SkepticGate II: Fizzled assault on science


Skepticgate cartoon from the Houston Chronicle, 2009

This Anderson cartoon from the Houston Chronicle in 2009 gets the facts right, but sadly, is still accurate

Remember the pathetic, disgusting attempt to derail the climate talks in Durban, just a few days ago?  The “climate skeptics”™ dumped a bunch more private e-mails from the scientists who work on climate. (Stolen e-mails, here; be prepared to be bored, with no smoking guns, no cold guns, no guns at all.)

Unless one thinks the self-proclaimed skeptics are James Bond nemesis enough to actually hope for the end of the world (as opposed to just being monumentally, stupidly misled), their train still can’t get back on the tracks.  Revealing that someone among them has stolen more e-mails than previously known, didn’t help.  Here is a list of just how bad the derailment has been for the denialists:

  1. No great world-changing agreement, but the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, produced a consensus that a massive treaty is not coming soon, and that action to save the planet can’t wait for guys in suits who defer by people like Ralph Hall to do the right thing.  Generally, the comity at Durban is bad for the denialists — Christopher Monckton went into full panic mode, suggesting the language of the agreement available isn’t the whole story and something else — something sinister — is really going on.  (One wonders how Monckton can stand to turn out the lights at night.)  They can’t tell the difference between their burro and a burrow, and with Ralph Hall leading them they’re likely to find the edge of the cliff and leave it before they realize just how far up they are and how far they have to fall.  (Skeptic/denialist Judith Curry carried a rundown of headlines from Durban, with links — remember her bias.)
  2. British authorities raided the digs of a skeptic blogger, seizing his computer upon which he got the first round of stolen e-mails.  It’s unlikely the raidee is guilty of much beyond making the stolen stuff public (is that a crime in Britain?), but one hopes Britain’s crime fighters have access to cyber trackers who may be able to learn more from the signatures on the posts.  Searches have been noticed for other bloggers, including Jeff Id at the Air Vent, but warrants and actual searches haven’t taken place yet.
  3. One paper in climate science was officially retracted — alas for the denialists, it was one of theirs.  Plagiarism and rank error in the so-called Wegman Report to a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives prompted the call-back.  John Mashey’s gumshoe work in the libraries of academe lent a new shine to the word “scholarship.”  Republicans have yet to admit the paper’s errors.  (
  4. Texas Congressman Ralph Hall granted a rare interview, and spoke out about climate change.  He revealed that he doesn’t know much about one of the hottest issues facing the committee he chairs, and what little he knows, is wrong.  Cue the Kin Hubbard/Mick Jagger duet.
  5. Skeptics actually completed a research project and prepared it for publication.  A group at Berkeley, with funding from conservative warming denialists like the Koch brothers, and featuring the work and cooperation of leading anti-science people like Anthony Watts, took on the challenge of looking at temperatures reported from weather stations, especially in the U.S., and especially those Anthony Watts had targeted as providing unduly warm and inaccurate readings that skewed all of the science of global warming.  The not-loudly-mentioned target, of course, was the “hockey stick” graph.  Alas for the skeptics, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study produced results that verify the accuracy of measurements that show warming, and which suggest the IPCC-published hockey stick is accurate enough that it deserves credence.  Anthony Watts promptly disavowed all his own work on the project.
  6. Meanwhile, warming continued unabated by almost every measure.  Galileo could say:  Eppure, lei si scalda!

One question we need to be asking is why the incidents around the stolen e-mails are known as “Climategate” in the circles of warming denialists.  The thieves in this case came from the ranks of the so-called skeptics, and the release of the e-mails was done on the blogs of those who deny warming, or human causation, or human ability to mitigate at all.  (Fox News got it bass ackwards, of course — wondering whether the government is somehow complicit in hiding information, while all the information is public and almost all of the private communication is public.  At Fox, they don’t even get Homer Simpson doh! moments of understanding — that’s how bad it is in Denialville.)

Not climategate, but skepticgate -- follow the money cartoon

So far no one's listening to the bear on this one -- follow the money, and bring the criminals to justice.

It’s really SkepticGate, with a more-than two-year coverup and continuing, and the recent release is SkepticGate II.

Denialists, and even those who question global warming on legitimate grounds, must be frustrated.  Nothing they do stops the world from warming.  As the massive wave of evidence demonstrating the Earth warms and humans share the blame turns to a tsunami, even policy makers (Ralph Hall excepted) look for solutions to warming problems.  It’s so bad for the skeptics that even the old trick of stealing e-mails from the scientists, the trick that helped fog up the Copenhagen proceedings, did almost nothing to the Durban talks.  While no treaty came out, none was expected — but the sudden action in the last couple of days of the conference to get action despite the continued interference by climate skeptics  and their political allies, must have caught them off guard.

Now the cops are after them, too.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Cool KWAANZA, Ebullient Edwin Hubble Looking Up Day, Happy New Year!

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9 Responses to SkepticGate II: Fizzled assault on science

  1. [...] “Skepticgate II:  Fizzled assault on science” (Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub – “Eppure, lei si scalda!“ [...]

    Like

  2. Mike writes:

    Kwanzaa’s a fake holiday, made up in the 1970s

    By definition, Mike, all holidays are fake made up days. They are all inventions of human imagination.

    So your point is what? Other then to be stupidly insulting to black people?

    Like

  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Christmas is a fake holiday made up in 336 A.D., by those standards. All Catholic mass holidays are “fake” if we mean they were created by someone to honor something else.

    In my experience, KWANZAA has noble intentions, and for its youth, perhaps a greater percentage of success than other holidays, especially those of a religious bent.

    Climate change is very real, on the other hand. Maybe we should make it a religious issue to get some traction among people who are blasé about doing anything about it.

    Like

  4. MikeN says:

    Kwanzaa’s a fake holiday, made up in the 1970s

    Like

  5. Ed Darrell says:

    P.S.

    Dan, where did you take that photograph you use for your avatar? Striking . . .

    Like

  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks for the links, Dan.

    I find it of interest, but probably just coincidence, that Muller’s paper describing the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project has been unlinked. I wonder whether it was ever there?

    Santa Fe is, for some odd reason, a good place to rope in outliers of all sorts of philosophies. I’m not sure it’s a good home for good science, though, precisely because it attracts the cynics of all philosophies.

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  7. danolner says:

    Mark Boslough at Realclimate on ‘skeptics’ at the `Third Santa Fe Conference on Global and Regional Climate Change’. While they all seemed to have different, often opposing, positions –

    “The one common thread I found among them was the fervent belief that “Climategate” was a conspiracy and that the IPCC is rigged. This faith-based belief seems to be unshakable, and is the antithesis of true skepticism. Those I met were uniformly cynical about the honesty and motivations of mainstream scientists. If I were forced to use a single label, I would be inclined to call them “science cynics”.”

    Interesting – so the unifying factor is suspicion of scientists, and possibly of authority?

    Like

  8. [...] worth a read. Remember the pathetic, disgusting attempt to derail the climate talks in Durban, just a few days [...]

    Like

  9. You have been nominated for the “Versatile Blog Award”.

    Please visit here: http://theassailedteacher.com/2011/12/19/versatile-blogger-award/

    Like

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