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Friday, July 4, 2014

Las Vegas Denier Fest: Awards for best con artists, denial propagandists and plodders for hire

Sou | 2:08 AM Go to the first of 51 comments. Add a comment

I've read that this is the list of the science deniers who are getting bravery awards being patronised by the Heartland Institute at an upcoming denier festival in Las Vegas.

The awards are for mostly well-paid work, which involves pretending to be extremely stupid at best and/or deliberately conning the gullible about climate change. It's the equivalent of the Academy Awards I guess, where deniers pat each other on the back and put their hands up for more speaker engagements at denier festivals. Like the Academy Awards, it focuses on a person's ability to present fiction to the hoi polloi rather than, say, scientific documentaries. It involves a fair amount of acting and there are separate categories.

One category is script-writing. One or two of this motley lot run a blog and a couple even manage to write the occasional paper or popular science-denying book. They have even been known to get published in the scientific literature. Well not in the best journals. Nor usually in mediocre journals. But deniers can't be choosers. Often they have to resort to vanity publications.

Another category is best comedian/make-up artist - you can guess who won that award.

Another is best pseudo-religious characterisation. That award was shared this year.

The Heartland Institute also awarded some prizes for trying, to dull plodders in their dotage.

Here are the people being paraded by the Heartland Institute, probably hoping to attract more funds from individual deniers who have more money than sense, and to faceless corporations with an agenda:



Not all of the above have graced these pages yet. If they ever let women into denier festivals, maybe Judith Curry will get a guernsey when she's old enough.  She's been doing her bit for the denier cause these past few years.

51 comments:

corey said...

Art Robinson hasn't been very vocal re: AGW denial of late, though his mass mail solicitation of urine samples from southern Oregonians (including my household) had received some attention. The fact that he's running for Congress in November likely influenced his 'nomination' at Heartland '14.

dhogaza said...

He's running against De Fazio again? Hadn't realized it. It's only because the Republicans won't bother to run a serious candidate against the very popular incumbent.

I do like his campaign slogan, though:

"Send an outstanding scientist to Congress, not a career politician".

Too bad he's not an outstanding scientist but rather an ideologist willing to turn his back on science.

corey said...

Agreed.

"Send a perennial candidate to Congress" would be a more accurate plea.

Victor Venema said...

Why isn't Anthony Watts on that list? He puts his reputation on the line 5 times a day. And he is a man, thus he should be eligible. Unthankful Heartland bunch.

corey said...

I believe Anthony is reffing the opening match at the conference, featuring "Rocket Man" David Evans (accompanied by his valet, the lovely Nova) and Chris "Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da" Monckton versus ""What'chu Talkin' 'bout?" Willis Eschenbach and "Turning a New Leif?" Svensmark.

And that's enough of that.

Sou said...

Anthony's the right ideology and can spin lies along with the rest of them, but he doesn't have the social status and never will. He'd be regarded as a bit "common". The equivalent of a flashy used car salesman who you might have a beer with if you needed a favour but you'd never invite him to your home (or if you did you'd never admit it to anyone).

The potty peer being on the list is enough to discredit the entire list, even if you knew nothing about any of the others. He's barking mad. And today Anthony decided to play the part of the devoted serf and throw in his lot with the potty peer, at the expense of Wondering Willis Eschenbach and Leif Svalgaard. (Telling lies about William Connolley in the process.)

Anthony will never attain respectability - not in the ridiculous circles he aspires to for recognition (right wing power-brokers), not by anyone who values science and not by any person who has self-respect, regardless of their ideology. He's useful to the disinformation lobbyists, and that's about it.

corey said...

"Svalgaard". Oh well.

Victor Venema said...

It can't be the science. With his surface stations project Watts has much more scientific prestige as Monckton (and Moore(?)) and he is author of a decent scientific article.

Maybe he is too common for these people. That would be a reason for Anthony Watts to switch to the science side. We do not care where you come from as long as you do good work. (Okay, your background does help your career some, unfortunately, but not that much.)

I am curious about Watts' screen-paint project. That could make another interesting paper. (It might go in a politically inconvenient direction, given that he never gave it much attention after the start. If he would switch to the science side, this work would be appreciated irrespective of the outcome.)

corey said...

