Joanne Nova can’t stand the heat


Oh, it’s a piffle in the grand scheme of things.  But it’s indicative of the inherent, apparently congenital dishonesty in warming contrarians and denialists.

At Joanne Nova’s site, I’ve dropped quite a few information bombs, in comments.  Well, they treat information as if it would kill them, and I have hopes it might at least leak through into their minds, so I continued for a couple of days.

But it’s like “teaching the old pig to sing” joke.  The punchline says that it’s a waste of time because the pig will never sing well, you can really knock yourself out trying, and it annoys the pig.

I got a ping on a follow-up message.  Some guy commented that he couldn’t figure the site out, because after I post something with solid scientific information, they dismiss it, ignore it, and generally pick themselves up after running into the facts, and run the other way as if nothing had happened.

machina.sapiens

<!––>February 18th, 2010 at 10:04 pm<!––>

I just read through a large part of this turgid “debate”.

It’s astounding stuff.

Ed Darell provides case after case after case of detailed references from the scientific and legal debates and the rest of you run around squawking “show us the evidence” over and over again as if you don’t understand that what he is writing IS providing the evidence.

Do none of you actually speak english? Can’t you read? Do you not understand the concept of providing evidence, or are you not bothering to comprehend, just shouting him down? That’s about the only conclusion I can draw.

And then the person who runs this blog leaps in and bans people for refusing to agree with her… Well, I suppose it’s her blog and her ball and if you don’t play by her rules, you can just go home…
Unbelievable, really.

I should have known a kommitted kommissar like Nova couldn’t let my earlier post go without twisting it.  She responded:

Joanne Nova said:

Joanne Nova
–>February 19th, 2010 at 2:54 am<!––>

Machina,
I see you’re faking it right from the start. If you’d read the whole “debate” you’d know that Ed has been pinged for many things, including relying on the PSBG, and even had to apologize for baseless insults.

Ed:

““OK, I recognize that any cause of warming would melt glaciers, change weather patterns, and shift crops etc etc. None of these things is evidence that carbon is the cause of that warming. I was mixing up cause and effect. Point taken. Sorry for calling you drunk or dense or suggesting you have a mental disease.”

Time to let the pig go back to its mud, eh?  That wasn’t my intent.  I copied her words, but noted where I disagreed (you can read it here, perhaps, if she lets it stand.)

So I responded:

Ed Darrell

<!—->: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
<!––>February 19th, 2010 at 6:02 am<!––>

I clearly should have been more clear.

I didn’t mean to imply mental disease where it doesn’t exist. However, denialism may well be a symptom of disease. Warming denialism is like all tinfoil hattery, not so much a political stand as a symptom of something underlying. Mental disease? Perhaps.

Yes, any cause of global warming would melt glaciers, change weather patterns, and shift crops. None of this is, alone, evidence that carbon causes the warming. However, there is no more likely culprit than the set of greenhouse gases that cause such global warming. Cause and effect are not necessarily the same thing — the scientific evidence points to the increase in human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases as creating the mess we’re heading into.

Sorry for calling you drunk if you’re not. Sorry for implying you have disease if you don’t. That leaves only genuine skepticism, not politically motivated, or stupidity, or evil intent. Drunk or dense might be the better and more polite excuse, but Nova doesn’t believe it.

I got here on a link showing the astounding lies of Christopher Monckton about Rachel Carson, Jackie Kennedy and DDT. Since I can’t say Monckton was drunk or diseased, and since he lacks the science or history chops to be an informed skeptic, we must assume him to be evil. Why Nova promotes his statements escapes me.

I apologized for baseless insults, but cannot apologize for those with firm foundation.

As you can see from the note on moderation, they  pounced on my remarks and closed them off from view.

YODA – Moderator

<!––>February 19th, 2010 at 6:37 am<!––>

Ed Darrell,

Your latest comment has been put into moderation. Jo will review it and make a decision accordingly

YODA – Moderator

If only it were Yoda instead of someone short, with a desire to be magical, but no light sabre or serious Jedi training.

They can’t defend Monckton’s insults of America and Jackie Kennedy, nor his ignorant insults of Rachel Carson.  They know that.  Censorship is the only way out for them.

Is that also true for warming?  Nova doesn’t encourage discussion in any fashion.  (It is rather sobering to see so many willing to give up their fleeces and follow along, though, isn’t it?)

My sole defender said:

machina.sapiens
<!––>February 19th, 2010 at 9:08 am<!––>

A couple of responses – although I have no intention of engaging in this discussion on a sustained basis. Life is too short. I don’t have the patience – unlike Ed Darrell, who seems to have limitless reserves of patience and politeness in dealing with the frequently abusive and nonsensical responses to his calm, respectful, logical, and evidence-based comments.

