B*llsh*t B*ll*cks Cr*p

Some journalists are supposed to be critical of government. It is their job. Some journalists are supposed to make arguments in favour of government policy. It is their job, even if the result is bland and inconsequential. Some journalists feign ‘balance’ by reporting what both sides of a ‘debate’ have to say.

It is easy to criticise journalists for their biases. But bias is part of the job of reporting. If journalists had no perspective to offer, there would be no point in the news.

But the BBC’s coverage of events is curious. It reported today that:

The chancellor has announced measures aimed at cutting the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions – as part of £1bn spending to tackle climate change.

The Budget commits the UK to cut CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020.

There is much to say about the Government’s campaign to make the UK greener. For instance, it could be asked what kind of legitimacy its policies have, since environmentalism has never been tested by the UK’s democratic process. Neither has it been established exactly whose interests green policies have been designed to serve.

These things don’t interest the journalists at the BBC:

Industry has pushed for the measures, saying it will allow them to invest in “greener” technologies, but scientists say the targets do not go far enough.

Which ‘industry’? When? More to the point, which scientists?

Environmental group Friends of the Earth said the emissions cuts were far too weak to allow the UK to “play its part in avoiding dangerous climate change”.

But Friends of the Earth aren’t scientists.

The New Economics Foundation dismissed the Budget as being “more beige than green”.

But the New Economics Foundation aren’t scientists either.

Christian Aid’s climate policy expert Dr Alison Doig said the UK and other industrialised nations needed to urgently commit to deeper emissions cuts ahead of a climate change summit in Copenhagen in December.

Last time we checked, Christian Aid weren’t scientists.

The offer of taxpayer money to support carbon capture and storage would put pressure on government to make sure such projects were delivered on time to the benefit of the UK consumer, said Jim Fitzgerald, a director at Ernst & Young.

Ernst & Young aren’t scientists.

The article does not quote a single scientist.

This is the curious thing: the BBC reporter seems to imagine that these various special interest groups speak ‘for science’. Even more curious is that, in terms of ideological bias, neither the reporter, the Government, nor the interest groups represent opposing ‘sides’. The differences between them only amount to theoretical degrees of commitment to the same ideas. At the same time that the journalist has written an article critical of the government, he or she has written something that is sympathetic.

If you wanted to know what the NEF, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth were saying about today’s budget, you’d have been better off visiting their websites. The BBC seemingly presents these activists’ views, not only as scientific authorities, but as though they – the BBC – had gone to the trouble of soliciting these organisations for their opinion, and that the quotes are responses to their own probing questions. And yet all the quotes are in fact simply lifted word-for-word from press releases. Not only does the BBC pander to the shrillest voices, but it apparently does so by design.

The anonymous BBC journalist hack gives the authority of science to these special interests, as though they were neutral, objective and disinterested observers of the government, not the ideologically-driven, unaccountable, and undemocratic activists which they are. This frames the debate as though it were itself between a government dragging its feet, and pure objectivity.

Even more curious, we’re supposed to think that a green budget would be a good thing, because it is something ‘industry has pushed for’, and the ‘scientists’ (aka activist organisations) have said that ‘the first ever carbon budgets is a ground-breaking step’. But what about you and I? When do our views on environmental policies get checked? Not at the ballot box. Not in Parliament. Not on the BBC.

The halfwit hack cannot even tell the difference between a scientist and a campaigning organisation. What hope has he or she of producing an informative article, with or without bias?

Messianic green activist Al Gore is credited with raising the profile of the ‘balance as bias’ hypothesis, which posits that the perception of the climate debate has been distorted by giving air time to ‘deniers’, giving the impression that there still exists a debate within the scientific community. Of course, it works the other way too, but Gore conveniently forgets that.

Let us propose another hypothesis. The bullshit-as-bias hypothesis. The perception of the climate debate is distorted by bollocks journalism, such as the BBC exhibits today. It cannot bring any intelligence to its reporting, cannot reflect critically on any of the opinions it reports, and is entirely credulous about whatever it sees or hears. It is the slack-jawed, hollow-headed cretin it imagines its audience to be. News: digested and delivered in exactly the way that excessive dietary fibre is. Complete crap.