Anthony is, in fact, a speaker on two of the panels at the conference:

http://climateconference.heartland.org/schedule/

Sou said...

Victor, I don't think Anthony has the wit to do science. He comes up with a result he wants and he can come up with ideas of how to get the job done. He has organisational skills, so he can get other people organised to do the grunt work. But he's never demonstrated he has the brainpower required for research. He doesn't even understand really simple stuff. He organises the brainpower as well - like with John N-G the last time.

Anthony only rarely writes his own blog articles and when he does they are usually quite ridiculous. Which is why he relies on press releases and "guest bloggers".

Roy Spencer might have wacky ideas but he is a professor. Idso has a doctorate too, doesn't he? As does Willie Soon. That's enough to give them status. Anthony doesn't have any of that. He's a blogger and announces weather at the local radio station. It doesn't rate alongside academics, or people like Marc Morano, who's worked in politics. I have no idea how Tom Harris got in there. He seems to be the odd one out. All the others have some sort of recognisable status - academic or a member of the British peerage.

And Then There's Physics said...

Well, they get something right. They've got Delingpole down as Entertainment.

Victor Venema said...

I am not so sure. If I had to put out 5 posts a day and I could not use the scientific literature to determine what is credible, I am not sure whether I would do a better job than Watts.

Organization (and PR) is part of doing science. The surface stations and the paint were good ideas. Finding good questions is a large part of doing science. I am not saying he would be a good scientist without his political blinders, you have to do it to know that, but it is not impossible.

Did Moore do more than joint an organization (in an early phase) he hated ?

Victor Venema said...

This blog needs a like button. :)

Sou said...

We'll agree to disagree about Anthony Watts. I've not seen anything to suggest he can do anything more than organise people to do his work for him. That's a skill in it's own right but it's not sufficient to make him a scientist.

There are excellent science bloggers around who understand what they write about. Anthony is a feed - that's all he can do. He's good at controversy, he knows that's what sells. He's a showman not a scientist. He doesn't understand 1/10th of what he posts on his blog. He barely writes anything himself.

I do agree that asking the right questions is a mark of a good scientist. So is being willing to accept what the evidence shows. Anthony has asked two "right questions" going by what you've said. But he's not willing to accept what the evidence shows. Nor has he given any indication that he understands the subject matter relating to the questions he's asking.

Victor Venema said...

Currently he cannot accept what the evidence shows, then he would have a science blog that does not fit to his political views and a lot less people would read it. His number of readers are very important to him.

Are the blogs of Spence and Curry so much better? The were able to do science when they wanted to. And they have a lot more time to think about what they write and still produce [mod, snipped].

So yes, we probably have to agree to disagree.

By the way, there is no need anymore to use archives to link to WUWT. There are no independent counters on WUWT anymore. Thus Watts can create/claim any number of readers/pageviews he would like. So you could simply use rel="nofollow" for the links.

dhogaza said...

Victor:

"The surface stations and the paint were good ideas".

But the surface stations project wasn't Anthony's, it was RPSr's. Anthony offered to organize the effort, that is all.

And what respectable paper are you suggesting Watts wrote? His name is on two as co-author do to the use of the data gathered by the surface station project, but if you're imagining he wrote either, I think you'll find you're mistaken.

His "bombshell" paper from two years ago, supposedly showing that NA warming is 1/2 that stated by GISTemp, has not been published, and was deeply flawed, ignoring TOBS shifts. Evan Jones actually did the work on that (and is still working on it, insisting it will be published "soon").

SPM said...

Poor Anthony, he must be upset at not getting a gong for rescuing the Akademik Shokalskiy.

SPM said...

"They've got Delingpole down as Entertainment."

Sounds like the poor man's version of Britain's Got Talent.

Don Brooks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don Brooks said...

Victor, re "there is no need anymore to use archives to link to WUWT." It's best not to visit WUWT directly as this exposes your IP address to Watts and his staff. It may not matter to you or me, but for those trying to maintain anonymity it's a bad idea.

John Mashey said...

Victor: file sometimes get edited retroactively or disappear,a nd soemtimes it matters:
In August 2010 several key files suddenly disappeared in Wegman case, and another was edited to remove any record of Yasmin Said's seminar that she neve should have given, much less left up on a website.
For legal issues, the chain of custody is pristine, stronger than a screenshot or even a file copy. Not that I know anything, but there are some libel cases running where I suspect some lawyers' helpers have been archiving away.


