.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Matt Ridley spins Lysenko conspiracy theories and more in a classic denial of science

Sou | 3:55 AM Go to the first of 56 comments. Add a comment
Was it Pope Francis who pushed deniers over the edge? Is it the climate negotiations taking place this year? Matt Ridley, a science denier from the UK who claims to be a "lukewarmer", has written a Gish gallop worthy of Tim Ball. It's as if he collected up all the worst WUWT conspiracy theories and rolled them into Quadrant.

Quadrant is a right wing outlet for the extremists. It publishes dumb articles from deniers fairly often. Today Matt Ridley, a denier turned defamer has written an article (archived here). Anthony Watts has published bits of it on his blog, too (archived here).


Matt Ridley's Lysenkoism conspiracy theory


Matt lurched from one conspiracy theory to another. To illustrate how far he's gone he starts out with the Lysenko conspiracy theory that deniers call upon when they run out of ideas. The conspiracy goes something like this. Trofim Denisovich Lysenko was an agricultural official who rose to prominence under Joseph Stalin. He denied genetic inheritance in plants (as described by Gregor Mendel in his famous experiments with peas in the 1800s). He even managed to outlaw research in genetics. It set plant breeding back a lot in the Soviet Union. Well, the climate conspiracy theorists claim that Lysenkoism is alive and well throughout the entire world, and has been for the past couple of hundred years. I've never seen anyone name a person who is supposedly filling the role of Lysenko and banning climate science research of any kind. Nor have I ever seen anyone say just what aspect of climate science is forbidden.

I wonder if Matt will be calling upon Hitler and Osama bin Laden next (like Tim Ball has done)?


Matt Ridley's conspiracy theories come from AboveTopSecret!


Matt also claims (wrongly) that dietary saturated fats have no impact on heart disease. He's wrong. They do. Did he get his notion from science? Nope. Despite claiming to be a "science writer" Matt says he got his notion from some diet fad book (see here and here and here), not from any science. It's one of those conspiracy theories (aka guvmint suppressed research) that you'll see on conspiracy theory websites like abovetopsecret.com, along with anti-vaxxers still claiming that vaccinations cause autism. I've had a denier here pushing the same line.


Matt claims that politicians want global warming


The idea that any politician would want to deal with the bigger than big problem of global warming is completely nuts. Matt, like many of his fellow conspiracy theorists, is deluded when he makes that suggestion. No politician that I'm aware of, of any flavour, wants to have to deal with climate change. They are very reluctantly being forced to do so by climate change itself.

If that isn't enough to make you question what has pushed a politician like Matt Ridley over the edge, read on.


Matt tries to disprove what he's already claimed


As you know, conspiracy theorists have the ability to harbour contradictory notions at the same time, without blinking. Matt is a good example of that. He acknowledges that most published climate science points to global warming being caused by us (his default position, since he claims that there's no money to research "alternative theories".) Yet in the same article, he rejects research showing that this is indeed the case. He claims that the disgraced Richard Tol "demolished" Cook13, one of several papers (and by far the most comprehensive) demonstrating 97% of published science on the subject shows this. If you want to see how wrong Richard Tol's weird outbursts on the subject are, go no further than HotWhopper - see here and here and here and here and here.


Conspiracy theorising Matt Ridley tells fibs about conspiracy studies


Ironically, despite his own rampant conspiracy theorising, Matt wrongly claims that studies led by Professor Lewandowsky, linking climate science denial and conspiracy ideation are wrong. Matt got that wrong, too. He may not know quite how wrong he got it (and will probably not admit it. He'd claim it was a conspiracy.) Matt isn't a sceptic. He uses the old denier trick. Find a denier who makes a false claim. They are all over the internet and sometimes even make it into published literature. It's enough for Matt to find some denier who'll make some claim that he can wave about as "proof". I won't be surprised when he joins the flat earth society, citing the flat earthers as evidence that the earth is really flat.


