.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

WUWT denier is horrified by opinions about climate

Sou | 4:43 PM Go to the first of 34 comments. Add a comment

A denier on WUWT called Eric Worrall, who finally got turfed from Watching the Deniers, a very tolerant website, is horrified.   This is the same Eric Worrall who persistently expressed his opinion that climate science is like eugenics in the 1930s.

Eric is horrified (archived here) that someone would write:
“What we need now is to become comfortable with the idea that the ends will justify the means. We actually need more opinions, appearing more often and expressed more noisily than ever before.”

The person who wrote the above is Dr Rod Lamberts, deputy director of the Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science (CPAS) at the ANU, a founding partner of the Ångstrom Group, and a former national president of the Australian Science Communicators.  It was part of an article he wrote for The Conversation.

In that same article, Rod Lamberts also wrote:
At best, presenting people with facts to counter their beliefs makes them ignore you; at worst, it drives them further away. How much more evidence do you need than the singular failure of scientific facts to convince deniers that humans are buggering up the climate?

What delighted Eric Worrall was that Rod Lamberts criticised Tim Flannery.  Rod wrote:
A colleague of mine recently received an invitation to a Climate Council event. The invitation featured this Tim Flannery quote: “An opinion is useless, what we need are more facts."
My first thought was that my colleague was taking the piss. Tim Flannery is an experienced science communicator, but that phrase made my jaw drop. It was apparently meant in earnest, but it’s wildly off the mark.
The quote is ludicrously, appallingly, almost dangerously naïve. It epitomises the reasons we are still “debating” climate science and being overwhelmed by climate skeptics/deniers/contrarians in the public space.

The Conversation article offers some food for thought into how to communicate the dangers we are hurtling toward with such nonchalance.  These same dangers that the Eric Worrall's and Anthony Watts of the world want us to hurtle towards faster and faster.

Rod Lambert is in no way suggesting that facts are not important or that we don't need more of them.  He argues:
Ultimately, we can only say “that’s not cricket” for so long. Eventually we have to stop tutting and accept that others aren’t even trying to play cricket – they’re boxing. We can decry climate deniers for their unfair, lowbrow tactics, but their tactics are getting them exactly what they want. Ours are not.
The continuing focus on gathering and presenting more and more scientific data to reinforce a position the vast majority already holds is not leading to the changes we need. Yes, scientists should keep monitoring, researching and reporting on the climate. But assuming that we want people to act according to the science, the focus must now be on influencing positive action.

The question is - will more "facts" make a difference.  We've got facts coming out our ears.  Here in Australia we've just had another "hottest year on record" and yet we elect a Prime Minister who has said the science behind climate change is "crap".  Tony Abbott's first attacks against our nation when entering office were to dismantle as much as he could of any offices that monitor climate and and mitigate climate change and shift to a new clean energy economy.  He's appointed climate science deniers not just to any important posts, but to positions of responsibility in relation to climate change.

So how to get the message out there?  How to persuade voters that putting people like Tony Abbott into arguably the most powerful position in the country is risky at best if not downright harmful.

My thinking is we need both.  The Climate Council has influence.  It gets airplay. When it broadcasts the fact that a hotter Australia is a more dangerous place to live, some people hear it - but is it enough?

As Rod Lambert says:
The biggest impediment to climate action these days is not because of the human frailties that science is hell-bent on resisting – those alleged failings of opinion, belief and emotion. Ironically, it’s exactly because we are still trying to suppress them that we are now stalled.


The Lie about Tim Flannery


Eric finishes up his WUWT article by resurrecting an old denier myth.  He claims that Tim Flannery once said it would never rain again.  He didn't.  It's little wonder that Eric Worrall and Anthony Watts don't link to anything supporting this wrong claim.  The closest they got was an article by Andrew Bolt repeating the lie with a teeny tiny cherry pick from a longer segment on youtube - see the transcript here.  He said in the interview with Lateline back in 2007, referring to the Big Drought:
So even the rain that falls isn't actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that's a real worry for the people in the bush. If that trend continues then I think we're going to have serious problems, particularly for irrigation.

And we did have serious problems.  Particularly for irrigation. That drought that Tim Flannery was referring to in 2007 didn't break until 2010!  The major dams that got perilously close to empty finally started to fill up again.  Only to be followed by those record-breaking floods that were so bad that they caused a dip in global sea levels.


Why are there still climate science deniers in Australia?