Make a bookmark (called WbCit for example), whose "location" is:
javascript:void(location.href='http://www.webcitation.org/archive?url='+encodeURIComponent(document.location)+'&email=YOUREMAIL')

If you make it a favorite, near front of list, it's always on-screeen

If you are looking at a page you want to archive, just click on that bookmarklet, await the result screen, check that it was archived successfully, Then clock Back arrow.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Very poor man's.

Sou said...

Victor, are you arguing that Anthony runs a popular blog, or that he has the makings of a scientist? They are quite different things. I don't dispute the former but I maintain that he's not a scientist because he isn't capable of being one.

"Are the blogs of Spence and Curry so much better? The were able to do science when they wanted to. And they have a lot more time to think about what they write and still produce [mod, snipped]"

Their blogs are pretty dreadful. Of the two, Roy Spencer's is more science-based AFAIK. I don't go there often so could be wrong.

Phil Plait is a science blogger and writer. Carl Zimmer is a science writer. Ed Jong is a science writer. The people at realclimate are scientists who blog and write about science.

Anthony is a blogger who feeds articles written by other people and provides an outlet for science deniers to vent their frustrations and protests denying our changing climate. It fills a human need.

All the three blogs you mention are more or less popular among deniers. Judith allows science types to comment, so does Roy I think. I don't know, not being a regular reader. That makes them different to Anthony's. He bans science types, or deletes their comments when he gets tired of dealing with science. That makes WUWT the most denier friendly. That plus the fact that it doesn't give any illusion of being academic or intellectual. It's a blog where uneducated, very ignorant people are made more than welcome. Anyone can write a comment provided it's not based in science. Most comments don't get criticised. They don't even get acknowledged by anyone else. It's like a public notice board where individuals write a comment on a post-it note and tack it to a wall, each comment being quite independent of every other comment. (There are threads where a discussion grows, but that's what most of them are like.)

There aren't many places deniers can cluster and where they can vent their spleen without anyone disagreeing with them. It's important to them to feel as if they are among others of their kind. Something they rarely find in the real world. Most people need to mix with others like themselves from time to time (that's why ex-pats have get-togethers). Other conspiracy websites are similar - those that blog about conspiracies that aren't related to climate science.

That has nothing to do with science. (Okay, maybe psychology). And you don't need to understand what you blog, especially when all your doing is copying and pasting the work of other people like Anthony Watts does. All you need to do is recognise that the topic is vaguely related to climate science or climate bloggers. You don't need to figure it out any further than that.

Dhogaza is correct as I recall. Anthony did attribute the original idea to Roy Spencer IIRC. (Someone did the same thing with solar panels, photographing all those in installed in bad shade. Another person did something not dissimilar but it was more methodical, setting up a website where people record their daily solar input, lat/long and orientation and any shading. Very, very useful to people about to install solar panels. A live crowd-sourced experiment, if you like. It became popular immediately and is still thriving AFAIK.)

Anonymous said...

Apart from their psychopathic tendencies deniers suffer from narcissism. They are the only ones that have the 'truth' and all government agencies should show them respect with an immediate response to their every outburst. Sounds like very immature children who know very little to me.
As a burnt out old Physicist I am just as entitled to make stuff up about deniers with pseudo psychology as they are about complex climate science with no knowledge whatsoever.
I will not even mention their totally irrational projection. OOPs I did. Bert

Phil Clarke said...

"Dhogaza is correct as I recall. Anthony did attribute the original idea to Roy Spencer IIRC. "

Roger Pielke Snr. Eli Rabbett has written quite a bit about the Svengali-like relationship. Pielke wrote a few half-decent papers on micro site bias, and described Watts' efforts as 'game-changing'.

The game remains unchanged.

Sou said...

Thanks, Phil. You're right. So was Dhogaza. I got them mixed up.

Nick said...

Have some respect : "send another crackpot to Congress" is more accurate again.

Phil Clarke said...

