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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Disaster! Denialism makes it to Brazil. (Skepticism spreads :-) )

Desmogblog mark yet another day in the Diary of How the Skeptics Won. They thought they had Brazil sewn up, but now realize with dismay that skeptics are getting heard (funny how the truth spreads). Brazil with the 6th biggest economy in the world and 200 million people is “influential”.

Chris Mooney, of DeSmog, shows us his prowess in predictions. Did he see this wave of skepticism coming? Shock me, No!

Last year, I wrote about how journalists in developing nations were doing a better job of covering climate change, largely because denial hadn’t really taken root in many of these countries. In particular, I singled out Brazil for praise: According to a study by James Painter of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and his colleagues, Brazil’s major papers contained the least climate skepticism in all of the 6 major nations surveyed (U.S., UK, China, France, India, Brazil).

So it is with much dismay that I report to you that, in conjunction with the Rio+20 conference, climate denial is making a strong showing in Brazil.

Memo to Chris: See what happens when you rely on the mainstream media? (They are [...]

FakeGate beats DenierGate in google war: DeSmog disaster spreads

In the big battle for the meme-of-the-moment, Fakegate has won.

DeSmog can’t be too happy about this. Google “DenierGate” and get 67,000 results, but google “Fakegate” and get 168,000.

UPDATE #2 March 14: FakeGate is now 6 times as popular. (“FakeGate” 420,000 results v “Deniergate” 69,000)

What do you know? Stealing things, breaching privacy, and exposing nothing but tiny funding isn’t catching on. As a PR faux pas this is a case study in implosions. DeSmog have inadvertently shone a beacon on the real David and Goliath story here, where the Big-Oil funding isn’t so big, and the real money is on the side who pretends they are “doing it for the planet”. Worse, between them, DeSmog and Peter Gleick have arranged a public ethics challenge for ethically challenged scientists, and a mass-media bias-test for biased journalists. The spectacle of scientists debating if it is OK to steal, and journalists making excuses for criminal activity, is doing as much damage as the original theft and overreaction. It’s so bad, even the Koch Brothers (target-number-one) can take the unassailable high ground (see below).



Note the auto-prompts: When it’s “FakeGate” it’s news, but when it’s Deniergate, Google queries [...]

Heartland sends out first legal notice about stolen and faked documents

Let the games begin. As promised, Heartland want justice, starting with the removal of all the fake and alleged documents. DeSmog have overplayed their hand.


Support The Heartland Institute today

(Go on, fake smears like the DeSmog one, are designed to intimidate donors, we can rise above!)


UPDATE: Joseph Bast explains why Heartland are doing this:

“We realize this will be portrayed by some as a heavy-handed threat to free speech. But the First Amendment doesn’t protect Internet fraud, and there is no right to defamatory speech.

“For 28 years, The Heartland Institute has engaged in fierce debates over a wide range of public policies – school reform, health care, telecommunications policy, corporate subsidies, and government waste and fraud, as well as environmental policy. We frequently and happily engage in vigorous, robust debate with those who disagree with our views.

“We have resorted in the past to legal means only in a very few cases involving outright fraud and defamation. The current situation clearly fits that description, and our legal counsel has advised that the first step in defending ourselves should be to [...]

UPDATE: Heartland documents stolen and key one is fake. No insider leak. FakeGate!

Major embarrassment for Joe Romm, and DeSmog and their unthinking fans.

In the hours after the ClimateGate emails were released, skeptics asked about their authenticity (as we are wont to do). In the hours after the Heartland Documents (including at least one complete fake) were released, the commentators on the other side did not even ask (just as they uncritically accept any weak report in favour of their pet theory).

They leapt to their defamatory conclusions in a smear-fest. At least one person out there has probably committed a criminal act. The rest are guilty of small brained unskeptical blind hatred, defamation, and ignorance. And will any of them apologize? I’ll be shocked if even one has the decency or manners.

We should not allow them to forget it. DeSmog=DeSmear. They are a group happy to promote lies with no compunction. They are not interested in the truth, just in the PR. Oh the fool journalists who think the paid hacks at DeSmog ever had anything to say on science that was not biased or deceitful. Richard Littlemore, where is your apology? Instead, knowing the document is faked, he continues to promote it. So does Brad Johnson, and Joe Romm.


Survey shows skeptics are smarter

I kid you not. Chris Mooney at Desmog has got the data that shows skeptics were more literate and numerate than believers, and he wants to share it.

Last week, an intriguing study emerged from Dan Kahan and his colleagues at Yale and elsewhere–finding that knowing more about science, and being better at mathematical reasoning, was related to more climate science skepticism and denial–rather than less.

When faced with the news that smarter more mathematical people were skeptical of man-made global warming, it’s a sure bet that as a Desmogger, he would fail to reach the obvious conclusion. Are believers gullible fools who can’t see the flaws in the reasoning? No. Skeptics are more literate and numerate about everything else, except for climate science, when they become dangerously overconfident and seek only to use their intellect to punch holes in the theory. Its not like these bright types have anything else to do is it? Of course.

This is bad, bad news for anyone who thinks that better math and science education will help us solve our problems on climate change. But it’s also something else. To me, it provides a kind of uber-explanation for climate skeptic and denier behavior [...]

New Scientist: The Age of Name-Calling

New Scientist plumbs new lows. The magazine has become its own self-parody. Do they see the irony of inviting a PR expert to accuse groups of committing the crime of, wait for it, … using a PR expert?

…he’s the advertiser being offered free editorial space within the one-sided propaganda that masquerades as journalism

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hold any elitist ideas that only people with science degrees can write for New Scientist (the magazine and its staff have pretty much proven how useless a science degree can be). My issue with them is that Richard Littlemore (a PR expert) has essentially written a smear-by-association piece, which should have no place in a real scientific magazine. It’s not like Littlemore is just an unhealthy part of a big healthy debate — instead he’s the advertiser being offered free editorial space within the one-sided propaganda that masquerades as journalism.

New Scientist may think climate science is a moral imperative, but they don’t have room for the climate scientists who have published peer reviewed criticisms of their favorite theory. Nor do they have space to tell the extraordinary story of the grassroots independent retiree scientists who’ve busted [...]