What is the bigger wonder than the Big Drought and the Big Flood and the Big Fires is that there are any climate science deniers left in Australia.  We are used to extremes of weather, but the extremes we've been seeing go beyond what we're used to.

I'm thinking that we need both facts and opinion.

We need the facts, like those reported by the Climate Council and RealClimate.org and ClimateProgress and SkepticalScience.com.

We also need strongly worded opinion, as is being advocated by Rod Lamberts to counteract the three word slogans of idiots like our Prime Minister and deniers at WUWT.


PS There's a new article by Victor Venema that is worth a read in this regard.  He is exploring why science deniers are not interested in facts. In "fact" they eschew facts for fiction.

From the WUWT comments


There are lots of opinions being expressed in the WUWT comments, mostly all worthless.

As Chris4692 says of Eric Worrall's opinion:
March 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm
If you have no facts, you have nothing else but opinions.

Robert of Ottawa's opinion is quite clear.  He says:
March 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm
Australia has a government that rejects the Warmista scare and is gradually dismantalling the state apparatus that propagates it. Hence the hysterical squeals of the Warmista pigs (those at the public trough)

PaulH needs a lesson in Strine and says:
March 15, 2014 at 5:15 pm
My first thought was that my colleague was taking the piss.
I have no idea what that means.

Latitude comes up with a novel opinion and is a very deep thinker:
March 15, 2014 at 5:19 pm
of course they can’t win it with facts…….


DirkH has about as much depth as Latitude and says:
March 15, 2014 at 5:37 pm
“What we need now is to become comfortable with the idea that the ends will justify the means. We actually need more opinions, appearing more often and expressed more noisily than ever before.”
Oh, I misunderstood him. What he means is, every warmist will now have to choose between being honest or being efficient. Now that’s a whole new approach. (sarc)


pottereaton is just another dumb fake sceptic who favours WUWT opinion over science and says:
March 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm
The problem with “consensus” climate science from the beginning is that it has been mostly opinions– i.e. speculation and conjecture– and not facts–i.e. solid data and verifiable hypotheses arrived at with scrupulous statistical methods.


Konrad must think there is somewhere hidden group of "sceptics" that haven't yet reared their heads.  Does anyone out there know of a "sceptic" that uses facts or has a case to argue?  Konrad says:
March 15, 2014 at 6:33 pm
“Facts won’t defeat the climate deniers – using their tactics will”
When when this fool finds someone who denies that planet has a variable climate he can use whatever tactic he likes.
If however, this propagandist twit Lamberts is referring to sceptics then he is on a hiding to nothing. After all the sceptics main tactic is to use facts to argue their case.


Of course, a lot of WUWT-ers twist Rod Lamberts' article to mean something quite different.  Like conspiracy theorist Chad Wozniak who says (excerpt):
March 15, 2014 at 5:32 pm
How typical of the AGW crowd – why tell the truth when lies serve your corrupt, perverse purposes better?

What Rod Lamberts is suggesting is that we don't merely quote dry scientific facts at people, we counter the deception of science deniers and show people what those facts mean for them personally and for our nations and for the world as a whole.

34 comments:

  1. "I don't know if Anthony Watts is looking to sell his website or get more advertising revenue or if he is just looking for pats on the back."

    Well if we take the hypothesis that Watt's income is highly dependent on convincing the pollutocrats that his blog influences public opinion then web rankings would be important to him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Eric is the author of the Climategate app for IOS. Another joker where ideology trumps reason.

    Need I say more!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Eric Worrall asked recently on my blog: "How do you know the climate didn't actually cool?".

    Interesting, that Watts does no allow greenhouse effect denying Dragon Slayers on his blog, but has no problem with people who think the climate is cooling.

    For the record: After mentioning the multiple lines of independent evidence for warming, Eric Worrall was no longer interested in the discussion on cooling.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The blogroll at WUWT has changed. A weird sense of humor. The category for complete idiots now reads.

    Transcendent Rant and way out there theory
    Climate Progress
    Climate Realists
    Tallbloke’s Talkshop

    ReplyDelete
  5. I read Lamberts' article the other day and thought he made a lot of sense. Being stricty dispassionate and factual is a good way to do research, but not always the best way of getting people to act on the results of the research.

    After reading the "Recursive Fury" paper recently, as well as the paper it was referring to, and the Debunking Guide over at Sceptical Science, I'm pretty convinced that the "information deficit model" is not going to be a winner when it comes to getting useful things done.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Aw shucks Sou - thanks for the publicity.