No no no, you're not meant to thank me and admit your mix up, you're meant to instruct your solictors to sue me for defamation .... ;-)

Appears his Lordship treats the accusation the faked a chart as defamatory. Such might be the case if he did not have a reputation for playing fast and loose with graphical representations. But he does.

http://hot-topic.co.nz/monckton-the-case-of-the-missing-curry/

(Too many examples to choose from).

numerobis said...

Don't discount organizational ability. Watts couldn't be the PI, but he could maybe run things.

Authorship on papers tends to be granted to everyone who worked on a result, not just those who wrote the words. This is appropriate IMO, as writing generally takes less time than doing. Exception: lab techs in biology often do the bulk of the work, but get no respect.

Victor Venema said...

That is right, if I blog about something, I always made an archive, even if I do not always link to it. Just to have independent proof that claims were made.

Millicent said...

He does a very good comedy routine with Sir Paul Nurse. It's the Interpreter of Interpreters sketch. I believe it is almost as famous as Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch.

dhogaza said...

Watts began, in a sense, RPSr's pet. Not only was the surface stations project RPSr's idea, but apparently before that Watts's blog was more true to its supposed mission (i.e. blogs about "puzzling" and interesting things about a variety of vaguely sciency and techie things, not devoted to climate change denialism). I look at Watts being named as one of a couple of dozen authors on a minor paper RPSr's got his name on as being due to RPSr's trying to legitimatize his pet. Etc etc.

Catmando said...

Millicent, I love that line of Cleese's where he goes "If it hadn't been adding four atomic bombs of energy per second, it would be flat lining like a Norwegian Blue"

Then Palin goes "It paused" and Cleese replies "No it didn't, you didn't hit it with that hockey stick."

Ah, those were the days.

Millicent said...

LOL

Lionel A said...

Some bod professing to be The Heartland Institute dropped into the comment thread below this article at Climate Progress, Physicist Offers $10,000 To Anyone Who Can Disprove Climate Change and left this message:

"Heartland Institute
Think Progress lies so often about The Heartland Institute that we don’t generally bothering responding (or reading) these diatribes, but for the record: (a) Heartland is not "using $10,000 to entice content" for the special advertising insert of The Washington Times promoting our 9th International Confernce on Climate Change; The Washington Times is publishing the special section and, naturally, selling ads for it; and (b) the “Koch brothers” are not “key contributors” to The Heartland Institute. Too bad none of the left’s pet climate alarmists accepted our invitations to come and defend their beliefs at this conference. What a surprise."

Think Progress lies about The Heartland Institute. TP don't need to bother for Heartland do it to themselves and if that message was from Heartland it illustrates that only too well.

I note that Tom Harris showed up under another article at CP about the same time so I wonder if he decided to arrive incognito this time. I'll try find it if anybody is interested but the comments threads are a bit of a zoo although there are many sane people over there many really ignorant ideologues provide much stuff to shovel.

Flakmeister said...

"Burnt out physicist"....

Now that is something I can relate to... ;-)

Cugel said...

Had the surface stations project been scientific it would have defined not only the data to be gathered but the way in which it would be analysed and what could be inferred from that analysis. In fact the method of analysis was, and remain, undefined as Watts's oppo continues to search for some analytic method which gives the right answer while retaining more than a dozen or so weather stations. A hopeless task, as BEST has demonstrated. And, of course, that really was a scentific project.

Those of us who recall the surface stations project launch will remember that all the celebration of what the data would show took place right then, before any actual data had been collected. The truth would be revealed and the truth was already known.

Phil Clarke said...

If I may once again highjack this thread to preserve a post I made at WUWT in case it get disappeared...

Lord Monckton's mendacity generally takes these forms:

1. Cherry-picking studies and data that support his case, while misrepresenting or ignoring contrary evidence.

2. Getting the science wrong and repeating the erroneous science even after it has been shown to be so, often at a louder volume. Nothing wrong with making errors, but Monckton's response when his are pointed out generally consists of a bluster-filled but vacuous rebuttal, perhaps with a bullying threat of legal action - almost never followed through - while he carries on with the same false claims at a higher volume.

3. Misrepresenting science and scientists. One frequently follows one of his references given to support a point to find the science and usually the scientists says something else altogether.