30 thoughts on “B*llsh*t B*ll*cks Cr*p”

  1. Whereas I suppose good, balanced journalism is characterised by vitriolic shrieking about the half-wittedness, ignorance and intellectual dishonesty of people whose views you disagree with?

    Incidentally, Christian Aid may not ‘be scientists’ (whatever exactly that might mean), but there is a named individual with a postgraduate degree in the quote you choose. I don’t know what Dr Alison Doig’s exact area of expertise is, but then I doubt you do either: either way, unless you are dismissing her claim to be ‘a scientist’, the quote in question doesn’t even seem to support the point you’re trying to make with it.

  2. You may be right about the vitriolic shrieking, but you seem to misunderstand who it’s aimed at. It’s not aimed at Christian Aid or any of the other contributors to the article – although, yes, we certainly disagree with them. We don’t attempt to do balanced reporting on this site, so we’re not going to start telling others off for that. We’re having a go at a BBC article that starts a story with the claim that ‘scientists’ think the green measures in the budget don’t go far enough, and which goes on to back that up by quoting a bunch of green NGOs. In fact, while stating that ‘scientists think…’, the only evidence offered in the piece suggests the complete opposite, in that it states that the budget followed the advice of the Climate Change Committee. We have plenty of problems with the CCC, too, but at least they do count real live scientists among their number.

    We object very strongly to green activists hiding their ideology behind science – a point we make repeatedly on this site. And it’s even more galling when journalists are prepared to go along with the sham. But more than go along with it, the media – as they’ve done here – seem to actively encourage it. Are you really suggesting that we should give them the benefit of the doubt here because one of the activists has a PhD in something or other? And what point do you think we are trying make that Doig’s comment does not support? Whatever it is, it’s not one we were aware we were trying to make.

    And while you’re there, perhaps you could point out how the BBC article was enlightening or useful at all. Even ignoring the sleight of hand by which pressure groups are transformed into scientists, it boils down to nothing more than the observation that climate activists think the budget didn’t go far enough. Do we really need the BBC to tell us that?

  3. ‘what Dr Alison Doig’s exact area of expertise is’ i had a look and all the ref’s i can find are to do with some alternative energy group =Dr Alison Doig, Intermediate Technology Development Group, Schumacher Centre for Technology and Development . and not much else .

  4. From the BBC article:

    ” ‘Not enough’

    The government’s advisory climate committee had advised that to ensure an 80% cut in emissions by 2050, the government needed to have cut emissions by 42% by 2020, against a 1990 baseline. ”

    So it’s clear the primary call to reduce CO2 emissions by 42% not 34% by 2020 comes from the government’s advisory climate committee (which in turn can be linked to the IPCC’s assessment of the risks/benefits of hitting that target) and not the NGOs you cite. Of course those NGOs are not scientists, but maybe you should look at the government’s advisory climate committee also known as The Committee on Climate Change:

    http://www.theccc.org.uk/

    And if you read about who’s on the committee it’s clear that there are some competent and relevant scientists involved:

    http://www.theccc.org.uk/about-the-ccc/the-committee

    So you’ve done a neat switch and bait, though perhaps unintentionally. The BBC’s quoting of the NGOs and business organisations is not a confusion, in the mind of the author, between scientists and NGOs as you claim. It is instead to highlight the consensus with the committee’s recommendations which you ignored/failed to read/swept under the carpet. You’ve successfully created a straw man which requires no intellectual effort to smash down.

    As I remember you recommended some time ago that I was uncomfortable having the BBC criticised. Not so, and it is clear now that it is you who have shown the consistent knack of failing to read and understand what is written in a BBC article with the explicit aim of fallacious point of scoring.

    And, while we’re on the subject of these NGOs and business organisations and their opinions on the science of climate change and for what it indicates in terms of policy. Perhaps you disagree with them so stridently because they read and UNDERSTOOD what was written in the 3 IPCC working group reports.

  5. reply to NimbleJim

    Nimblejim – ‘So it’s clear the primary call to reduce CO2 emissions by 42% not 34% by 2020 comes from the government’s advisory climate committee’

    On this point you are completely wrong. The CCC have created two targets.