    ReplyDelete
  7. commented at the conversation and asked rod to apologise to Tim,Tim was saying that facts, such as Austalia's hottest year" "the angry summer" etc are what is needed rather than writing opinion pieces,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.facebook.com/climatecouncil

      Delete
    2. Yes, John. It's bad enough that science denier quote Tim Flannery out of context and/or misquote him altogether.

      Rod was being flamboyant, deliberately provocative and opinionated - but he could have picked something else to illustrate his point.

      Delete
    3. The first thing which occurred to me is, if the Climate Commission is ever reconstituted, Rod would like Flannery's old job.

      Delete
    4. Of course that would be the first and likely only thing to occur to you :)

      Delete
  8. We need the facts, like those reported by the Climate Council and RealClimate.org and ClimateProgress and SkepticalScience.com. We also need strongly worded opinion, as is being advocated by Rod Lamberts to counteract the three word slogans of idiots like our Prime Minister and deniers at WUWT.

    With that view, there is no chance that we will ever agree to meaningful policy. It simply is never going to happen that we will all agree on the facts. It might be fun to call each other names, but does it achieve anything positive? In fact it is destructive, and promoting such ideas as above is probably delaying the action that you declare is so urgent.

    There is the political will to promote technology development that will make "decarbondioxiding" the economy affordable, even desirable. Stop the name-calling, stop demanding that everyone have the same opinion, and it might happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely - for example, both James Hansen and Anthony Watts are fervent supporters of next generation nuclear power.

      James Hansen saying anyone opposed to nuclear power threatens humanity's ability to avert dangerous climate change:- http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists-letter/

      Anthony Watts expressing dismay at America's lack of investment in next generation Thorium technology, and his openness to the idea of teaming up with alarmists to make it happen:-
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/16/quote-of-the-week-the-middle-ground-where-agw-skeptics-and-proponents-should-meet-up/

      Does it actually matter if we agree about the details of what drives climate, if there is broad agreement about the need for more nuclear power? Alarmists get large scale decarbonisation of the economy, we get a step into the future of humanity.

      Delete
    2. Thorium is only one prospect, so too is IFR technology and nuclear fusion (eg ITER, and it's children). If history is any guide, the technology which will be the most common form of energy production in 2100, hasn't even been invented yet. The key is to recognise that current technology is not capable of affordably "decarbondioxiding" the economy, and to throw weight behind new ideas rather than old ones that have proven to be a blind alley.

      Delete
    3. "Stop the name-calling, stop demanding that everyone have the same opinion, and it might happen."

      No-one's "demanding that everyone have the same opinion" - that's a classic straw man argument.

      However...

      ...whilst everyone is entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts. Nor are people entitled to their own 'Laws of Nature' when those opined laws contradict the best evidence of science, and are used to enact harmful political, economic, environmental and social policies.

      "Does it actually matter if we agree about the details of what drives climate, if there is broad agreement about the need for more nuclear power?"

      This is a conflation of separate issues:

      1) Yes, it actually does matter what "drives climate" because if some of the forcings are anthropogenic and thus voluntary, and if those same anthropogenic forcings are "driv[ing] climate" toward a state that is not conducive to continued cohesion of society and/or global ecosystems, then the addressing of such drivers becomes a critical issue.

      2) The need for more nuclear power, and any agreement or disagreement on the matter, are not contingent on only the state of the climate. Tying the two together in this way is to oversimplify both issues and introduce fallacious confabulation.

      F-. Must try harder.

      Delete
    4. Bernard J. You are arguing that it is more important to agree that anthropogenic forcings drives climate, than it is to agree on a policy that reduces anthropogenic forcings.

      You are entitled to your opinion, but ask yourself: in what way has your argument contributed positively to the environment?

      Delete
    5. Bernard J, are you seriously arguing that replacing coal plants with nuclear power stations would have no impact on the climate? That the two issues are not linked?

      Perhaps we agree on more than I thought.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous, if we add nuclear power, we *may* reduce anthropogenic forcings, but if it is not part of the explicit goal, the reduction is likely to be much smaller than desirable if one also agrees that anthropogenic forcings need to be reduced significantly. If not part of the goal, nuclear power just becomes an addition to the energy resources, rather than a replacement.

      Delete
    7. No, Eric, that's nothing like what Bernard J wrote. You're not even close.