Farmer Dave says that I “seem a little upset” – an interesting rhetorical trope – place yourself in a superior, condescending position and devalue your opponent’s words by implying that they are the result of excessive emotion rather than rationality – it’s a flavour of ad hominem technique, I suppose. That trope certainly seems to get a substantial use in this arena – maybe it’s in someone’s “Big book of hints on how to derail discussion when you have no actual arguments” – like the one that goes “ignore any evidence that anyone provides and just keep chanting ’show us the evidence’”.

You (jonova)say that

Ed has been pinged for many things, including relying on the PSBG, and even had to apologize for baseless insults.

(I presume you mean the PBSG) – I guess if relying on the statements of actual scientific bodies is a justification for blocking someone, i shouldn’t be expecting rationality… I haven’t read all of the discussion – but I see no evidence of you blocking anyone other than people who disagree with you, no matter how abusive and irrelevant your supporters get. When discussion gets mildly robust, it always leaves scope to fabricate those sort of charges against those who disagree with you, while ignoring the sins of your own supporters. I guess it’s easy to get away with that kind of patent intellectual dishonesty when you’re only singing to the choir.

Roy Hogue, one of the main sty denizens there, claimed that nameless and faceless European bureaucrats were threatening his freedom.  I asked him how, and here’s his latest tally of his loss of freedom, showing up just after my latest banning:

It’s now quite illegal to sell or install CFCs in the United States. It’s a federal crime with penalties attached.

So there you have it, folks.  If you allow the warming warnings to take effect and let us try to make cleaner air to save our planet, you’ll have to pay the incredibly stiff penalty of . . . changing your refrigerant.

That’s a penalty any of us should be happy to pay.  That these guys see that as a serious infringement of their freedom only demonstrates how blinded they are, perhaps by the slipping tinfoil hats.

Are we burning that bridge?  With a bit of sadness, perhaps.  They may need that bridge to save their tails someday.

It’s unlikely they’d know it, though.

My comment is still in “moderation.”  When telling the truth needs to be “moderated,” the problem isn’t with the facts of the matter.

If they can’t stand the heat, maybe they should let the policy makers do something about the warming, eh?

Update: I’m up early, gotta do some hard thinking about Woodrow Wilson for a seminar today, and I find this posted over at Nova’s site:

Joanne Nova

<!—->:
<!––>February 20th, 2010 at 3:57 pm<!––>

Ed Darrell, I’m getting help to manage the hundreds of comments coming in. We’re still working out a system, so your comment has been released from moderation.

You however still appear irrational.

I think I have to agree with Alexander Pope on that issue:

All seems infected that the infected spy, As all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye.

Nova again:

You make assumptions we have asked you back up:
“the scientific evidence points to the increase in human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases as creating the mess we’re heading into.

You cannot provide any other evidence other than climate simulations, and I have already explained why these are inadequate. We need empirical evidence.

I make assumptions?  I make assumptions?

I don’t assume, as your prophet Monckton claims, that Jack Kennedy came back from the dead to appoint his “good friend,” William Ruckelshaus, to head the EPA, an agency created seven years after Kennedy’s death, as Nova apparently does (Nova hasn’t defended any of the DDT insanity from Monckton — she can’t, of course, so she’s trying to deflect).  I don’t assume anything, except some degree of intelligence and civility in most people — an assumption Nova is doing her best to batter.

Nova dismisses out of hand the papers by Australian scientists showing how and why Australia’s wildfires are results of greenhouse-gas-caused climate change.  If all the evidence is ruled out of bounds, then she’s right.

Try to post a serious argument there.

Remember, my sole point was that Monckton can’t be trusted, a claim I make based on his astounding and continuing falsehoods about DDT, malaria and the environmental movement.  Nova contests none of that, but accuses me of not providing evidence to other points.

Were I to be so cruel as Monckton, I’d ask whether she had to chew through the leather restraints to post that.  But I won’t.

Before you can post again, please explain:
1. Are you still calling us “deniers”

She’s defending a guy who regularly calls scientists, Nobel winners, and anyone who questions anything he does “bed wetters” and is proud of it.

Am I pointing out you deny the evidence, Nova?  Damn straight.

Does that make you a “denier?”  I think it’s indicative of a syndrome.  Over here in the U.S., when public figures get caught like that, they often head off to an alcohol abuse treatment program.  Among the first steps of abuse correction is confession.