Matt's fake "experts"


One thing you'll learn in denier 101 is to call on fake experts. The previous paragraph is a good example. Matt cited a denier duo who are not cognitive scientists as "experts", proving the science wrong. They didn't.

He does it again claiming, quite ludicrously, that Jim Steele is a "distinguished ecologist". Yes, that Jim Steele who couldn't lie straight in bed. The same Jim Steele who as far as I know has never published a peer-reviewed paper in his life. The same Jim Steele who didn't even get the data for the study he supposedly trashed, a paper by Camille Parmesan. Even Matt admits Jim didn't get any data. So how he can claim Jim refuted a published paper I don't know. It goes along with the odd facility that deniers have of holding two contradictory thoughts in their head at the same time. (For the background on this read this HotWhopper article, in which Camille Parmesan's husband provides some insight into the unsavoury behaviour of Jim Steele. Or read this article where Jim Steele comes to HotWhopper and denies saying what he said - in black and white.)

Matt litters his article with other fake experts such as Ian "iron sun" Plimer, Donna "dustbin" Laframboise, Jennifer Marohasy with her Rutherglen blunder, and probably more. It's as if he's spent the last few weeks scouring denier blogs to come up with a list of the wrongest nonsense deniers have claimed and tossed them into his Gish gallop.


Matt Ridley slurs world leading scientists


Another tactic often used by science deniers is to attack the credibility of scientists. The ridiculous thing about how Matt Ridley goes about this is that he claims that because scientists are successful and reach the pinnacle of their profession, that "something must be wrong". ("Something must be wrong" is one of the hallmarks of conspiracy ideation, described in Recursive Fury.) Matt lists what he reckons is the amount of research funding and scientific awards that Dr James Hansen and Dr Michael Oppenheimer attracted over the years, and instead of concluding, as any reasonable person would, that they must be very good scientists, he implies that their work must be suspect.


Matt Ridley's logical fallacy - the strawman


He goes even further than that. He claims that because scientific evidence shows that we must mitigate global warming, that an organisation that studies or advocates for mitigation "must be wrong". His argument is that they wouldn't be likely to change their tune if evidence showed otherwise. That's completely nuts! He provides no evidence that the science is wrong, his whole argument is a smokescreen. A strawman.


It's not fair


At one point Matt complains about how Roger Pielke Jr was sacked from Nate Silver's blog for writing a ludicrously wrong article. He didn't like it that Rob Honeycutt pointed to evidence from Munich Re, which showed that Roger's article was wrong. Matt prefers wrong to right. I think he's probably just miffed that the 30 plus protests from WUWT about Marcott13 and the umpteen plus protests at the new NOAA paper haven't resulted in any withdrawal. He was quite happy that empty threats of litigation from conspiracy theorists led to the withdrawal of a sound and solid piece of research on the evolution of conspiracy theories though. Just another example of the double standards of deniers.


Matt Ridley's warped double standards


Matt Ridley is quite okay with a denier lobby group, the IPA, paying deniers (or promising payment) to write a denier manifesto. He wrote a chapter himself in the IPA's change the facts book. However he draws the line at a scientist like the renowned Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg preparing an environmental report with a grant from the World Wildlife Fund.


Matt claims to be a "science writer", yet he spends his time writing about his conspiracy theories and denial of science. He bases his article on diet fad books and other fiction, and dubious claims here and there in the deniosphere, not on science. What sort of science writer is that?


From the WUWT comments


Anthony Watts posted bits and pieces of Matt's conspiracy nuttery at WUWT. A fitting place for it. Here are some of the "thoughts" that followed, mostly from fake sceptics who took what Matt fed them without question, and gobbled it up as if they were starved for science denial:


John W. Garrett is delighted to have so many conspiratorial denier memes, plus lots of slurs on scientists, all in the one article:
June 19, 2015 at 5:53 am
Fantastic.
This should be required reading for anybody eligible to vote (be it in the U.S., the EU or anywhere else).