    Target 1: “Once a global deal is reached, the UK should aim to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 31% in 2020 (below 2005 levels).”

    Target 2: “Whilst we are waiting for a deal, the UK should aim to reduce emissions by 21% by 2020 (below 2005 levels).

    In terms of 1990 levels: “The Intended budgets require an emissions reduction of 42% in 2020 relative to 1990 (31% relative to 2005). The Interim budget requires a 34% emissions reduction in 2020 relative to 1990 (21% relative to 2005).”

    You continue: ‘And if you read about who’s on the committee it’s clear that there are some competent and relevant scientists involved:’

    Lord Adair Turner is not a climate scientist. He is an economist.
    David Kennedy is not a climate scientist. He is an economist.
    Professor Jim Skea is not a climate scientist, but an energy policy analyst.
    Professor Michael Grubb is not a climate scientist, but an economist.
    Sir Brian Hoskins IS a climate scientist.
    Lord Robert May is not a climate scientist. He is a mathematical ecologist, and as we have pointed out on several occasions, he is also a liar.
    Professor Julia King is not a climate scientist, she is an engineer.
    Dr Samuel Fankhauser is not a climate scientist. He is an economist.

    You continue – ‘The BBC’s quoting of the NGOs and business organisations is not a confusion, in the mind of the author, between scientists and NGOs as you claim.’

    The BBC article says “Industry has pushed for the measures, saying it will allow them to invest in “greener” technologies, but scientists say the targets do not go far enough.”

    Which scientists does it refer to?

    It cannot refer to the CCC, because, as we can see, the target is exactly what the CCC specify. According to your own logic, the target of 34% ‘goes far enough’ according to the IPCC, therefore.

    Who else is quoted by the BBC, that ‘qualifies’ in your view, as a scientist?

    You continue: it is clear now that it is you who have shown the consistent knack of failing to read and understand what is written in a BBC article with the explicit aim of fallacious point of scoring.

    Right back at you, Nimblejim. Once again, you have posted here with a very tenuous criticism in order to make you own false points. What is clear here is that ‘it is you who have shown the consistent knack of failing to read’.

    You finish: ‘Perhaps you disagree with them so stridently because they read and UNDERSTOOD what was written in the 3 IPCC working group reports.’

    Perhaps we understand the IPCC WG reports better than both them and you. The evidence would clearly indicate that we do.

  6. No, with respect, I understood perfectly well who it was aimed at. I realise that you’re attacking the article rather than the organisations that the article cites. My point was simply that it’s ridiculous to criticise the BBC’s journalistic standards whilst adhering to far lower standards yourself.

    And sorry, but “We don’t attempt to do balanced reporting on this site” just doesn’t cut it as a get-out clause.

  7. “it’s ridiculous to criticise the BBC’s journalistic standards whilst adhering to far lower standards yourself.”

    Our own personal Ross-brand-gate, eh?

    On the other hand, at least we can do low standards while getting the facts of the matter right, unlike the Beeb.

  8. No doubt you wish to make completley clear your position on this particular issue by using the title: B*llsh*t B*llocks and Cr*p, but it hardly lives up to the claim on your `About´ page for ” …genuine, illuminating, nuanced debate” nor “..decent commentary”.
    You go on to explain why you think it is crap, fair enough, but you seem to be missing the point. Or rather you seem to be objecting to the fact that economists are making decisions based on scientific findings, and that lobby groups and pressure groups are lobbying and putting pressure on policy makers to make decisions based on scientific findings.

    What are you assuming here? That only scientists should make policy decisions because non scientists don´t understand the science? That pressure groups and lobbies shouldn´t use their democratic right to participate in government?

    You describe Environmentalism as a “dangerous new orthodoxy”. Orthodoxy is defined as `holding correct or currently accepted opinions- generally accepted as being right or true”. And you qualifiy this with the words “dangerous” and “new”, presumably because you are afraid that it is challenging the old, safe(?) orthodoxy. Which is? You only have to look at Big Oil and the Car lobby to see who is influencing present policy.

    So the Beeb is crap in your opinion. Very illuminating.

