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Thursday, February 27, 2014

WUWT Sticky: Patrick Moore yearns for the "good old days" 500 million years ago

Sou | 9:59 AM Go to the first of 22 comments. Add a comment

"When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago..."

Affirmation from a born again denier

"When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago..." So a bloke by the name of Patrick Moore said to his patron, Senator James Inhofe.  Anthony Watts thinks so highly of Patrick Moore's dumb, boring, tired repetition of out-dated denier talking points that he made it a sticky (archived here).  (Patrick Moore for those who've never heard of him, is apparently a "born-again denier" who says he was associated with Greenpeace in its early days, back when he was a hot-headed youth.  He left Greenpeace a couple of years later when he decided to become ideologically conservative and forsake environmental activism for the scientific illiterati.  Since then he's been trading on his "born again denier" status.  Update: I've put some related links in a comment below.)

What's happened in the last 500 million years...

Young earth creationists think modern life was created out of nothing 4,000 years ago or whenever.  Patrick Moore says modern life evolved over 500 million years ago therefore rising CO2 is not a problem.

How does Patrick Moore know what little he knows?  My guess is that it's because he read something that someone wrote about something that someone wrote about something that someone wrote about something that scientists discovered.  It's pretty obvious that Patrick Moore himself doesn't read science.  He reads hearsay of hearsay of hearsay from science deniers.

I don't know what archaic peat bog the Republican denialati dug him up from, but I wonder if Patrick Moore knows that quite a lot has changed in the past 500 million years.  For example, does Patrick Moore know it took another 150 million years before the first vertebrates appeared on land?  Does Patrick Moore know that around 250 million years after his 500 million years ago, 95% of life on earth became extinct?

Does Patrick Moore know that the very first "modern" mammals didn't appear until around 450 million years after his "500 million years ago"?

Does Patrick Moore know that it took around 480 million years after his 500 million years ago for our first ape-like ancestors to appear?

Does Patrick Moore know that it took around 498 million years after his 500 million years ago for our first Hominidae ancestors to appear?

Does Patrick Moore know that modern humans first appeared around 499.8 million years after his 500 million years ago?

Does Patrick Moore know that if CO2 were to reach the levels today that it was when the sun was much fainter and the earth was much younger, we'd all become extinct? Does he care? Or is he more interested in selling his science denial book?

Patrick Moore has told some US committee that he's written a science denying book.  Well, woopy doo.  Science denying books are plentiful but you won't learn anything about the natural world from them.  All you will learn is how some humans delude themselves.  How they'll rattle off a series of denier memes like CO2 is plant food, a warmer world is a better world, we're heading for an ice age, CO2 doesn't warm the world, warming is good for you etc etc.

What I can't understand is why Anthony Watts would make such a silly, empty denier speech a "sticky".  It's not even ground-breaking denial.  It's old, tired and worn out denial.

The equivalent of a Young Earth Creationist

Nor can I understand what makes a US government committee interested in denier rants from someone just because he got on a boat with some Greenpeace activists thirty years ago and decided that life wasn't for him.  He's not a climate scientist, that's obvious.  He's not even the sort of science denier the WUWT claim to be.  (WUWT-ers have been scrambling this week claiming they accept the greenhouse effect and AGW, they just reckon it's all stopped happening all of a sudden for no reason.)  Patrick Moore isn't one of those deniers, he's a greenhouse effect denier. The equivalent of the young earth creationists.

Pygmalion fail

If you want to read what Patrick Moore said, the WUWT archive is here.  It's not interesting. It's not eloquent. It's not got anything new.  It's not sophisticated.

It made me think of My Fair Lady.  As if Fred Singer spent a few weeks with Patrick Moore and tried to teach him some basic denier memes.  But Patrick Moore wasn't as astute as Eliza.  He couldn't be mistaken for anything but another ignorant puppet who's been trained in denial, and not very well trained at that.

When it came to his big occasion, all Patrick Moore could remember was that CO2 has been higher in the past and CO2 is plant food therefore we can keep burning coal.

Anthony Watts is worshipping a caricature, a statue of a denier and not even one of his creation.


  1. Patrick Moore presented the BBC's Sky At Night astronomy programme for decades and is very well-known and well-loved character in the UK, who helped inspire many young scientists. His involvement with very right-wing and ugly political circles is not widely known, but we are talking the "Say what you like, Hitler had the right idea" brigade.

    So anyway, new blood for the denier movement. Moore may actually increase the average age, come to think of it, he was old when I were no' but a lad.

    1. That's a different Patrick Moore, Cugel.

      This one has been hailed by the denier movement for some time. These days, as well as denying climate science, he runs a campaign to promote Golden Rice.

      According to Wiki, this Patrick Moore got a PhD in ecology way back when under Crawford Stanley (Buzz) Holling. Unfortunately none of Professor Holling's zest for knowledge rubbed off and Patrick Moore reverted to the equivalent of a Young Earth Creationist with a big chip on his shoulder, an axe to grind and whatever other idioms you can think of :(

      Here's a great interview with Patrick Moore's PhD supervisor (it's pdf file - right click to save as). The difference could hardly be more stark.

    2. The Buzz Hollings interview is fascinating. It is a classic example of a scientist begging for public or philanthropic funding for weak hypotheses.

