[LINK] the weather makers
stewart_fist at optusnet.com.au
Mon Apr 9 10:56:04 EST 2007
Kim points to the Alan Thorpe article
>> Scepticism is one thing; cynicism and conspiracy-theorising are
>> quite another. These are the hallmarks of a recent attempt to
>> discredit the widely accepted theory that human-made carbon dioxide
>> emissions are causing global warming. A loose affiliation of
>> scientists and writers is pushing the alternative idea that
>> fluctuations in solar activity provide a better explanation for the
>> rise and fall in the temperature of Earth's atmosphere over the
>> past few centuries.
This is the typical position and terminology of a zealot, not a scientist
He is saying "My side has scientific scepticism (which is good), while your
side is cynical and conspiratorial. And he characterises the opposition as
"A loose affiliation of scientists and writers" and says they are "pushing"
Who has affiliations in this contest of ideas?
The human-climate-change activists and the scientists who support them, or
the few scientists who think otherwise?
Who has the "conspiracy"?
What evidence does he give that his scientific opposition is "cynical" but
not "sceptical" -- the implication being that they are contrarians by
nature, rather than good scientists unconvinced by the available evidence.
He then goes on to say:
>> Their basic argument goes something like this.
And goes on to create his straw-man theory.
But the whole point is that they don't have one basic argument (this is just
one of many hypotheses). Essentially the only thing they agree upon is that
the evidence doesn't yet support the conclusions being drawn.
I haven't seen or read about the Channel 4 program he complains about, but
on past record, with a Channel 4 documentary, he would have plenty to bitch
about. Generally they are aweful and simplistic and sensationalistic.
But as the head of the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) he
complains of "bias, lying and prejudice" which is a bit much coming from a
man who has just charged his opposition with "cynicism and
conspiracy-theorising", and used the term "pushing" to denote opposition
arguments when his side of the debate has 99% of the newspaper space.
I understand why activists like Thorpe have had to exaggerate fears, and
paint the science in black-and-white ways in order to raise a constituency
and force politicians to listen, and pay more than token attention.
But they've now done that. And this is good.
I also understand that the big corporations like Exxon and Western Mining
have paid fake organisations like SEPP with Fred Singer and Patrick
Michaels, and Steve Milloy of Junk-science.com, to promote a denier's
viewpoint. And why this was supported by the far right. I probably
understand more than anyone on this list how this came about, because I've
been researching a book on the corporate corruption of science for years.
But these people have now been exposed and with a few exceptions they have
So this battle has also been won.
But there are still a number of good scientists around who don't accept that
evidence exists, in the way that it is so zealously being promoted as
People now need to stop fighting and let the real scientific questions be
asked an answered.
You've got our attention. The money is beginning to flow.
Now is the time to listen to the opposition instead of denigrating them.
Its the mark of a zealot to keep fighting after the battle is won.
> This debate is not just about science. Implicit in the sceptics'
> message is the suggestion that scientists are lying about the role
> of CO2 in climate change. The impression given is that this is a
> conspiracy; that climate scientists are deliberately trying to
> mislead the public, either to affect policy because of their
> private political motivations or to be more successful in
> attracting research funding.
You can reverse this:
Implicit in Thorpe's message is the suggestion that everyone who has a
different opinion to him is in the pay of the energy companies. The
impression given is that this is a conspiracy (in fact he states this
outright); that climate scientists (on the other side) are deliberately
trying to mislead the public, either to affect policy because of their
private financial motivations or to be more successful in attracting
The fact of the matter is that research funds generally flow to those in the
mainstream of current scientific opinion. It has always been that way, and
probably always will be. It pays scientists to either be 'conventional' or
Stewart Fist, writer, journalist, film-maker
70 Middle Harbour Road, LINDFIELD, 2070, NSW, Australia
Ph +61 (2) 9416 7458
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