Today Ari Halperin wrote an article that was posted at Anthony Watts' WUWT. It was about the recent letter to the US policymakers signed by the AAAS and 30 other leaders of science societies. Ari Halperin wrote to scientific societies to see if they supported the recent letter to the US Congress. All the replies that he got confirmed support.
Ari didn't get any reply from most of the 30 societies (he said nine of the 30 replied to him confirming their support for the letter), which prompted him to falsely allege in his headline that "Ooops! Not all 31 scientific societies actually signed the AAAS ‘consensus’ letter". In other words, his evidence is absent. Non-existent. He just made that up.
Why wouldn't they support the letter? It was clear and simple and non-controversial. Here's an excerpt:
Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science.
Halperin is a climate denier and writes several blogs. Throughout the day, I’ve learned he has contacted many other societies with the same questions. Most are declining to respond to his inquiry.
Your response was good. I hope he won’t email you again. I’m sure he will write a scathing piece on the letter.Ari's piece wasn't scathing, it was ridiculous. It was one giant conspiracy theory and a big lie built out of an absence of evidence. This is Telltale Technique No. 2 of climate science deniers: that they base their "arguments" on logical fallacies. His logical fallacies are mostly non sequiturs, they do not follow from his assertions. He added his own lies to the mix.
Ari Halperin's research finds scientific societies that supported the letter, none that didn't
Ari said he wrote to the AAAS and to each of the other 30 societies that signed the letter asking them if they did in fact sign it.
In early morning of July 6th, I sent fact-checking emails to the CEO of the AAAS and to the top officials and/or media contacts of the 30 other organizations.His emails weren't posted at WUWT, they were included in his "paper" as appendices. His email to the AAAS explains his conspiracy theory - that the letter to US policymakers wasn't supported by the leaders of the 31 scientific societies:
The American Association for Advancement of Science recently published a letter dated June 28 (http://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/06282016.pdf), addressed to Members of Congress and written on behalf of 31 major scientificorganizations. Unfortunately, the posted copy of the letter is missing individual signatures, unlike a similar letter published in 2009 (http://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/migrate/uploads/1021climate_letter1.pdf).
As a scientist and a writer on this topic, I am writing an article about this letter. Because of the unfortunate omission of the signatures, I would like to satisfy myself that the letter is authentic, and that it was properly signed prior to posting. Would you be so kind as to clarify whether the 2016 letter speaks on behalf of individuals or organizations? The letter starts out, “We, as leaders of major scientific organizations,” so I would also appreciate a list of the persons who signed. Ideally, I would like to inspect a copy of the full original signature page, either through email or in person at a time and place of your choice. If these options are unacceptable to you, please feel free to confirm the letter’s authenticity in another way. Thank you for your consideration. I would appreciate a reply within one week, as I have a strict deadline for my article.
He also sent a separate email to various people in the 30 organisations. At WUWT Ari wrote:
That same day, a different email (Appendix A) was sent to each of the other 30 organizations. All these emails had substantially the same text, but each organization was contacted separately, usually with copies to multiple recipients within that organization. The organizations were not cc’ed on emails sent to their peers, and were not told that other organizations were contacted, except for the triplet of the Agronomy/Soil Science/Crop Science Societies. 9 out of these 30 organizations answered, and all 9 confirmed that they signed the letter.His appendix A also hints at his conspiratorial thinking:
I’m writing regarding a letter posted by the American Association for Advancement of Science and dated June 28, 2016. The letter is at http://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/06282016.pdf, and the accompanying article claims that you signed it. However, since no signatures are present in the posted copy, I would like to verify your participation and hear your side of the story, for an article I’m writing on the letter. Would you be so kind as to answer the following questions?
If you prefer not to answer these questions, please feel free to say so. I would also welcome your opinions on the letter’s content, or anything you want to say related to it. Since my article deadline is coming up, I would greatly appreciate a response within one week. Thank you for your consideration.
- Did you sign the letter?
- If you did not sign personally, did any other officer, employee, or board member in your organization?
- If someone in your organization signed the letter, would you please tell me his or her name and title? Was the signature in a personal capacity or on behalf of the organization?
- Was there any pressure involved to sign the letter?
His main logical fallacy was that because not all societies responded to his email it meant that they did not sign or support it. He wrote:
9 out of these 30 organizations answered, and all 9 confirmed that they signed the letter. 5 out of 9 replies flatly denied that there was any pressure to sign, and none indicated otherwise. Some probably thought that the question about the pressure was inappropriate. Thus, all replies and non-replies can be divided into two categories: “yes” and “no answer.” If the respondents acted independently, the 9 positive replies would be a valid statistical sample, confirming the null hypothesis that the letter was properly signed by all participants.
Ari then launched into a conspiracy theory. He discovered that someone let the others know that he was a climate science denier. He saw the email, which he described as "hysterical reaction" (see above).
Based on the alert about himself, instead of just reporting that all the replies he received confirmed that the letter was supported by the various societies, he made up his conspiracy. The conspiracy whirling around in his head was a mess of logical fallacies, mostly non sequiturs:
- People from different scientific organisations correspond with each other therefore they are in collusion therefore there is nefarious intent.
The non sequitor is his extrapolation to the nefarious intent, needless to say. You can read his twisted thinking for yourself. It's probably best summed up in this section, where his imagination runs riot. He picks out the sentence where it was stated that most of the organisations Ari wrote to decided they wouldn't bother replying, and explained his fantasy:
“Most are declining to respond…” was a misleading statement. The timing of the responses (see below) shows that within a few hours of the first email, somebody (possibly Maura) identified this fact-checking exercise as a threat, collected information from multiple recipients, and made a decision not to respond (Fact #3). And many “scientific societies” which did not respond before that decision obediently complied. Like a good military – quick reaction, admirable discipline, and excellent chain of Command, Control, & Communication. But whom does this military serve?His article gives an insight into how the conspiratorial mind works. He reads nefarious intent into everything he can and more, and blows up and extends ordinary sentences into "wrongdoing".
