Anthony Watts has embraced a very dotty conspiracy theorist called Leonid Goldstein, now known as Leo Goldstein at WUWT. Leo used to write under the name of Ari Halperin. He's been featured here before a few times. One of these days I'll write more about him. He's seriously delusional, more so than most of Anthony's freeby writers, which explains why he features on Anthony's blog, wattsupwiththat. (Anthony has been shifting further to the nutty end of nuttery lately.)
So you don't think I'm going overboard, here is the first sentence on the home page of Leonid's blog. You can see why Anthony Watts values his input at WUWT:
Climate alarmism is a gigantic fraud: it only survives by suppressing dissent and by spending tens of billions of dollars of public money every year on pseudo-scientific propaganda.
Mentally underdeveloped and emotionally unstable
Leo's the chap who is suing umpteen zillion organisations under RICO, for the crime of promoting mainstream science and urging action to protect humanity from dangerous global warming. Here's a link to the Civil Docket containing the wacky conspiracies floating around in Leo's brain. As an example of his delusion, he alleges of the defendants that "Notably, many of the Defendants' websites are intended for audiences with a large percentage of mentally underdeveloped and emotionally unstable persons." and he thinks that urging companies to stop donating to disinformers is a crime (note the emotive language): "Defendants ran a perfectly orchestrated public campaign, that falsely accused ALEC of"climate change denial", threatened its corporate members and donors, and caused many of them to leave or to stop donating to the organization". One day I'll write more about this. The case hasn't got very far yet.
Leo Goldstein goes to Silicon Valley to learn about climate science (not really)
Today I'm writing about one of Leo's saner contributions, if you can believe that. (I didn't say it was sane. It's relative.) Leo has decided to list 14 reasons for people in Silicon Valley accepting climate science (archived here). Do they? I expect most of them do since most educated, rational people accept it. Leo broadened his definition of Silicon Valley to Silicon Valley Insiders. No, I don't think that's a narrowing of the definition - wait for it. This is what he wrote;
Silicon Valley insiders are smart and successful people. By “Silicon Valley insiders,” I mean the founders, owners, venture capitalists, executives, and software professionals of the so-called tech companies located not only in the Silicon Valley, but elsewhere in the U.S.I think he means everyone but the cleaning staff and front desk personnel, who work at tech companies anywhere in the USA.
Leo, being a conspiracy nutter of little imagination, refers to a general acceptance of climate science as "climate alarmism". Below are his 14 reasons computer people accept climate science. Some are not reasons. Some apply more to deniers that people who accept science. Some have nothing to do with climate science. Many are silly. Many are based on the conspiracy theory that climate science is a hoax. Leo's reasons are in italics, my comments precede them:
Only climate experts know climate? This first reason applies to many people at WUWT. For example, Anthony's current lead article writer, Eric Worrall, writes apps and I think he was "educated and experienced in the software side of computer sciences". He knows little of climate topics, or sciences such as physics, biology or energy engineering. So why does he reject science? Leo wrote:
- Silicon Valley insiders are educated and experienced in the software side of computer sciences but rarely in the kind of sciences that are directly involved with climate topics, such as physics, biology or energy engineering.
These people write the f*** manual: This next one most certainly applies to deniers at WUWT. Very few of Anthony's climate hoax conspiracy theorists read science, have opened up an IPCC report, or would recognise a decent scientific paper if it was put in front of them and explained in words a six year old could understand. Thing is, it's the tech people who not only read manuals, they write them! Leo wrote:
- Software professionals tend to have a habit of not RTFM (and are proud of it). Software and Internet billionaires also might lack the time to RTFM.