Duster elaborates his conspiracy theory that scientists somehow manage to produce unpalatable results that he weirdly thinks government wants. He can't conceive that Francis Bacon was right (if it was Francis Bacon - I didn't check).
June 19, 2015 at 9:38 am
If you have read Francis Bacon’s New Organon then you realize that the linkage between modern scientific research and governmental support was one of the ideals that Bacon thought would “free” science from these very same problems. At the time he wrote, the 600-lb gorillas in the ring were the Church(es): COE, Catholic, various protestant flavors, depending upon where a scientist was conducting work. The threats were very real with some important names in science being executed for “heretical” opinions they refused to relinquish at the instruction of the Powers-That-Be. Bacon had hoped that an enlightened government would support a search for the “truth.”
He failed to imagine that politicians would set policy based upon opinion rather than informed opinion and worse, that scientists could be so venal as to offer opinion based on monetary reward rather than a desire to reveal truth. In short, he never imagined that science, politicians and government agencies could easily be as bad or worse than the scholasticism he detested.

Joe's comment could have been plucked from Robert Altemeyer's The Authoritarians:
June 19, 2015 at 6:04 am
“The big difference is that these scientists who insist that we take their word for it, and who get cross if we don’t, are also asking us to make huge, expensive and risky changes to the world economy and to people’s livelihoods. They want us to spend a fortune getting emissions down as soon as possible.”
No, they are the bought tools of a corrupt and evil political class that wants to reserve the benefits of technology solely to themselves – and the rest can just die. 

cnxtim enjoys a good yarn, the more it distorts reality the better it fits with that of cnxtim's:
June 19, 2015 at 6:10 am
This excellent and well researched document places the blame for the pseudo science of AGW exactly where it belongs in the realm of fantasy. With keyword highlighting, it provides a source document to refute the warmists at every twist and turn of their balderdash. Thanks so much.

In a display of the double standards of deniers, John Catley thinks it not fair that Matt Ridley should be castigated for making vicious personal attacks on scientists:
June 19, 2015 at 6:30 am
What exactly do you think can be done to increase exposure of the failings in climate science?
If you read the whole article, Matt makes it clear how much the truth is suppressed by vocal bloggers and complacent media.
Matt regularly writes in high profile publications and is rewarded with vicious personal attacks as a result.
I see little more he, or anyone else here, can do other than what we are doing.
If you have any ideas, this is the place to discuss them.

TonyG provides some anecdotal evidence that deniers are wrong when they claim that "skeptics" are winning some imaginary debate.
June 19, 2015 at 9:38 am
At work, I hear people talk. A lot of people. Nobody even QUESTIONS AGW.
So you have me, among about 100 people. From the propaganda standpoint, the warmists are most certainly winning. 

Charlie is despondent that not only do politicians accept science, even the Pope accepts science. What is his world coming to?
June 19, 2015 at 6:32 am
Science hijacked by politics has become “the lie agreed upon” That used to be for history only. Now with the Hollywood pope getting involved it has become something else. I have heard people say that this is not about science anymore that, “this is now spiritual.” I don’t know how this happened. So much progress just thrown away so quickly.

wallensworth still has just the tip of his toe in the real world (last sentence) and writes:
June 19, 2015 at 6:53 am
It was as if I was writing this piece as I was reading it.
Agree 100%, and well said.
Should be required reading, but the eco-facist faithful will not take it to heart.
They would flip it into the dustbin and mutter the word “denier.” 

References and further reading



The robust relationship between conspiracist cognition and rejection of (climate) science - Stephan Lewandowsky on Shaping Tomorrow's World

The conspiracy website AboveTopSecret - on the dietary fat and vaccination conspiracies

The dietary fat conspiracy theory

Reviews of Matt Ridley's diet fad book, claiming all sorts of wrong stuff about dietary fat, from the Science of Nutrition blog:

Dietary fat and heart disease study is seriously misleading - Article by Harvard scientists on the dietary fat conspiracy theory

56 comments:

DavidR said...