  9. SJones,

    No, we’re not missing the point. You just don’t understand our point. We are objecting to the fact that the BBC is claiming that ‘scientists say the targets do not go far enough’ and then backs up that claim with ‘evidence’ from environmental pressure groups and by quoting figures that suggests that the targets are precisely in line with the recommendations of the CCC.

    Yes, we think environmentalism is a dangerous new orthodoxy. Where the environmental orthodoxy differs from your definition is that it is only an orthodoxy among the political classes. That makes it dangerous in itself… democracy, anyone? And yes, it’s a new orthodoxy, in that it is, er, new. It’s a bald observation that says absolutely nothing about our opinions of whatever went before. Tell you what, if you can work out what the ‘old, safe(?) orthodoxy’ is that you think we’re defending, we’ll tell you if that’s what we want to defend. What went before was not a political orthodoxy. Unless you consider that a state of affairs that provided the option of voting between parties that adhere to competing ideas is an orthodoxy.

  10. With respect, your last paragraph is somewhat difficult to answer as it is somewhat difficult to understand. Who and what are the “political classes”? Why are you confusing lobby groups with democracy? Aren´t lobby groups part of the political process? I have no idea whether I am included in a “political class” according to your definition, whatever that might be, but the last time I looked, I still have the right as a citizen to vote, and to lobby my MP, as an individual or as part of a group, to raise questions in the House.
    I don´t think we are talking about defending the democratic process as orthodoxy. At a guess,I would say that the orthodoxy you are defending is the one that existed before environmentalists came along and starting asking questions. I think you would prefer environmentalism to shut up, lie down and die or at least to not engage in politics. But no doubt you will correct me if I am in error.

  11. There are indeed two targets and each has its own unique genesis. One is a scientific recommendation and the other is a product of that recommendation’s interaction with global politics.

    Straight from the BBC article:

    “The government’s advisory climate committee had advised that to ensure an 80% cut in emissions by 2050, the government needed to have cut emissions by 42% by 2020, against a 1990 baseline.”

    This should give you a clue that the climate change committee really did advise that 42% cuts (relative to 1990) were necessary in order to meet 80% reductions by 2050. Of course, if you are inherently suspicious of the BBC and think they are lying then you might not believe this. But didn’t this sentence stir even the slightest bit of curiosity in you? Especially as, if shown to be robust by the light of investigation, it could rather unravel you case that it was NGOs and not scientists (either on the CCC in the IPCC) that recommended 42% and not 34%.

    Back to the statement above. Clearly, this target refers to your ‘target 1’ i.e. 42% compared to 1990 levels or 31% compared to 2005, and we seem to agree on this. Now, reading that statement in the BBC article I was curious about the origins of this number. So, I hunted around in the CCC’s literature again having previously found that they derived the 80% figure by 2050 from their reading and assimilation of the IPCC’s charts on risks posed by climate change of different magnitudes. For your own benefit, you should read this (pp. 16-17 fig. 1.4 and fig. 1.5 highlight the risks to society posed by climate change):

    http://www.theccc.org.uk/pdfs/7980-TSO%20Book%20Chap%201.pdf

    Figs 1.4 and 1.5 are straight from the IPCC’s report.

    I’m honestly perplexed that you can claim to have read and understood the IPCC reports when you have made frequent posts professing ignorance of the origin of the 80% by 2050 figure in policy discussions and your reference to the ‘Burning Embers’ figure. The 80% figure is a target set to try to avoid 2oC temp. rise, which as you can see from figs 1.4 and 1.5 delineates a point beyond which risks rise to more unacceptable levels. To make the 2oC cut off you need to ramp down emissions by 80% by 2050. Likewise your admission of ignorance regarding the ‘burning embers figure’ highlights that you can’t have considered this type of problem (at least that’s how it appears) i.e. one of multiple risks affecting different areas of society brought about by temperature changes on different magnitudes.