The best brains (who know science) have left the USA: His third reason isn't a reason. It's an extrapolation and contradiction of his point 1. He's arguing that the people who do have a working knowledge of physics, chemistry and engineering have all left the USA. If that were the case it might explain why there is a bigger proportion of deniers in the USA than anywhere else, and why in the "offshore" countries, more people accept climate science. Leo wrote:
- Hardware design and manufacturing requires knowledge of physics, chemistry, and engineering. However, within the last 25 years most of the hardware manufacturing and even design that put the word “silicon” in Silicon Valley went offshore. In the last ten years, Silicon Valley has been doing very little outside software development (including firmware,) graphic design, marketing, “content,” and finances.
You don't have to know everything to understand something: His next reason similarly isn't a stand-alone reason. It's also an extrapolation of his point 1. He thinks that if a person doesn't know everything about every aspect of science then it would be impossible for them to learn and understand one small aspect, such as the greenhouse effect. Perhaps he's trying to make excuses for the dumbclucks at WUWT, but it won't fly. Research scientists know their own segment of their own field very well. They are pretty familiar with their broader field too. When it comes to areas outside their own field, some would know quite a lot but many probably know not much more than you or I. Take Judith Curry for example. She knows next to nothing about climate science, although she might know something about some aspects relating to the Arctic (and hurricanes). The point being that it's not all that hard to understand the basics of the greenhouse effect, although the details would require some expertise (acquired newly or oldly) in chemistry and physics. Leo wrote:
- In contrast, software-centered computer sciences knowledge is very small in volume compared to the natural sciences, such as physics. One might even say that there is a 80/80/80 rule: 80% of what 80% of software engineers and architects use can be studied in 80 months. And this is the same pool of knowledge, shared by all these intelligent professionals. One cannot even remotely compare that body of knowledge to that of physics. It wouldn’t make sense to try to calculate how many months it would take to study all applied physics, or even one of its many branches (geophysics, atmospheric physics, nuclear physics, etc.) Consequently, smart minds with a software background easily fall into believing misleading “greenhouse” explanations by climate alarmists.
Haven't heard of the Turing machine: Here, apart from not saying anything about why software engineers accept climate science, or anything about climate science at all, Leo falls into a false analogy. He compares "hearing about the Turing machine" with "Newton's Laws". The main thing is that this isn't a point at all. What does a software engineer or an aerodynamic engineer have to do with climate science? Why is hearing about the hypothetical Turing machine a pre-requisite for understanding climate science? Leo wrote:
- Software sciences are also everchanging. Ideas that haven’t been in circulation within the last five years just don’t matter. For example, one can be an excellent software engineer without ever hearing about the Turing machine, proposed and analyzed by Alan Turing in 1936. Can someone become an aerodynamic engineer without ever knowing Newton’s laws?
Climate models aren't like video games: I really don't know what Leo is trying to argue here. I think he might be under the delusion that climate models produce an output only every six years, and that the output is "physically incorrect". He's wrong on both counts. He might also think that a climate model is like a video game. (I told you he is delusional.) Leo wrote:
- Developers of video games use realistic physical models and work hard to make them produce 60 frames per second. It is hard for them to believe that self-appointed “climate scientists” can cook up alarmist climate models designed to produce a physically incorrect output every 6 years.
Knowledge is arrogant: This next point is also pointless. Perhaps Leo meant to extend his thought and claim that accepting mainstream science is arrogant. That instead one should be humble and say that one doesn't accept science. Huh? Is that why science deniers show so much humility when discussing climate? (Yes, that's sarcasm.) Leo wrote:
- Success is known to breed hubris and arrogance. Many SV insiders are extremely successful.
Cognition - eh?
Leo's next few points are listed under a heading of "Cognitive biases affecting politics of the Silicon Valley businesses". Given what he's written above and below, I'm guessing cognitive science is not a specialty of Leo's.