Sue,

I'm glad you're out there and that you have the energy to keep up with all this nonsense and challenge it as clearly as you do. Your posts are a constant inspiration. Thanks.

Andy Skuce said...

Thanks for this, Sou. Ridley actually was a very good science writer once upon a time. That he has since been conned by the lunatic fringe of climate commentators is a tragedy and a mystery to me.

I note that he is still banging the drum about Chairman Pachauri's reluctance to admit to a typo made by people under him. Ridley himself was also a Chairman once upon a time (of a bank that went bust) and some people under him were sanctioned for making up figures reported to their investors. Ridley has never even apologized for that.

See the section "Motes and Beams" in this piece I wrote years ago.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Ridleyriddle3.html

andthentheresphysics said...

It really annoys me. It is unbelievable that anyone who can write such trash sits on the House of Lords's Science and Technology Select Committee. It is a combination of conspiracy ideation and pseudo-scientific nonsense.

A while ago, I got the impression that Matt Ridley was getting tired of always being called on his nonsense and thought that he might change direction. It seems that he has, just the wrong way. I guess he thinks that one way to avoid being called on his nonsense is to make it so bizarre that most can't be bothered continuing to point it out.

Russell Seitz said...

Sou, anyone who uses the word conspiracy more than twenty times in ten column inches runs a greater risk of being thought a conspiracy theorist than Matt.

Lars Karlsson said...

Ridley even refers to James Delingpole. Yes, James Delingpole. It cannot get any dumber than that.

Lars Karlsson said...

Russell, you used it twice in one sentence.

Anonymous said...

That makes literally no sense

Cabc

Bwana_mrefu said...

At this point it is very clear the Ridley has become a propagandist. Very sad really. Someone with solid science educatiom has turned his back on it all. I can only think his political beliefs have overridden his PhD training.

Catmando said...

The magazine it came in, Quadrant, has form. They interviewed Judith Curry last year

http://archive.is/q3zxV

Nick said...

It's the last spewing of gas from the decaying corpse of Ridley's 'science writing' career. The foul air of self-ignorance settles heavily in the pit that is Quadrant, the clearing house for vested interest delusion.

The man owns a coal mine and doesn't think the consequences of AGW could be that serious. How surprising that coal-interested party Matt could slur scientists for accepting WWF-funded work, and not even notice. The man who also found time to crash a bank is too modest to mention the breadth of his illustrious career, he's an 'umble 'science writer' for the purposes of this piece of arrogant concern trolling disinformation.

But he shouldn't hide his light under a bushel. Let's give praise where it's due: Ridley is rubbish with a brass neck across the park.

PG said...

Go Russ! Go!
Seriously, just go.

bill said...

What John W. Garrett meant to say was 'This should be required reading for anybody gullible to vote'.

bill said...

Well done Lars!

bill said...

Quadrant is form! If there's a dumb, ossified or malignant reactionary idea out there, you can bet you'll find it in Quadrant.

The good news?: nobody reads it.

izen said...

Just one caveat Sou, Matt Ridley is not entirely off the wall with his suggestion that advice about dietary fats, saturated and unsaturated, causing obesity and heart disease, was based on a couple of terrible studies in the 1950s. The problems of epidemiological studies were less well understood in then 1950s and 'terrible' is overstating hindsight.

But there was a theory that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease, however as so often with Matt Ridley, there is a simplification of the science that results in distortion. Contrary to his claim ;-
"which became unchallenged orthodoxy and is only now fading slowly."
At the science level it was always open to dispute and the understanding in this area has evolved through the decades. At present the best evidence indicates that a low fat diet, changing fats for carbohydrates is of no advantage. There may be a small gain in changing the balance of fats from animal to vegetable, but definitely not trans-fats!

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2013/0501/p609.html

However these effects are probably only significant when there is also a general modification in total diet, control of obesity and exercise.
Causation in biology is always multi-factored. Measurement of one dietary variable always reflects many other changes in diet and life-habits.