    Back to the origins of the 42% target. Look at the CCC’s report on meeting targets in stages:

    http://www.theccc.org.uk/pdf/7980-TSO%20Book%20Chap%203.pdf

    At this point, it’s worth highlighting what the 42% cut actually means. It’s the whole economy CO2 emission cut which excludes aviation. The final figures consider other GHGs and aviation. If you read pages 106-113 several things become clear:

    * Year on year equal percentage reductions spread the burden evenly over a long period and avoids creating short term goals which are hard to reach.

    * Economic models seeking to minimise costs plot this same intuitive path.

    * This path, according to figure 3.9, equates to 42.3% reductions by 2020.

    * The lower estimate for reductions by 2020, i.e. 34%, is the lowest plausible required reduction that is needed to avoid 2oC based on levels of uncertainty in the science.

    So it should be clear: 42% is optimal according to the risks, their associated uncertainties and the long term economic burden out till 2050.

    Now the politics. Pages 110 is useful here. Again, several things become clear:

    * With the help of box 3.5 you can relate the 20% and 30% EU targets to the UK’s 34% and 42% targets.

    * The 20% target is a pre-Copenhagen target i.e. ignoring the previous discussions regarding the optimal path to 80% by 2050 EU wide we have a 20% target which is just plausibly satisfactory yet presumably maintains global-wide competitiveness. The 34% UK cut is consistent with this.

    * 20% is admitted to being unsatisfactory in the long term.

    To summarise, the IPCC assessment of risks and the CCC’s acceptance and analysis of those risks sets us for an 80% cut by 2050 aimed at avoiding 2oC temp rise. We are presented with an analysis of how to optimally reach 80% cuts by 2050. The 42% target takes us along that optimal path. 34% is a EU-wide compromise designed to maintain economic competitiveness, yet is part of a sub-optimal policy which only has a limited chance of avoiding 2oC based on scientific uncertainty. This sub-optimal target is the product of international negotiatation and politics. This is all consistent with the BBC’s statement:

    “The government’s advisory climate committee had advised that to ensure an 80% cut in emissions by 2050, the government needed to have cut emissions by 42% by 2020, against a 1990 baseline.”

    and, of course:

    “Industry has pushed for the measures, saying it will allow them to invest in “greener” technologies, but scientists say the targets do not go far enough.”

    Scientists being the 2 serving members of the CCC and the IPCC’s report which was used to primarily inform the CCC.

  12. Nimblejim,

    You were wrong.

    Cooking up a sophisticated revision of the facts you attempted to use to claim that we had ‘shown the consistent knack of failing to read and understand what is written in a BBC article with the explicit aim of fallacious point of scoring’ to obfuscate your error just looks really stupid, and, moreover, point-scorey.

    Haven’t NASA got you doing anything useful?

  13. So you’re completely unwilling to admit that the 42% cut by 2020 was the primary recommendation of the CCC from their reading and assimilation of the IPCC report? Even in the face of the evidence? I’ve given you the links to the CCC’s report where their method for deriving these estimates is laid out. You can look at it yourself and demonstrate that I’m wrong. Bald assertions simply don’t cut it. I haven’t had to revise the facts or my case against you. I’ve merely clarified the difference between an estimate derived from a scientific recommendation and an estimate created out of political expediency. Your conflation of the two needed to corrected.

    Ooh, the NASA barb. Yoinks.

  14. “So you’re completely unwilling to admit…”

    We just think that your argument is redundant (and tedious). Obviously, you’ve spent two weeks trawling CCC literature to see if there’s a way you can reinterpret the argument you used to say that we “have shown the consistent knack of failing to read and understand what is written in a BBC article with the explicit aim of fallacious point of scoring.”

    But you miss the point that it is the CCC’s recommendation (34% without an international agreement in place) that the ‘scientists’ ‘quoted’ in the BBC article say ‘isn’t enough’. Moreover, the 34% target that the CCC recommended was attributed by the BBC article to ‘industry’.

    If you want to argue that the CCC’s target doesn’t go far enough, that’s fine, but it would mean that your claim that the CCC were representing IPCC science is false.

    So, is the CCC a political or scientific organisation? Don’t know why we’re asking you. Neither the BBC nor the CCC itself seems to know the answer to that one. Despite your protestations, our original criticism stands. Scientists do not say the government does not go far enough, whichever way you look at it.

