This is a story so often told about how a climate science denier, in trying to play "gotcha", got "gotcha'd" himself.
Willis Eschenbach is a self-confessed climate science denier
Today Willis Eschenbach (archived here, later update here, later update here and latest here) had a shot at Andy Revkin for an article about climate science deniers. He didn't like the word "deniers" probably, though what he wrote was:
I went over to Andy Revkin’s site to be entertained by his latest fulminations against “denialists”. Revkin, as you may remember from the Climategate emails, was the main go-to media lapdog for the various unindicted Climategate co-conspirators. His latest post is a bizarre mishmash of allegations, bogus claims, and name-calling. Most appositely, given his history of blind obedience to his oh-so-scientific masters like Phil Jones and Michael Mann, he illustrated it with this graphic which presumably shows Revkin’s response when confronted with actual science:"This graphic" being a photograph of a sculpture, showing two of the three wise monkeys, Mizaru and Kikazaru. Notably Iwazaru is absent from the photo. Hobbyist science deniers will refuse to read the science or look at what's happening in the world around them. They'll refuse to listen to scientists. But just try to get them to shut up!
|Credit: Andrew C. Revkin|
As you'll have read above, Willis has his nose still buried in the trough of stolen emails, wishing there was something in there that showed his view of science and scientists was correct. There isn't. Willis obviously sees himself as a climate science denier or he wouldn't have written what he did. He doesn't like allegations made by other people, or name-calling, but in that short paragraph count the terms:
- media lapdog
- blind obedience
- oh-so-scientific masters
And does Willis seriously think that that Andrew Revkin is denying the actual science Willis is constantly denying?
Willis Eschenbach passes number lookup but fails arithmetic
Thing is, Willis' next comment was about the "about me" section - which looks like it hasn't been changed since 2010 and even then the bit that Willis objected to was probably written earlier. The bit that Willis objected to was this:
By 2050 or so, the human population is expected to reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today.
Willis doesn't know anything about climate science but he can check population numbers. He wrote:
Revkin’s error is not insignificant. From the present population to 9 billion, where the population is likely to stabilize, is an increase of about 1.75 billion. IF Revkin’s claims about two Chinas were correct, the increase would be 2.8 billion. So his error is 2.8/1.75 -1, which means his numbers are 60% too high. A 60% overestimation of the size of the problem that he claims to be deeply concerned about? … bad journalist, no cookies.
Willis might have the current population numbers correct. I haven't bothered to check. However he isn't correct when he talks about "a 60% overestimation of the problem". He used the wrong denominator. Anyway, he got away with that at WUWT. He might have come across as more credible if he'd acknowledged that the "about me" was written years ago and would have been correct at the time. All he's showed is that it's probably the first time he's read that blurb at Dot Earth, and that he's not good at working out percentages.
Willis Eschenbach fails reading comprehension
Willis also might have avoided looking like an idiot if he hadn't made a big blue of an error himself. In his very first paragraph he wrote about "his latest fulminations", meaning Andy Revkin's. But Andy didn't write the article Willis took exception to. Andy said quite clearly that the article was written by David Victor of the University of California, San Diego. He even tweeted Anthony Watts, who could have corrected Willis' article, but hasn't. (One has to scroll down the WUWT comments to see this moderate response from Andrew Revkin.)
Why bother with what a climate science denying hobbyist says?
Willis Eschenbach could have come across as more credible in a small way, he could have avoided looking like an idiot. Then again, who takes seriously a man whose hobby is climate science denial?
The article at Andrew Revkin's blog is about climate science deniers including those like Willis who've taken it up as a hobby. David Victor makes some good points and some that I don't completely agree with. It's a solid article though and worth reading if you're interested in people's view of what makes a climate science denier tick. (It's in fashion at the moment. William Connolley at Stoat wrote a good article about the same subject just a couple of days ago.)
As one might have predicted, it brought all the ratbag climate science deniers who, by their comments, showed the accuracy of what David Victor wrote.
From the WUWT comments
Andrew Revkin has a reputation for being a moderate in the "climate blog wars". Sometimes he comes across as a "lukewarmer" though I think he's been giving the science a better hearing of late. I'm no longer a regular reader of Dot Earth so I can't really say. So Willis' attack didn't get universal approval from the band of deniers at WUWT. Nevertheless he manages to rally a lynch mob to verbally attack Andy Revkin and anyone and everyone who accepts climate science and wants a future for the world. Latest archive here, with Willis Eschenbach showing his true (murky) colours over and over again in the comments.
Addendum: With what Anthony Watts is allowing in the comments (eg here), plus his recent article on Mark Steyn, I almost get the impression he is angling to be named in a defamation lawsuit. Or daring one. Maybe he's seeking fame and notoriety or maybe he's feeling left out and ignored by anyone who counts. Or maybe he figures he's safe because he cries poor so often.