The persistence of the 'wrong' advice for the last few decades reflects rather less on the group-think or collusion of the scientists and rather more on government inertia, media disinterest beyond another food fad sensationalism and lobbying by financial interests in the status quo.
It is revealing that Matt Ridley does mention this factor in this example;-
" opponents of Ancel Keys’s dietary fat hypothesis were starved of grants and frozen out of the debate by an intolerant consensus backed by vested interests, echoed and amplified by a docile press."

However that triumvirate is directed at climate science, not its opponents at present.

There are no alternative hypothesis to explain the observed warming, certainly no suppression or vested interests starving research grants to dissident voices in climate science. As the W Soon episode demonstrates there are generous funding sources for doubting voices, but few attempt to carry out legitimate research. They fall into Ridley's 'respected' category, loud voices in the ecosphere of denialism.

The efforts to reduce science funding are not being directed at alternatives to AGW, but at mainstream climate research itself.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/07/29/climate_change_new_bill_in_congress_would_de_emphasize_noaa_climate_funding.html

Anonymous said...

Lars for the win! :-)

MikeH said...

My understanding is that Ancel specifically targeted saturated fats.

We have had the debate in Australia recently with the ABC's respected science program Catalyst doing a Ridley and getting information from diet and vitamin gurus to reject "accepted [medical] wisdom that dietary saturated fats kill people and statins – medication to lower cholesterol – save lives."

It caused quite a ruckus among medical researchers and eventually the two programs were taken down from the ABC web site.

It is certainly not the case that the link between saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease "is only now fading slowly" It is still alive and well albeit contested by genuine medical researchers along with a huge collection of nutters and cranks with their own theories which usually involve you buying stuff from them.

There was a lot written following the programs, some of which I have linked below. The first link, an interview with Peter Clifton, Professor of Nutrition at the Sansom Institute at the University of South Australia and an NHMRC Principle Research Fellow.is probably the clearest in getting to the heart of the issue.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/healthreport/the-cholesterol-and-statin-debate/5067536#transcript


https://theconversation.com/abcs-2013-catalyst-program-may-contribute-to-up-to-2-900-heart-attacks-and-strokes-43177

https://theconversation.com/its-not-even-debatable-saturated-fat-is-bad-for-you-19386

https://theconversation.com/worried-about-taking-statins-heres-what-you-need-to-know-19877

https://theconversation.com/viewing-catalysts-cholesterol-programs-through-the-sceptometer-19817

JGradie said...

Izen: not to go too far off topic but ... you are correct about the fat issue. I've found in diabetes research that the substitution of sugar (especially high-fructose) for fat (as is done in "diet food" to make it taste better") increases the bodies production of fat since the fructose part of the sugar molecule is not used for energy directly but is metabolized by the liver into (very low density) cholesterol (lipids) which is kept by the body near the liver for quick reconstitution into glucose when you're hungry ... which we never are so the fat reserve stays in place and we increase in mass with every gram of sugar eaten. Indeed, not all fats are the problem, but sugar, used in our modern diet without short periods of intense hunger, is.

Lars Karlsson said...

Sou, you missed the best part.

"There is, however, one good thing that has happened to science as a result of the climate debate: the democratisation of science by sceptic bloggers. It is no accident that sceptic sites keep winning the “Bloggies” awards. There is nothing quite like them for massive traffic, rich debate and genuinely open peer review. Following Steven McIntyre on tree rings, Anthony Watts or Paul Homewood on temperature records, Judith Curry on uncertainty, Willis Eschenbach on clouds or ice cores, or Andrew Montford on media coverage has been one of the delights of recent years for those interested in science. Papers that had passed formal peer review and been published in journals have nonetheless been torn apart in minutes on the blogs. "

PG said...

It's good to see the standard of writing has improved at Quadrant. If it continues this trajectory it could be up there with Breitbart, Newsmax and the National Review.