  15. Hardly two weeks. I just have had better things to do in the meantime. Surely you IP sluthing skillz can see I’ve not exactly been rushing back to your blog recently.

    “But you miss the point that it is the CCC’s recommendation (34% without an international agreement in place) that the ’scientists’ ‘quoted’ in the BBC article say ‘isn’t enough’.”

    I don’t miss the point. You have either not read, or understood, my post or its accompanying supporting material. If you had, you’d realise that the CCC’s literature says that 34% isn’t enough, that 42% is the target we should be aiming for and that 34% is a target made for political purposes. 42% is a target born out of science and its assimilation into policy unfettered by international wheeling and dealing. 34% is a target which has been through that process.

    “Moreover, the 34% target that the CCC recommended was attributed by the BBC article to ‘industry’.”

    Exactly. The 34% target is a figure born out of politics and it’s interaction with industry.

    Rather than recognising my actual argument you’re still conflating the two targets suggesting that they have a similar genesis. You’re asserting that the very fact the CCC included the 34% target in their documentation is reason enough to believe that that target is born out of science. That’s not the case, as I demonstrated in my post, and as you can see for yourselves in the CCC’s literature.

  16. “You have either not read, or understood, my post or its accompanying supporting material. If you had, you’d realise that the CCC’s literature says that 34% isn’t enough”

    34% is the target which has been set by the CCC. Whether or not it is sufficient in the CCC’s view is immaterial. It was established by the CCC, not, as the BBC claim, ‘industry’, and according to your own logic, was established by the CCC according to the ‘science’.

    You didn’t know about the two targets, and you made a claim about our misunderstanding that turned out to be just your own misunderstanding. You were wrong. We don’t have time to indulge your over long, and over-interpreted attempts to prove your point.

    Let us recap. The BBC article cited the opinion of ‘scientists’, but didn’t quote any, nor attribute them. The scientists you claim the BBC refers to in fact set the very target that the same scientists are supposed to believe is insufficient. If they set a target in the knowledge that it is was insufficient, they have no cause for complaint. Move on. There are lots of other posts you can take issue with.

  17. So, by highlighting the 42% target which, according the CCC’s literature is based on an assessment of the science and the basis of the BBC’s remarks on scientists, I was unaware of the 34% target, which is mentioned in the BBC article that we’ve all read? I don’t understand your logic.

    So, by not mentioning the 34% target, in my original post, which is a product of politics interacting with science and therefore slightly irrelevant to the question of did scientists recommend a different target, that means I was unaware of the 34% target. Your logic and flawed and convoluted.

    “34% is the target which has been set by the CCC.”

    True, after the synthesis of the science and “scientists” based 42% target and politics, they arrived at that interim target: 34%, which is “industry” based. As you can read in the literature I cited.

    “Whether or not it is sufficient in the CCC’s view is immaterial.”

    But it isn’t immaterial. It is central to your claim that the BBC quoted or referred to no scientists. The CCC’s 42% target is a target set via the examination of the IPCC’s report. The 2 scientists on the CCC count as scientists, plural, in my book. Likewise the IPCC is indirectly linked to that number.

    I can see that we’re not going to agree. I honestly thought you’d be interested to learn about the inner workings of the CCC (and have an interesting discussion about it) which is responsible for many of the targets which you’ve previously vilified, almost suggesting they were plucked out of a hat rabbit style.

  18. Jim – ‘True, after the synthesis of the science and “scientists” based 42% target and politics, they arrived at that interim target: 34%, which is “industry” based.’

    It’s just utterly spurious to talk about an organisation as somehow speaking ‘for industry’ one moment, and ‘science’ the next. In other words, you want to have your cake and eat it.

  19. It’s not “speaking for industry”. Get it right. It’s considering the concerns of industry and assimilating that into a framework for setting targets.

    And it’s certainly not spurious when you consider that the CCC is a policy instrument designed to assimilate scientific information and politics to formulate policy. What is so difficult to understand about that? It’s not like you haven’t been given specific instructions on how to find the information that shows how a single entity can formulate two different targets with totally different origins.

  20. The BBC:

    “Industry has pushed for the measures, saying it will allow them to invest in “greener” technologies, but scientists say the targets do not go far enough.”