If I call you a “denier,” where does that description go awry, Ms. Nova?  You won’t accept the science I post, and now you won’t let me post unless I swear fealty to your odd brand of nonsensescience.

Why should anyone regard you as a major denier, lost in depths of denialism?   Where is there any indication that you accept any part of science?

If “yes” then you may not post again since this is delusional as you cannot provide any evidence we deny and have not acknowledged that your past effort to provide evidence was woefully inadequate.

I was unaware pigs wanted to sing.  I still see no evidence of it.  It’s that denialism thing, I think.  A pig denying it is Sus domesticus might be deluded into thinking it should be able to sing.

Nova’s explanation for why the Australian scientists were wrong about wildfires in Australia was an answer along the lines of “everyone knows” Australian fires are caused by Smokey the Bear’s overmanagement of wildlands.  No citation to anything at all, not even a newspaper article.

And she accuses me of providing no evidence.

Jack Rhodes explained the difficulties of coaching champion debate teams.  First a team has to learn to beat the average teams.  Then they must learn to beat the really good teams.  Finally, and most difficult, they must learn to defeat the really bad teams.  In the logical and evidence-laden world of intercollegiate debate at the time, a really bad team’s disorganized thoughts and fumbling arguments could draw good debaters off the track.

Nova’s tried to draw me off the track there.  She’s demonstrating a moral failure in her support of the serial and continuing falsehoods of Christopher Monckton.  Wholly apart from whether I could offer evidence of global warming to pass Nova’s jaundiced eye, it is a moral failure of Nova to support the falsehoods of the man, promote them as truths, and then engage in attacks on those who point out the errors.

It’s not an evidence failure we see at Nova’s blog so much as a failure of backbone, a moral failure to distinguish the dross that can mislead the masses from the gold that we need for policy.

I’m assuming Nova’s bright enough to make that distinction, of course.  She could shuffle off to an evidence abuse program and claim bright light addiction or somesuch.  But if we assume she’s not crazy or stupid, then her failing here is purely moral.  She refuses to entertain the idea that she might be wrong in any sense, crazy, stupid, or just not yet sufficiently evidenced.  If we believe her that far, moral failing is the only alternative.

If Nova wants to be seen as a serious non-denialist, she ought to act that way.

If “not” then talk of deniers applies to some other group, it’s not appropriate here. Go talk there.
2. You may apologise for wasting my time, and posting comments of sub-par logic along with baseless insults.

I regret your moderation is unfair, your characterizations of me inaccurate, and your science so poor as to be practically non-existent.  Should I be sorry for that?  Okay, I’m sorry your moderation is unfair, your characterizations wrong, and your beliefs unfounded.

I don’t think I should be apologizing for you, Joanne.  You have to do that yourself.

You may not post again until we resolve this. Unfortunately I have to discriminate against the mentally deficient who throw insults. There is only one of me, I’m trying to lift standards on logic and reason and cannot offer free therapy for those who are simply, possibly due to no fault of their own, unable to reason.

I can and will post freely wherever reasonable discussion is obtainable, Joanne.  I regret that is not your site.  Alas, again, I cannot do your apologies for you.

Dear Readers, you may head over to Nova’s site and try to educate the hard-headed Aussies and others there.  Don’t set your sites on long life on those boards.  I gather most of the rational Aussies avoid the place.  I wonder where sensible Aussies hang out?  [Roy Hogue?  Are you a troll or do you have serious questions?  If the latter, post the questions here.  I’ll work to answer them.]

Joanne Nova may wish to decorate Millard Fillmore for his contributions to sanitary science in the White House, especially his personal plumbing of the first bathtub there.  It’s her right.  It’s not history, it’s not science, it’s not accurate, it’s not appropriate.  But it’s her right.

4 Responses to Joanne Nova can’t stand the heat

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Sean, was I too strong? You wrote:

    Nature is in a constant state of flux. We are fooling ourselves if we think that today’s, yesterday’s or last century’s climate is the only ideal climate for the Earth, and to assume that we know what’s best for the environment is not only arrogant, but dangerous. In the 1970s, an author named Rachel Carson cited DDT, a pesticide that was extremely effective in killing mosquitoes, as a carcinogen and environmental poison. The public scare that erupted as a result caused DDT to be banned in the U.S. and most of the world, despite an investigation that proved that DDT was not harmful to people, animals or the environment. But what was most harmful was malaria, the disease that those mosquitoes carried, which, left uninhibited, went on to kill 2 million people per year.

    There is incredible irony in your using Carson’s warning that we are arrogant to think we can control nature and that we know what’s best, to criticize the most famous writing in which she made that point (Silent Spring). There is, indeed, a smack of hubristic arrogance in your doing so.