Millicent said...

How very understated. Those silly blogs have also overthrown such mainstream ideas as the law of conservation of energy. As Ridley's qualifications should mean he knows better, the poor man ought to have a brain scan asap. I wonder if there is anybody I can contact on his behalf.

Harry Twinotter said...

Yeah Russell go away. Your stupid comments are becoming tiresome.

0^0 said...

There clearly is a parallel universe not impacted by laws of physics or logic..

0^0 said...

Then again, if science is suggesting that your core values and your way of thinking / living are leading to global disaster - what is a nobleman to do but to find flaw in science - as there can not be logical alternatives..

Sou said...

Biochem is complex and it's difficult to get the right messages to the general public. Case in point is the myth that dietary intake of cholesterol causes heart attacks (all those packets of potato chips marked cholesterol free!). That's based on marketers (and the public) confusing cholesterol stored in the body with eating the stuff. Some people can only digest (sic) simple messages, and jump easily from one extreme (or fad) to another.

This page from the Heart Foundation is pretty much consistent with what I learnt in biochem back in the 1970s, though there'd have been a lot more research done since that time:

http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/fats/Pages/cholesterol.aspx

Different people have slightly different metabolisms too. So your genetics can predispose you to heart attacks or strokes. Watching your diet and exercise can help somewhat if you're in this category (and even if you're not).

David Sanger said...

it's amazing how these sceptic bloggers never actually do any hard science themselves but just look at other people's data and draw graphs and have "thoughts"

Russell Seitz said...

Really ? Judging by these rsponses, it looks like a very successful Poe

I-beam said...

Somewhere in Oxford, a DPhil supervisor must be cringing ...

Bert from Eltham said...

Here is a very good lecture how fructose is a poison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM


Bert

Nick said...

A Poe is not science writing.

Ridley as Poe-purveyor has the ability to annoy. His having a chuckle is not science writing.

Back a bit, he informed. No longer. Just self-diagnoses as an attention seeker and broadcasts it.

He thinks he is a lukewarmer and from the 'evidence he has seen', but can never be bothered citing or expanding on, everything is fine enough. It's the antithesis of science writing.

Joshua said...

Sou -

==> "Matt also claims (wrongly) that dietary saturated fats have no impact on heart disease. "

Where does he make that claim?

Joshua said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sou said...

The link is in the article above (as usual).

Joshua said...

This?:

==> "The theory that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease, based on a couple of terrible studies in the 1950s, became unchallenged orthodoxy and is only now fading slowly.

I searched for "saturated" in his article and didn't get any hits.

I'm having a hard time reconciling what he said with what you say that he said.

Sou said...

Joshua, as indicated in the links in the article, Matt Ridley cites the popularist diet fad book The Big Fat Surprise, which has as it's blurb "For the past 60 years, we have been told that the best possible diet involves cutting back on fat, especially saturated fat." Here is a link to Google Books with the quote. I deduced what Matt was arguing from looking up the book he got his ideas from.

Hope that helps.

0^0 said...

Sorry for my ignorance, but on which merits the guy has been (has he?) characterized as a good science journalist? The "science" from that direction seems to be of the D-kind..

MikeH said...

Since Ancel Keys is the villain in "The Big Fat Surprise", I presume he is the person responsible for the "terrible studies in the 1950s" that Ridley refers to. My understanding is that Keys specifically identified cholesterol and hence saturated fat as the villains.

I am no expert on the subject but this seems to confirm that.

"Starting in the 1940s pioneering American physiologist Ancel Keys helped establish the epidemiological link between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Once Keys and others clarified the role of dietary saturated fat in disease development, early intervention studies examined the effects of diet and drug therapy."
http://www.bcmj.org/article/ancel-keys-and-lipid-hypothesis-early-breakthroughs-current-management-dyslipidemia

Current advice from the Heart Foundation still reflects that - don't avoid fat, avoid saturated and trans fats.

http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/fats/Pages/default.aspx

Bert from Eltham said...