  21. “The New Economics Foundation aren’t scientists either.”

    You need to do your research. nef’s reflections on the budget were informed by our climate researcher Dr Victoria Johnson, who has a PhD in Atmospheric Physics from Imperial College London. And if that wasn’t enough, all of nef’s climate change work goes out to peer review before we release it into the public domain. That means that other scientists check our facts.

    I think you’ll also find that Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth employ professional scientists to inform their policies on climate change.

  22. We’re not impressed with your claim, Andy.

    ‘Peer review’ doesn’t mean sending stuff out to your pals before you drop it off at the printers. And it doesn’t mean simple ‘fact checking’. The method of your ‘100 months to avoid disaster’ [ http://www.onehundredmonths.org/ ] campaign, for instance, wouldn’t make it into any serious journal of climate science, even it is strung together from various factoids that pass some superficial ‘fact checking’ process.

    Your campaigns only intend to use ‘science’ to alarm people into supporting your political agenda. A case of politics being prior to science.

  23. It’s odd, then, that Rajendra K. Pachauri – Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – supports the One Hundred Months campaign. Isn’t he a “serious” scientist?

    And while we’re on the subject, don’t kid yourself into thinking that you’re somehow doing ‘real climate science’. I mean, you have Fred Singer and Spiked Online on your blogroll: they’re certainly not afraid to abuse science for political means.

    If readers want the real deal on climate science, I suggest http://www.realclimate.org/. For political abuses of scientific rhetoric, see Dan Hind’s excellent little book The Threat to Reason.

    I would advise you not to play the science card too strongly here. Your readers might start looking too deeply at the facts and realise that most of what passes for reasoned debate in these parts is little more than reactionary polemic.

  24. Andy Wimbush – ” Rajendra K. Pachauri – Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – supports the One Hundred Months campaign. Isn’t he a “serious” scientist?”

    He’s a railway engineer with a PhD in economics. Does that make him a ‘serious scientist’?

    We don’t pretend to be doing science anywhere, Andy. And our blogroll contents should hardly be a measure of the credibility of our argument, should it? If we want to chuck stones, we could point to your, rather more tangible relationship with the green party, the leader of which is a vocal advocate of ‘alternative medicine’, and opponent of animal research.

    “most of what passes for reasoned debate in these parts is little more than reactionary polemic.”

    Wasn’t that what we were just saying about the green movement, hmm?

  25. It’s really amusing to see how, on the few occasions when the people at the heart of the Great Green Greasy Global Warming Drivel (all set about with fever trees) (Kipling 1894) reply here, they completely miss the point. From Adam of the Guardian announcing with indignation that you are nothing but a bunch of Denialists (like Alice waking from a bad dream) to Wimbush accusing you of reactionary polemic, they really don’t get it, do they? They think all you need is a few readings from the holy book of Realclimate to put you on the right path.

    And the funny thing is, we (your readers) are not even fundamentally against Realclimate. I might even agree with something I read there, just as I might find something I agree with in that admirably humanitarian, anti-racist publication, the Watchtower. Just don’t ask me to join, that’s all.

  26. Geoff, one reason they seem to be not getting it is that they don’t spend any time reading the other posts on the site to find out what we are actually arguing. Instead, they just look at the page that refers to them. We might wonder if they only look at the paragraph that mentions them. This is symptomatic of the tendency to assume that the ‘debate’ is characterised by two sides, one necessarily right, while the other necessarily wrong.

  27. Or rather the tendency to polarise the debate into `us´ and `them´, as you seem to be demonstrating in your last post.

  28. Sjones, that’s really silly. We’re talking about three people (them) who’ve visited the site (us) and commented. That’s hardly a polarisation of the debate. Each of them have answered our criticism with entirely bogus arguments: we’re (probably) secretly funded – Ward; we’re using bogus science to conceal a reactionary polemic (Wimbush); and that we speak gobbledegook and offer faux-analysis (Adam). (Though, to be fair to Adam, he tried a lot harder than Wimbush and Ward to understand, without making too many accusations. But he felt, in the end, that he wasn’t really interested in having a discussion anyway).

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