      Try this before you post another silly comment:

      http://www.canberra.edu.au/studyskills/learning/critical

      Delete
    8. "Bernard J. You are arguing that it is more important to agree that anthropogenic forcings drives climate, than it is to agree on a policy that reduces anthropogenic forcings."

      No, I am not.

      "Bernard J, are you seriously arguing that replacing coal plants with nuclear power stations would have no impact on the climate?"

      No, I am not.

      Better logical fallacies please.

      Delete
    9. Bernard, suggesting that conflating nuclear and environment is inappropriate seems a bit lame, considering that James Hansen, former director of NASA GISS, did this when he published an open letter last year, along with Tom Wigley of UCAR and Kerry Emanuel of MIT, demanding just such a conflation.

      Perhaps they should take a course on basic critical learning skills as well?

      http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/03/world/nuclear-energy-climate-change-scientists-letter/

      Delete
    10. No, Eric. Just you need to learn basic comprehension. Both Bernard and Marco have explained why.

      Delete
    11. Sou, Bernard suggested that nuclear power and emissions reduction should be treated as separate issues.

      "... The need for more nuclear power, and any agreement or disagreement on the matter, are not contingent on only the state of the climate. ..."

      The link to James Hansen's open letter I provided suggests that opposition to nuclear power is endangering the future of the planetary environment, that nuclear power is the only credible means of substantially reducing CO2 emissions. So it seems pretty clear to me that James Hansen thinks conflating the issue of CO2 emissions with the issue of whether to go nuclear is appropriate.

      So suggesting I should learn basic comprehension for conflating the issues is to also suggest that James Hansen needs the same lesson.

      Delete
    12. Eric I have neither the time nor the inclination to try to teach you reason and logic or critical thinking. (From past experience at WTD the task would be a fruitless one.)

      However if other people were to read the above comments in order, including the comments by Bernard J and Marco, then read your third paragraph they will easily see where your chain of reasoning goes awry in your fourth paragraph.

      End of discussion.

      Delete
    13. Hnn.

      Eric Worrall, with your comprehension disability it's easy to see why you're in thrall to the pseudoscience of denialism.

      I'm staggered that you can't see the difference between what I said, and what you said I said.

      You make James Delingpole look like an amateur...

      Delete
  9. Oh dear, the lame old "Are you arguing ...?" ploy. When someone doesn't say what you want them to say, pretend they did. OK for the schoolyard, but pathetic coming from an adult.

    Of course there are issues around nuclear power that have nothing to do with climate change; they existed before climate change itself was an issue. I'm no expert in the matter, but I know one big thing : nobody ever got rich by investing in it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Moderation's on, I see. Quelle surprise. Look, Eric's being repressed! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww. Feeling a bit beseiged are you? Never mind.

      HW *is* making a difference. How many Russian steampipes have you seen lately? How many insects causing global warming have you seen? How many airports have caught UHI disease? How many "ice age comething" articles have there been in the last couple of months? We haven't even heard from Kenji lately. And many of these favourites seem to have fallen by the way.

      And how many pure personal attacks on climate scientists? They haven't disappeared completely but they aren't nearly as frequent as they used to be.

      Heck, we've even got Anthony turning on his allies in an apparent effort to appear to be "sciency".

      Of course there is still plenty to mock. I mean Anthony is now giving the interpreter of interpreters a voice now that he's lost his own. And he's still coming up with his own brand of wacky "brainwaves".

      Besides all that, it amuses some of the climate scientists to see someone ridiculing all you wackos. It's worth it just for that!

      Delete
    2. I actually think that Anthony Watts is laying the ground for something of an about turn. That Josh cartoon last week firmly puts Watts as a believer in anthropogenic global warming and I didn't see him say he wasn't. The evidence is stacking up against him. The posts on his site are dissected here and elsewhere and shown up for what they are - deluded drivel. It will only take a decent El Nino for climate denialists to have a bit of a problem defending their positions. Anything like 1998 and they can all dribble away in a cave together because no one will believe them. I can see David Rose in the Daily Mail saying "Fair cop, gov, I was wrong". The fact that Anthony is disparaging about Sou suggests her posts wound him (and I use wound in its old meaning).

      Delete
    3. When I say the evidence is stacking up against him, I mean that the positions his site takes. If he believes what Josh says he believes then he is mighty inconsistent.

      Delete
  12. Here is an idea for your next app Eric. How about a searchable database of all the misquotes and misrepresentations of Flannery and Gore. Call it the denier automated logical fallacy generator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete

Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL or OpenID. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.