Science deniers are running out of ideas with the climate change that's happening all about them. Massive floods all around the world these past few weeks. No big La Nina coming to rescue fake sceptics, and the world shows no sign of cooling down. Even the precious satellite record hasn't been doing it's bit to give conspiracy theorists hope of an ice age.
Willis Eschenbach has written how he's throwing in the towel and, instead of talking about science, he's going to ridicule it (archived here). Today at WUWT he wrote a topsy turvy article that shows that he can't make up his mind whether climate change is real or not. He seems to be shifting between two denier stages:
- Climate science is a hoax, and
- If it's not a hoax, there's nothing we can do about it.
Willis wouldn't care if he got a raging fever
Here is some of what he said. He packaged up his mixed up thoughts as a scary make-believe story, but he couldn't bring it off. He wrote about his new strategy for rejecting science as:
Lurking Huge Danger—I think the best way to fight this is laughter and absurdity. For example, I have compared the possible predicted change in temperature from Obama’s climate plan to the temperature difference between your head and your feet. Ridicule is a potent weapon.That's a twist on the silly meme that it was cold today therefore global warming isn't real. Or any ignoramus asking what difference can a 3 degree rise in the global average temperature make when summer maximums average twenty degrees higher than the winter average maximums? Well, it makes a whole heap of difference if you know anything about averages. If the average temperature of Willis Eschenbach rose by 3 or 4 degrees Celsius to 104 °F or 106 °F, you can bet he'd be going to his doctor (or, more likely, his local quack, given that he rejects science).
Willis gets out his hammer and pounds contradiction
His next plan of attack is getting out his trusty hammer. Willis wrote:
Avoidable—we need to hammer on a couple of things. First, there is no evidence that IF the danger exists it is avoidable. Second, there is no evidence that their preferred method will avoid it. Finally, even if it could work in theory, it would be horrendously expensive.
Willis points repeatedly at his wallet
Next Willis decides that it's immoral to save the planet. Not when it hits his own pocket book. In other words, he is probably against any support to help people when they have an accident, fall ill, want to drive from one place to another, want to go to school, or want to quit smoking. He wrote:
Moral Action—as I have pointed out repeatedly, increasing energy costs are the most regressive tax on the planet, and they hit the poor harder than anyone. This is a crucial point, because all of their flights of fancy are sustained by the illusion that they have the moral high ground … but shafting the poor as they are doing hardly meets that definition.Perhaps in the USA there isn't a tax on cigarettes, and maybe everyone there pays every time they use a road, and pays for all their education from kindergarten onwards. If that's the case then it may explain why there seem to be so many people at WUWT lacking any education where it matters, and why they don't get out much.
He's wrong about a carbon tax hitting poor people the hardest. If it's done right (like it was in Australia till Tony Abbott pulled the plug), then poor people get more in compensation than any rise in the cost of electricity. It was the richer people who carried the burden - not that most of them would have noticed.
Willis wants to burn feet
I recall that Willis once wrote about going to the Burning Man festival, or whatever it is. It looks as if he was smitten with the urge to burn, not put off by all the dreadful fires in the USA this summer, because the next thing he wrote was:
Amenable to Change—we need to hold their feet to the fire regarding their BS, because they will disown it at a moment’s notice. Michael Mann’s phrase is that they’ve “moved on” … don’t let them do so without protest.That's a filler. Willis couldn't think about what to write so he wrote some words saying nothing at all. I don't know what was going through his mind when he talked about "disowning it". He doesn't give any examples. Maybe he thinks (as he's thought before) that when the ice age comes, then scientists will disown the greenhouse effect. That would mean he is as completely and utterly deluded as the worst of them at WUWT.
Willis meanders into meaningless waffling strawmen
Willis next points were indeed meaningless waffle. He wrote about villains who make life harder for the poor - which he is intent on doing himself, so that's mere projection. With no apparent intention of irony, he wrote:
- Unverifiable but Prestigious Credentials—call out bogus citations, demand names.
...but he didn't give a single example of unverifiable credentials or bogus citations. And I don't know what names he wants to demand. (Maybe he was a bit sotted at this stage.)
He then raised the strawman of "bogus details", wanting numbers of climate refugees, wanting evidence now of things like larger increases in sea level that are expected to happen in the next thirty, fifty and hundred years. He reminds me of Anthony Watts, who once took to time travel to disprove global warming.
Willis finished his list by naming Peter Gleick, who managed to get inside information about the unsavoury goings on in the Heartland Institute after, IIRC, someone prompted him to do it. (I never did find out who it was that started that ball rolling. Was it a whistleblower from inside the Heartland Institute who got Peter headed down that path?) Deniers are all for getting details of internal communications from scientists and non-government agencies, but when it comes to anyone finding out their secrets - then they are up in arms.
To close his article altogether, Willis Eschenbach gave his version of the Denier Credo, that he probably says every night before he pops into bed:
...this story of impending thermal doom CANNOT BE FOUGHT WITH SCIENCE. Why? Because it is an urban legend, not a scientific claim. As such it needs to be fought on its own ground, by attacking what actually keeps it alive … and that has very little to do with science.Notice the shouting. That looks like a sign that the evidence of global warming is getting to him. Shouting won't make global warming go away, Willis. About the only thing that will make it go away is to stop throwing all the billions of tonnes of our waste greenhouse gases into the air.