    3. Oh great - now HotWhopper is being infested by a fully paid up member of the scientific illiterati.

      Illiterati: The opposite of the Illuminati, who take pride in their high level of knowledge and learning. An Illiterati takes pride in the fact that they are ignorant and refuse to learn

    4. I'm not surprised Bernard. I didn't read much about him but I did notice his political leanings. Ideology can make fools of people - both left and right. With climate change it commonly makes the right wing ideologues blind to facts.

    5. Cugel,

      Given that he died in 2012, he is unlikely to be new blood.

      However, given how the recycling of material at WUWT works, it'll not be long before there are a number of posts from beyond the grave.

    6. Oops :(

      You can understand my mistake, though; octogenarian white male with far-right leanings, tedious climate denial, it's no great leap to the unwary. Shame I forgot he's dining with John Daly these days.

  2. I think David Appell needs a mention here, too:

    1. Thanks, Marco. David's article is good. He goes into detail and corrects some of Patrick Moore's nonsense.

    2. Media Matters also has a debunking

      "Conservative media are latching on to the climate change denial of Patrick Moore, who has masqueraded as a co-founder of Greenpeace. But Moore has been a spokesman for nuclear power and fossil fuel-intensive industries for more than 20 years, and his denial of climate change -- without any expertise in the matter -- is nothing new."

    3. David Appell's climate points are good, but like a couple of the commenters there I think that his styling of Moore as a Greenpeace "cofounder" is a big mistake, the more so for being left uncorrected..

      It's long been pointed out that Moore has guilded the lily on this subject, and given that David is calling Moore out on the fact that he has been informed months ago (by Appell personally via Twitter) about the erroneous nature of his CO2 claims it stands that David should similarly acknowledge corrections of the record.

    4. Which he has done now, Bernard...

    5. Marco, I see that now - I'm very pleased!

      David's competing with Sou, who spoils us by putting her corrections on the page in question. ;-)

  3. Sou, you have made a great deal out of teasing Moore for stating "modern life evolved over 500 million years ago". However by "modern life", Moore is not referring to human civilisation as you are clearly assuming, he is referring to this
    580–500 Ma Most modern phyla of animals begin to appear in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion

    1. Sheesh - deniers and their dumb defenders abound in cyberspace, don't they.

      Is anonymous, like denier Patrick Moore, arguing for a return to CO2 levels of 500 million years ago? Is anonymous (or Patrick Moore) aware that this explosion was in the water, not on land.

      Perhaps anonymous and Patrick Moore are urging a dead heat :(

    2. Indeed I am quite aware of that, but you seemed to be making a cheap shot, so I called it. Hot Whopper would have been better served to have you stating this in your article above, rather than defending it in the comments.

    3. It wasn't a cheap shot. It took some of my valuable time. HW readers are generally more educated in climate science and know very well that it's Patrick Moore who is cheap. Deniers aren't worth a brass razoo and deserve nothing but ridicule.

      Also, I don't need a denier defender telling me what I should and should not be stating in my articles. I stated a lot about evolution in my article including touching on what's happened in the intervening 500,000,000 years. More than enough to give readers a good idea of just how deceptive Patrick Moore was being to the US government.

      I'd have thought deliberately deceiving a US Senate Committee would be a criminal offense. But apparently not.

    4. While I am - of course - suitably impressed by Anonymous's remarkable mind reading abilities, the rest of us mere mortals can only go by what was actually written in the WUWT comedy piece. And that says 'when modern life evolved'. Well, no it didn't.

    5. "modern life" and "most modern phyla"?? Moore and Anonymous are engaged in sophistry i.e. using false arguments with the intention of deceiving.
      In the case of vertebrate animals (currently around 5 per cent of all animal species), modern phyla have their origins in the one phylum, Chordata but those original chordates (540 Ma) were primitive marine animals with rudimentary vertebrae, a definite head and tail but without jaws which developed into primitive Fish (500 Ma), primitive Amphibians (360 Ma), primitive Reptiles (300 Ma), primitive Birds (150 Ma), etc.
      As for invertebrates animals (currently around 93 per cent of all animal species), the original invertebrates (540 Ma) were marine animals including primitive Mollluscs, primitive Echinoderms, primitive Corals and primitive Trilobites.

  4. I read Moore's testimony, and it's nothing but pure pseudoscience. The giveaway is the sheer number of ideological blogs he uses as 'references'. Of course deniers just eat this shit up, and it's no wonder that WUWT has made it a sticky.

    It's also why the deniers in Congress picked him. So long as they have a Dr. in front of their name, and they rely on pseudoscience, and they will tell them what they want to hear, they are a perfect witness. But Moore is the ultimate witness, as he is a PR hollowman, a spin doctor, who will lend his name to anyone who has the cash and a horrible unpalatable lie to spin. A real climate scientist, a professor, like Rahmstorf, Alley or England would tell them what they don't want to hear. Facts based on real science. For many in the US government, it's the realities of climate science that is the unpalatable truth, and so to delude themselves, they will actively seek the services of a prostitute selling climate science deception. Someone who will rattle off all the memes. It's a disgrace how low some people will stoop.

  5. Wikipedia has a lengthy piece on Patrick Moore.

    "Moore has earned his living since the early 1990s primarily by consulting for, and publicly speaking for a wide variety of corporations and lobby groups such as the Nuclear Energy Institute."

    I wonder, did WUWT forget to mention that?


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