Sou 8:45 pm 23 February 2014 AEDST
Eric Barnes says:
February 22, 2014 at 12:03 pm
The sad part of it is, Andrew Revkin is one of the least worst of the alarmists.
Chad Wozniak says:
February 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm
Revkin is a perfect illustration of who the REAL denialists are: the alarmists who ignore the new Holocaust caused by carbon policies (33,000 dead from hypothermia in the UK last year, 2 million Africans dead from starvation thanks to the ethanol program).
@Charles Battig – this is also the program proposed by der Fuehrer’s witchcraft advisor, John Holdren, except that he wants to knock the population down to 1 billion.
Global warming alarmism is MASS MURDER. Global warming alarmism is GENOCIDE.
pokerguy sums up Willis Eschenbach well when he says:
February 22, 2014 at 12:29 pm
“…particularly when he is nothing but a pathetic PR shill for bogus science and disingenuous scientists …”
Seems that everyone you disagree with is a contemptible slime, Willis. I disagree with Revkin on just about everything, and marvel at his apparent credulity in climate matters, but on a personal level he’s never struck me as anything but sincere and well meaning. For a warmist, he’s quite willing and open to discuss opposing points of view.
Roger A. Pielke Sr. says (is he also having a dig at Roy Spencer?):
February 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm
Willis – I strongly disagree with you on your post. While I do not agree with all of Andy’s views, he is one of the most objective and open journalists in the mainstream media. He has provided a much needed forum for debate.
I have no idea why you choose to attack him when there is plenty of science to discuss and analyze.
I also prefer that WUWT not post personal attacks on anyone. This only demeans the website which is otherwise an outstanding forum for a much-needed debate on climate science which is not available at most other venues..
February 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm
Well said Dr.Pielke. Eschenbach is the last person to judge over other persons, while Revkin is certainly pro AGW, he is one of the more moderate people in the discussion.
Andy Revkin (@Revkin) says:
February 22, 2014 at 1:01 pm
And a note to Willis Eschenbach about carelessness (I agree that my 2007 population math – there from the first day of the blog – badly needs updating; leaving it up unchanged this long was careless).
Despite repeated references to David Victor in the introduction to the Denialism post, you somehow missed that it was the text of a lecture by him at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
All of the assertions you complain about are his.
This is a guest post – kind of like yours here at WUWT.
I’m sure Anthony doesn’t agree with everything you wrote. I don’t agree with everything David said. But it’s important in open forums to air a range of views.
As for your lapdog references, etc., sheesh….
(Accidentally posted under an unrelated WordPress ID a minute ago.)
[Thank you for the response. If so, to maintain traceability and accountability, should the "unrelated" item be deleted? Mod]
February 22, 2014 at 1:05 pm
This is 2014 and he is talking about conscripting the people of 2050 to our vision of future needs. That is the equivalent of our being handed a world designed by the futurists of 1978. If one could bring the most brilliant of minds forward from 1978 to today that person would be a babe in the woods around our contemporary technology and the way time has change our world. Nobody would listen.
Mr. Revkin – you sir are an imperious ass and a moron today and you would considered the same in 2050 should any of your vacuous screeds survive.
Max Erwengh is over-optimistic when he says he knows that Willis could do better:
February 22, 2014 at 1:17 pm
Sorry I really don’t see the sense of this post. He made a rule of thumb estimate, and it is a quite acceptable approximation. So, no matter if it is silly to be a afraid about rising population or not, the calculation is fine. And guess what, natural science is all about approximations (ye of course not that silly ones about population growth), we don’t do pure science which applies only to mathematics.
Back to the topic, this is just a very disturbing ad-hominem attack. I know you could do better.
cynical_scientist makes some observations on the use of the word "denier" and variations (see here) and says:
February 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm
What I find most interesting about Revkin’s article is the language. He consistently uses “Denialist”, “Denialism” instead of “Denier”, “Denial”. And it isn’t just Revkin doing it – most of the people he quotes are doing it too. This looks to me like yet another orchestrated language shift along the lines of global warming –> climate change –> climate weirding –> etc. It is bizarre the way they keep switching language. Who decides these things?
Anyway, as people do not speak of Holocaust denialists or Holocaust denialism, this looks to me like an attempt to hide their tracks and make the smear less obvious. The new language is close enough to the old to still be offensive. But the slight distance gives plausible deniability so that if someone takes them to task over the use of the D word they can pretend we are too sensitive and it is all just a coincidence.
(I suspect this is headed for the moderation queue due to use of the D word.)