As for the title of this piece - Willis provided that himself when he said that the projected warming is no more than the difference between his head and his feet. (I guess he has cold floors at his house, or maybe his house is draughty and he suffers from a cold head.) I was reminded of a bloke from HotCopper forum, who thought with his gut, not his brain.
From the WUWT comments
WUWT was nothing more than an echo chamber, which isn't surprising, since Willis' article was devoid of any substance. There were no real arguments, apart from "climate science is a hoax", with which few at WUWT would disagree.
High Treason decided that the majority of people in the world who agree that global warming is real, are liars. It's the 8% bottom-dwellers who know that there's another "truth" out there, if only they could find it.
September 2, 2016 at 4:43 pm
Urban legends have many characteristics of the tactics used by liars. They exploit base emotions-fear, guilt, lust, sloth and greed. They use emotional blackmail. They use bluff-once you have fallen for one lie in the narrative, everything else that follows will be further lies to support the previous lies. The morality tale can then be directed toward their ideology. The ideology itself is totally flawed, not that this ever stopped leftists/ alarmists.
mark is hoping and waiting for someone to disprove 200 years of science:
September 2, 2016 at 4:49 pm
Clear air gives clear thoughts!
Perhaps the best attack is an urban legend or two that counter the claims of the AGW legend. We need and urban legend contest, and some will just naturally spread. I am sure the left do this all the time – float a thousand silly ideas expecting one or two to gain traction.
I don't know if birdynumnum is taking the mickey or if he or she is trying to say something flattering about young Christopher:
September 2, 2016 at 5:04 pm
Monkton of Brenchley would be the most likely candidate to have some urbane legends for us, in a manner of speaking.
Mick In The Hills wants to do a bit of foot-shifting. He probably knows from the horrendous floods and cyclones that nature can take anything we dish out and come back with worse:
September 2, 2016 at 5:32 pm
Great article Willis.
I reckon the big problem with the current push-back strategies against CAGW is that we’re always on the back foot. Reacting rather than establishing a new paradigm about earth’s climate system.
So rather than the climate system being cast as a “victim” of man’s evil ways (as all the kids are now being taught in school and university), what if the climate system was instead portrayed as a “super hero” that could withstand anything that puny mankind could throw at it.
As in – our climate system has proven many many times throughout history that it can deal with magnitudes of change the likes of which puny mankind can only fantasize about – ice ages, asteroids, earthquakes, etc.
Our 4% contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere – pffft, says the climate – I’d swallow that up before breakfast, and burp it out before lunchtime.
So maybe we climate realists have to start speaking, as it were, as if we were spokespeople for the climate – strong, defiant, is-that-all-you’ve-got?
Let’s double-down on the ‘denial’, but from the climate’s point of view, not ours.
I don't know if Jack thinks he once learned how to use logic. If he did, he's forgotten what the word means. It's not at all logical to think that global warming is just going to go away while we keep feeding it.
September 2, 2016 at 5:34 pm
WHat you call Moral Action, I call Smug Conviction. Some of the young people believe this stuff and the crusade shines out of their eyes. What will they do when it falls over? Or will it just shift shape?
Bring back Logic as compulsory education and a brief course in Latin, so they know the roots of words. Both courses act as bulldust detectors.
Hivemind has a good name, given that he is a drone (or is she a worker) in the WUWT hive and suffers the logical fallacy of personal incredulity:
September 2, 2016 at 7:29 pm
I agree with this article wholeheartedly. I have long realised that “global warming” was unscientific at it’s heart. But your article puts it in it’s place so clearly.
Greg is a bit despondent and says that one of Willis' strawmen has never worked for him:
September 3, 2016 at 12:08 am
Willis is right that AGW has many of the triats of urban legend, the trouble is when you demand refs to the alleged study and read it you find that it actually does exist and says all the crap the proponent claims.
This rather knocks the stuffing out of the ridicule tactic.
From the HotWhopper Archives
- HotWhopper of the Week - A Gutful of Brainless! - January 2013
- Denier weirdness: It's not CO2, it's aeroplanes - April 2013
- Denier Weirdness: Wondering Willis Eschenbach wonders does "an ice age cometh"... - October 2013
- Wondering Willis Eschenbach's Thunderstorm at WUWT - October 2013
- Wondering Willis Eschenbach has gone nuts about volcanoes at WUWT - November 2014
- How Wondering Willis Eschenbach's religious background prevents him from understanding a scientific framework - January 2015
- On forcing and feedback with Willis Eschenbach - August 2015
- Willis Eschenbach makes false claims about surface temperature (again) - August 2015
- Anthony Watts, the seer, goes time traveling to 2041 and beyond - May 2015
- Willis Eschenbach and his carbon uptake mistake at WUWT - March 2016
- Willis Eschenbach wonders about ENSO events and rain - June 2016
- ...and many more.