and make a prophesy about the weather.

Some critics are saying the survey is flawed because it uses artificial groupings. Artificial be damned — the survey is flawed because it’s a waste-of-time work of anti-science for even existing. Science is not a democracy. Natural laws don’t form because anyone says so, and the only way to find out the answer is to … look at the evidence. Doh.

This adulation of individuals and tests of character, “success”, or popularity is the anti-thesis of what the great brains-trust of science ought to do. In science all minds test their theories against the universe, and only the real world matters. The petty world of human reputations is steeped in bias and conflicts of interest with personality defects and political power grabs, not to mention the corrupting influence of money. Science achieved vast success for civilization by freeing us from exactly this cess-pool of [...]