– The alertness of the “consensus guard” is a separate indicator of foul play (Fact #4).
– Finally, Maura revealed the fact of the wrongdoing and her knowledge of it the in the last sentence: “I’m sure he will write a scathing piece on the letter” (Fact #5).
Irony is lost on Ari. His "consensus guard" is an indicator he thinks there was foul play via collusion. However he apparently doesn't regard his publication of his "scathing piece" as either "foul play" or confirmation that "Maura" was correct. (Ari said that he himself made up the name "Maura" to disguise the name of the person who sent the email around.)
Nor does he regard the fact that subsequent to "Maura's" email, he still received four more responses negates his allegation of "good military". On the contrary, for two of those responses it was further evidence (to Ari). He wrote (my emphasis):
The last two, from AGU and COL, arrived five and six days later, and contained virtually identical evasive answers, obviously crafted with great care by PR people.The "virtually identical evasive answers" weren't posted at WUWT, but they were in his "paper".
- The American Geophysical Union, on behalf of its members and its volunteer leaders, is pleased to be a signatory on the letter.
- The Consortium for Ocean Leadership, on behalf of its member institutions, is pleased to be a signatory to the letter you reference.
This is, of course, no coincidence. The author interpreted this answer as yes, but took notice of the delay, evasion, coordination, and excessive exertion.
Some organizations whose alleged signatures appear on the letter did not sign it prior to its posting, making the letter somewhat like a forgery, as well as contradicting its “consensus” claims.This he then morphed into:
Almost every attempt of the climate alarmists to show broad support of scientists led to a forgery, so letter is in no way an exception.
"Maura" underestimated Ari. He's not just a "climate denier", he's a full-blown nasty anti-science conspiracy-theory-monger of the first order.
From the WUWT comments
July 21, 2016 at 12:27 pm
A fish rots from the head down. Thanks for this further evidence.
ScienceABC123 extrapolates even further and writes:
July 21, 2016 at 12:27 pm
So the consensus on the “consensus” is a lie.
July 21, 2016 at 1:15 pmAs does Tom Halla
Lysenko is alive and well, working as a climate “scientist.”
July 21, 2016 at 1:28 pm
Nice forensic analysis of a common scam. Lysenko lives!
July 21, 2016 at 1:32 pm
I believe that further research needs to be done on this letter. I would first like to know the political party of all of the signers and the societies/groups in general. I know, I know, that is a no brainer but confirmation and the individuals involved need to be identified publicly. No harm, no foul. The bottom line is that there is clearly emphasis on “non-partisan” in the title of the PR. That is step one. That would be the first article to go out to the media.
BTW Superb job!!!
July 21, 2016 at 1:39 pm
I love when the Climate Liars get caught in their own web of lies. Fun to watch them squirm.
It was two hours before someone emerged who showed signs of critical reading. Nick Stokes asked:
July 21, 2016 at 2:18 pmAnd it took another hour before anyone else picked at the gaping holes in Ari Halperin's argument. Kurt (who looks to be a science denier) wrote in part:
“Ooops! Not all 31 scientific societies actually signed the AAAS ‘consensus’ letter”
So which ones didn’t?
July 21, 2016 at 3:18 pm (excerpts)
This post exemplifies the mistake of overstating an argument. The author alleges that not all of the scientific societies signed the letter, but at best, the facts stated to support those assertions indicate that not all societies confirmed with the author that they signed the letter.
The author also has some serious deficiencies in analytical ability. Within the same paragraph, no less, the author states that “Facts 1-6, as defined above, demonstrate that something was seriously wrong with the letter signing. Nevertheless, multiple hypotheses can be formulated as to what exactly was wrong. Speaking only of the Tier 1 organizations that did not reply, the following hypotheses come to mind:1) The organizations that did not reply considered my communication unworthy of their attention.”
This first hypothesis is not a “formulation as to what exactly was wrong” with the signing. It’s a possible explanation as to why nothing might have been wrong with the signing at all. And nothing the author wrote thereafter discounted this possibility that the organizations the author wrote to, who didn’t respond, simply saw no need to answer some random person who shot them an e-mail. ...
Nick Stokes pointed out the lie:
July 21, 2016 at 4:24 pm
“but there is no evidence to suggest that any of them did not agree”
There is no evidence about anything. Some people didn’t respond to his email, so he constructed hypotheses out of thin air. The headline is hypothesis #3.
July 21, 2016 at 4:47 pm
The level of articles at WUWT continues finding new lows. There is absolutely no proof that any of those societies did not sign the letter. All the rest is just blah-blah. The title of the article is false and deceiving.
What counts is quality, not quantity. A few more like this one and I will stop visiting. I don’t like being deceived.
References and further reading
Thirty-One Top Scientific Societies Speak with One Voice on Global Climate Change - Article at AAAS, with the letter from 31 scientific societies
The 5 telltale techniques of climate change denial - article by John Cook at CNN
From the HotWhopper archives
- Judith Curry objects to scientists warning US Congress about the dangers of climate change - July 2016
- Anthony Watts promotes Ari Halperin's climate conspiracy theories at WUWT - February 2016
- Is CO2 sentient? Ari Halperin and Anthony Watts claim the carbon cycle is "fraud" - March 2016
- Denier weirdness: Ari Halperin thinks the IPCC's climate change definition is too broad - April 2016
- The Google Conspiracy - and a Google search engine customised for science deniers - September 2015