    You also allege, perhaps so implicitly that even you don’t recognize it, that Carson was in error in her writings. Here is my response at your newspaper’s site:

    posted 2/25/10 @ 5:17 PM CST
    Rachel Carson was right. DDT is a deadly toxin to ecosystems. She never claimed it to be carcinogenic — but the American Cancer Society lists it as a “probable” human carcinogen. Where do you get off calling the American Cancer Society liars? Why would you?

    EPA banned DDT after two federal trial courts determined the stuff to be incredibly dangerous in the wild. It kills anything smaller than a human with abandon, and it’s uncontrollable. It disrupts the hormones of animals it doesn’t kill outright, rendering them incapable of producing young who can reproduce. It nearly wiped out the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, brown pelican and osprey. Any serious study of DDT would reveal the facts.

    No study has ever questioned Carson’s claims. No study has ever shown that DDT is anything other than extremely harmful in the wild. The National Academy of Sciences said that DDT is one of the most valuable chemicals ever developed. But, then NAS said that DDT should be phased out, because its harms are much greater than its benefits in the long run.

    DDT use against malaria was slowed in the middle 1960s, a good seven years before the ban on DDT sprayed on cotton in the U.S. WHO phased it out because it stopped working (don’t take my word for it — see Malcolm Gladwell’s 2001 profile of super malaria-fighter Fred Soper in The New Yorker). Today, malaria kills less than half as many people as it did when DDT use was at its peak. It’s just wrong to claim that a U.S. ban on agricultural use of DDT in 1972, caused WHO to stop using DDT in 1965, or caused malaria to blossom in Africa. Mosquitoes don’t migrate that far, and the claim cannot be supported in history.

    So, if you get the simple, verifiable facts of DDT so wrong, why should we think you’re any more accurate on climate?

    Now, I’ll acknowledge you wrote a bit ambiguously. You said, without any reference to any supporting studies, ” . . . an investigation . . . proved that DDT was not harmful to people, animals or the environment.” Did you not know that DDT is listed as a probable carcinogen? Or do you dispute that it is carcinogenic? Perhaps I was just too hasty, and you genuinely don’t know what you write about.

    But you tell us which it is, ignorance or falsehood, please.

    In any case, the facts suggested and stated in your piece are in error. They deserved a correction, and I’ve offered the better information to make the corrections.

    If we are truly humble, we’ll seek the facts, and let the facts speak. Getting the facts straight is a supreme act of humility for a writer, but a necessary one.

    Like

  2. Sean McCormick says:

    Ed,

    I never once called the American Cancer Society liars. People like you who put words in their opposition’s mouths and attack them ad hominem only prove my point, which is that when it comes to the truth of climate change, we need a whole lot more of humility and a lot less of demonization of people you don’t agree with. Sadly, you and your side of the debate are more interested in shouting down the so-called “deniers” than engaging in meaningful discussions about the facts.
    You stay classy.

    Like

  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks, Gerald. It’s the power of one man with knowledge. Perhaps one person who can make a difference will read the facts.

    Realizing that humans can change climate is a difficult concept, a new idea, a new paradigm. Thomas Kuhn wrote that some paradigm shifts must wait until the old advocates die off. I hope that’s not the case with warming. With creationism, they keep breeding new denialists, and no amount of evidence seems to sway them from their caves.

    I thought it mighty odd that Nova asked me to repudiate science before being allowed to post. If they had any facts, any data at all, with all the mau-mauing spawn there, what would they have to fear? It was also interesting that Anthony Watts showed up. It’s almost like he’s stalking me — he’s got a hundred times the readers I’ve got. What is it they fear so much?

    I won’t repudiate the Scout Law just to take the abuse there. Perhaps someone with more patience, a lower profile, and more stealth than I will come along to inform them.

    Like

  4. Gerald says:

    Dear Ed,

    I just wanted to drop you a line and thank you for the great blog. I have learned a great deal from it. I understand the frustration of dealing with denialists, I often get involved with them in discussions too. I couldn’t finish reading the “debate” over at Nova’s blog, it was just too depressing. That discussion is like most of the ones I have had with the AGW denialists. They make claims, post no sources or inadequate sources; change the subject when proven wrong; and when all else fails just use some personal insults.

    The tactics and mentality of these AGW denialists is so similar to that of the creationists it is almost frightening. They have convinced themselves that there is a vast scientific conspiracy stretching across multiple disciplines just to ruin their day, apparently.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that sometimes it isn’t fruitless to engage in these discussions. You never know how many lurkers there may be reading those comments, and accepting the side of rationality.

    Like

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