4. Mis-stating or overstating the facts.


Examples of (1)

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/05/moncktons-deliberate-manipulation/
http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/moncktons-artful-graph/

At this very website, (where siting and equipment issues are highlighted, hah) Monckton uses the Central England Temperature series to try to indicate a (cherry-picked) period starting from before the mercury-in-glass thermometer was even invented had a faster rising temperature than recent decades, even after I've pointed out that the data points were rounded to the nearest 0.5C, making such a calculation meaningless.

Examples of 2 would be Monckton's paper published on the APS website, (which he falsely claimed was a peer-reviewed article, which annoyed the physicists) the 125 errors of fact were documented here:

http://www.altenergyaction.org/Monckton.html

Or the response of a group of climate scientists to Monckton's testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Monckton-response.pdf

Or the 'rap sheet' compiled by Barry Bickermore

http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/lord-moncktons-rap-sheet/

Or Skeptical Science's 'Monckton Myths'

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Monckton_Myths_arg.htm

Phil Clarke said...

Examples of (3) are collated here http://www.skepticalscience.com/docs/Monckton_vs_Scientists.pdf

For example, Monckton frequently cited the work on atmospheric radiation of Dr Rachel Pinker (amusingly getting the scientist's gender wrong).

Monkton: "What, then, caused the third period of warming? Most of that third and most recent period of rapid warming fell within the satellite era, and the satellites confirmed measurements from ground stations showing a considerable, and naturally-occurring, global brightening from 1983-2001 (Pinker et al., 2005)."

Dr Pinker responded "This statement in effect equates temperature change with surface solar radiation change which, as noted in points 2 and 3 above, is only one input into a complex climate process. Also, it is not necessarily the case that global brightening is naturally-occurring; it can be caused by anthropogenic aerosols or changes in the atmospheric moisture content as well as clouds, possibly affected by increasing CO2 levels."

In the Telegraph piece that carried the controversial graphs, Monckton wrote:

"Sami Solanki, a solar physicist, says that in the past half-century the sun has been warmer, for longer, than at any time in at least the past 11,400 years, contributing a base forcing equivalent to a quarter of the past century's warming. That's before adding climate feedbacks."

But oddly omitted Solanki's complete scientific opinion: "I am not a denier of global warming produced by an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases. Already at present the overwhelming source of global warming is due to manmade greenhouse gases and their influence will continue to grow in the future as their concentration increases"

http://www2.mps.mpg.de/homes/solanki/

Examples of 4 would be a fabrication to sell merchandise:

A SCOTTISH aristocrat who claimed he was forced to sell his ancestral pile after losing a fortune on a $1 million puzzle has admitted that he invented the story to boost sales.

www.scotsman.com/news/scotland/top-stories/aristocrat-admits-tale-of-lost-home-was-stunt-to-boost-puzzle-sales-1-679237

Lying about his words at the gate-crashed Copenhagen conference...

"It was not I who called them Hitler Youth. It was three Germans and a Dane in the audience"

Not according to the video, sir 1.26. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZw8yF5alkM

Or recently here, claiming he 'won' the UK High Court case against the distribution of Nobel prize winner Al Gore's OScar-winning documentary to UK schools. The case was an attempt by Stewart Dimmock, a school governor, to get a Court order for the film to be banned, so the only reasonable interpretation of 'winning' would be if such an order was made. The Judge decided not to make any such order and in fact described the film as 'substantially founded upon scientific research and fact' and ruled that 'Al Gore's presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate'. The film is thus ruled fit and remains available for educational use, with some changes to the Teachers notes detailing differences between the films interpretation and mainstream scientific opinion.

Dimmock was ordered to pay a third of his costs, about £60K. If that is a 'win', what does losing look like?

Then there is his development of a wonder-drug, which will cure anything from AIDS to the common cold .....


That's just a few examples of His Lordship failing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Follow the links to discover many, many many more.

Will you have the courage to post this, or will it disappear like my previous completely polite and completely factual corrections to His Lordship's wrong assertions?

Catmando said...

I've been following that and can't see your comment. Not that any of them will be believed. If they won't accept the ruling of the Clerk of Parliaments that Monckton isn't a member of the House Of Lords and play a weird linguistic game of making up their own meanings for words that are as clear as day, they won't accept what you, I or any other person believes based on evidence. They seem keener to accept the word of the mendacious Monckton.

Jan P Perlwitz said...