MikeH all is made clear at about 32:30. Here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM


Bert

Bernard J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PG said...

Evidence of Lar's assertion re Delingpole's empty headedness will haunt James for as long as You Tube has the file storage capacity.

For those who have not viewed this pearler of an interview by Nobel Laureate, Sir Paul Nurse (BBC Horizon) get a quick insight into Delingpole's compulsive conduct and professional decency by going straight to 3:18
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuQLvK6kxeU#t=253

Bernard J. said...

SOmetimes one has to weep for the state of Australian politics:

https://twitter.com/BenOquist/status/612747416991739904

Susan Anderson said...

Would it be possible to not call them "sceptics" without explaining that they are not skeptical? Nothing could be further from real scepticism.

bill said...

Yep! We are surrounded by lunatics here in Oz, the land that made satire redundant.

But on a more cheerful note:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrxj2eQTIhc&feature=youtu.be

Knocker said...

Sou
On the UK weather forum I frequent you are now known as 'that hateful woman' by the denier fraternity. The ultimate accolade. Many thanks for your excellent work exposing the rubbish of Watts, Goddard, Ridley, et al.

PG said...

The source of abuse often serves to elevate the target.

In the early 1980's I was in the (Apartheid) front line states of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Criminal Apartheid Regime's foreign Minister Pik Botha called Australia's vehemently anti-apartied Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser poison for his leadership in the Gleneagles sanctions. (I tell you, that man is poison)
I met Fraser 10 years later and was able to pass on Botha's comments. He was thrilled.
I'm sure Sou receives the ugly comments in the same manner as Fraser.

bratisla said...

Meanwhile, in real science world ....

"Dinosaurs lived when CO2 levels were much higher !!11!!!"
except that they avoided the unhabitable equatorial zone
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/06/09/1505252112

(hope you can access it, from my work I can access many paywalled publications - tell me if you can't)

Deniers want to set us on fire - litterally

Mike Pollard said...

This sentence "It’s tosh that scientists always try to disprove their own theories, as they sometimes claim, and nor should they." from the 5th paragraph shows that Ridley knows absolutely nothing about how science is done - his credentials as a science writer (as miniscule as they are) should be revoked.

Bernard J. said...

Sou lives rent-free in the heads of the Denialati because she exposes their ideological nonsense for what it is. It would be too much to hope that they might ponder their antipathy and its ætiology and come to an awareness of their pseudoscience and the intellectual scotoma that hides it, but one never knows...

In the mean time the bile of the Sou haters is a sign of the cognitive dissonance that their unsupportable beliefs engender - whilst they can't admit to themselves the logical fallaciousness of their invalid beliefs, they can certainly despise those who have the temerity to point out that those beliefs are indeed invalid.

Bernard J. said...

Bratisla, that paper will probably send chills through most ecologists.

The apparent impact on reptilian diversity of the combination of fire with other climatic parameters is stark, and the more so for remembering that this occurred with a fainter sun. Further, reptiles are not as physiologically constrained by higher temperatures as are the evolutionarily-younger mammalian taxa, so the belly clenches even more when this is taken into account.

It's a shame that figure 2 is such a warren of information that they couldn't squeeze in a direct time scale. I fear that some people will deliberately misrepresent/misinterpret the data to twist the message, although I won't put ideas into their heads by suggesting how they might do so.

The Pangean distribution maps are a nice touch though - they tell a wonderful geological/biological evolutionary story in a succinct way.

jqb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jqb said...

Everything you need to know about Jim Steele (and, by extension, Matt Ridley): http://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com/2014/04/jimsteel-distorting-science.html

jqb said...

"runs a greater risk of being thought a conspiracy theorist than Matt"

Only the risk of being thought that by morons.

jqb said...

So much for your judgment, Russell.

Jim Steele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sou said...

Deleted because it didn't comply with the comment policy.

Anonymous said...

And it was such a rubbish article!