Anthony Watts has posted yet another "climate hoax" conspiracy theory on his blog wattsupwiththat.com (archived here). This one is not at all developed. It is by someone called "Victor Grauer" complaining that his false accusation of fraud by climate scientists was relegated to the bore hole by the climate scientists at realclimate.org.
Victor revamped and reposted his theory where it would be likely to get a better reception. And where better to post something rejected by leading scientists, than the world's leading climate conspiracy and disinformation blog, WUWT?
His argument boils down to this:
- There was a collapse of the US housing market this century
- Bernie Madoff conned his investors
- Therefore climate science is a hoax.
What Victor did was see a film called "The Big Short", which is described on IMDB as "Four denizens in the world of high-finance predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s, and decide to take on the big banks for their greed and lack of foresight."
Victor also read a book by Harry Markopolos, that presents him as a lone voice in the wilderness trying to persuade the powers that be that the Madoff hedge fund was a fraud. You can see how that notion would be attractive to fake sceptics, who think they are the only people in the world who just know that climate science is a hoax.
There are some ironies here, of course. One is that Victor uncritically accepts a story that "the consensus of just about everyone in the financial world was that Madoff was honest, forthright, solid, reliable and completely trustworthy". I doubt that was the case. According to Wikipedia, "At least two major banks were no longer willing to lend money to their customers to invest it with Madoff". An article in the Washington Post said that "Outside analysts had raised concerns about Madoff's firm for years." though it only cited one firm that advised its clients against it. Still, I expect there'd not have been too many financial advisers who would have been promoting it as an investment. As I understand it, the fund worked by word of mouth from people who Madoff had persuaded to give him their money, not so much by recommendations from the wider financial community.
The bigger point is that Victor is equating a single, very secretive, poorly investigated hedge fund in the USA with two centuries of open, very non-secretive and much investigated fields of science. This is a logical fallacy of the type that climate hoax conspiracy theorists are so fond.
At the end of his article about the Madoff scheme and the 2007 financial crisis, Victor wrote:
I’ll leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions regarding any possible parallels with the consensus on climate change.
From the WUWT comments
There were some readers who did draw their own conclusions, or the conclusions that Victor led them to. A lot of them just wrote their take on the Global Financial Crisis, or Bernie Madoff. Here are a few of the "thoughts" that popped into the heads of WUWT readers:
Uber conspiracy theorist ristvan thinks that research scientists make money from getting grant funding. This is a common misconception of science deniers who are unfamiliar with academia and research funding schemes. Scientists can't pocket grant money. Research staff just get their normal salary. Grant funding is to pay for the research itself. It may be used to pay the normal salary for time spent on the project of scientists and tech staff, to cover travel costs of field trips and conferences etc.
August 29, 2016 at 10:34 am
Both are excellent examples. There are further analogs. The subprime mortgage backed securities made a lot of underwriting money for the issuing banks; just like climate change makes money for climate change researchers and for subsidy needy renewables. Madoff’s feeder funds were taking a small slice of the action, and had no incentive to investigate (Madoff only let friends invest, and due diligence wasn’t friendly). Consensus follows the money, not the truth.
tabnumlock has an odd way of looking at the world. For him or her it probably doesn't exist (the world, that is):
August 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm
Anything which appears to be true is a generalization (or stereotype). All generalizations are false. Therefore anything which appears to be true is false. This is literally the core principle on which modern society operates.
drednicolson came back with this:
August 29, 2016 at 5:50 pm
“All generalizations are false.”
Including the one you just made?