Bert wrote:
"As a burnt out old Physicist ..."

How did that happen? Did one of your experiments go wrong?

Catmando said...

Anders wrote "They've got Delingpole down as Entertainment."

He didn't have any jokes of his own but he did interpret the jokes of others.

Phil Clarke said...

I doubt it will be published, I've added corrections to Monckton's last two 'updates' on the pause, poiting out that CET is unreliable before about 1730, and that his claim that the highest trend of more than ten years duration is +2.0C/centrury is wrong, the 15 years to 2006 had a trend of about +2.7C/century - about twice the model projection (indicating that the 'pause' may be no more than a regression to the long term trend).

Both comments never appeared, maybe because I made some uncomfortable but truthful comments about Watts honesty and integrity here. I can only guess.

Anyow, I recalled this example of Monckton's reliability.

SPPI (almost certainly His Lordship)

"Mathematical proof that there is no “climate crisis” appears today in a major, peer-reviewed paper in Physics and Society, a learned journal of the 46,000-strong American
Physical Society,"

New Scientist

"I spoke to Al Saperstein of Wayne State University in Michigan, one of two co-editors of Physics & Society, the offending newsletter. He stressed that that the article was not sent to anyone for peer-reviewing. Saperstein himself edited it. "I'm a little ticked off that some people have claimed that this was peer-reviewed," he said. "It was not."

Saperstein was the guy the peer said peer-reviewed the peer's paper, which paper was, it goes without saying, peerless nonsense.

http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2008/07/now-will-you-publish-my-paper-showing.html

Lionel A said...

"When I use a chart, it means just what I choose it to mean - nothing more nor less"

Christopher Monckton in a Humpty Dumpty suit (Apologies Lewis Carroll with 'Through the looking Glass"):


The Lord Monckton Foundation Charter.


GWPF Mk II

Catmando said...

From the LMF charter

"With the British Empire, governance became truly global for the first time."

Ever so slightly arguable. Not even sure the British governed France or Germany, let alone the whole world.

FrankD said...

The British Empire was like the Medieval Warming Period - neither global nor synchronous...

Anonymous said...

I spent forty years working on elucidating the 3D atomic structures of large medically important active proteins with Electron Microscopy and X-ray Diffraction. I have been retired for ten years and I am quite aware that I know very little outside my field at any real depth or breadth. In that sense I am burnt out as I have had to learn a great deal about climate science and still do not understand a very large fraction of what is known by the experts. In fact I would have totally lost relevance in my own field by now, by not keeping up with the literature. I can only laugh at even 'educated' deniers who can 'prove' that climate science is 'wrong' with data and methods that would not pass in a high school project, let alone a first year science subject. Bert

Phil Clarke said...

Looks like the censorship curtain has dropped again, my last two contributions to the thread have not appeared .. on the plus side, Smokey is in meltdown ...4 posts in 10 minutes, all projecting his debating crimes onto his opponents

Every alarmist prediction has turned out wrong. All of them. When a group makes numerous predictions, and they ALL turn out wrong, rational people will disregard their swivel-eyed nonsense. That is the position you religious True Believers have put yourself in. No wonder you fall back on ad hominem attacks. Because you sure don’t have any credible science.

Sou said...

Smokey's determined to reject global warming. He also rejects the greenhouse effect, though as a sop to Anthony he occasionally concedes an "even if there were..." type statement.

I don't know which predictions he thinks have turned out "wrong". He might be getting confused by these alarmist predictions from science deniers.

The main prediction of greenhouse warming is that the world will warm as we add greenhouse gases. And it has and it is.

Phil Clarke said...

Indeed, on any other 'science' site, smokey, who wears his ignorance as a badge of honour would be an embarrasssment. At WUWT they put him on the staff ....

I have a teenage son, and even at his most intractable he is more open to reason than Denier Dave.

Greg said...

"I wonder if [Tom Harris] decided to arrive incognito this time."

That certainly fits his MO. It's worth pointing out that his status amongst the deniers is due to a) being Canada's most prominent denier*, and b) looking good in a suit. Well, the beard helps too. In reality, he's a guy with a website and a reference from Heartland.

*Tim Ball used to hold that title, but as his pronouncements have become more cranky and delusional even rural hotel restaurants full of retired farmers don't want to hear from him.