Academics are the experts: Again, Leo seems to be projecting. Science deniers are known to rarely step outside their own fishbowl. They are mostly right wing authoritarian followers who are very suspicious of experts and anything that smacks of officialdom. They'd rather follow what Bob Altemeyer calls a "scum-bucket politician" (like Donald Trump). (I wonder how long it will take them to reject Trump's generals and Wall St money men as "officialdom"?) Anyway, the point he is making is that academics and students of science don't know nuffin'. The arbiters of knowledge are the pseudoscientists on conspiracy blogs like WUWT and InfoWars. You'll notice (if you've read his blog) that here he also injects his other conspiracy theory, Tim Ball style. The one where there is an evil cabal lurking in the shadows who are going to take over the world, steal everyone's property and toss poor unsuspecting deniers into FEMA camps.
Now before reading Leo's "reason", reflect on the irony. Some time back, despite his strong distrust of Google, he set up a Google search that would by-pass all climate science websites and only return results from fake science blogs and climate disinformation websites. Leo wrote:
- It’s possible that some SV insiders (just as many politicians) confuse the “Internet opinion” (comments, tweets, subreddits etc.) as reflection of the US public opinion, when it’s more reflective of the leftist echo-chamber. Much of this content is written by college faculty and students, individuals with extra time on their hand and people living outside of the US. Most Silicon Valley companies are “Internet companies.” The Internet transcends international borders, so SV insiders seem to be blind to the dangers of global governance agendas, and some may even embrace them. A clear example of this is the promotion of the “United Nations Global Goals” on the Google’s U.S. front page. This is offensive to those who do not want to be subjects of the UN or any global governance. Climate alarmism has a very strong global governance component.
Bred in San Franscisco: This one's cute. Apparently all the tech types, who've come to Silicon Valley from all over the world, were bred in the den of leftist warmunist watermelon city of the flower children - San Franscisco. In this point he doesn't explain why the tech workers from his "elsewhere in the U.S" also tend to accept mainstream science. Leo wrote:
- Silicon Valley is a suburb of San Francisco, a notorious Leftist stronghold, and includes Berkeley. Many SV insiders lived in this atmosphere long enough to imbibe its “values” and do not question its strong agendas, including climate alarmism. Add to this the prejudice that liberals are smarter and more educated than conservatives.
Leo's being silenced - what?: His next point isn't a point. It's another conspiracy theory. He thinks that in the USA the speech of deniers has been "suppressed". Tell that to Anthony Watts, Lamar Smith, the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, all the GOP lawmakers who dominate Congress, deniers all over, and everyone who voted for Donald Trump. Leo wrote:
- I suppose SV insiders find it hard to believe that the speech of climate realists could have been suppressed to such a great degree in this country. I could not believe that, too.
It boils down to money worship, as it always does in deniersville
Finally Leo gets to money. Deniers are never far from thinking about money. It underpins their every conspiracy. His heading is: "Possible Financial Motives". There's another irony here, of course. Deniers are at the same time celebrating the fact that they've elected a bunch of billionaires and millionaires to run the USA.
Foreigners accept mainstream science, therefore it must be wrong: The first financial motive is that foreign governments accept science. Now that's telling in itself. He's got smart hi tech people accepting science, everyone outside the US accepting science, academics and students accepting science - but he can't accept that accepting mainstream science is quite a reasonable position to take. Shades of racism and xenophobia. His view is that Silicon Valley companies only accept science because foreign countries demand it of them. I don't know how he factors in the points he made above, which would seem to be lower in the "science accepting" hierarchy, therefore this point should be irrelevant. You'll notice that Leo also says in this point that he is against the suppression of fake news. Leo wrote:
- Silicon Valley companies do a lot of business abroad, including content business, from web search to news. Many SV companies derive more than 70% of their revenues from sales abroad. In doing so, they must obey local laws and satisfy demands of foreign governments. These demands may be political or ideological. Foreign laws and political demands seem to influence the thinking and actions of Silicon Valley companies. For example, Germany’s government demanded Facebook remove or filter out “fake news.” Immediately after, Facebook announced an initiative to do similar things (flagging “fake news”) in the U.S. Not surprisingly, all announced fact checkers are left-leaning, and some of them are notorious purveyors of fake news. Most foreign governments and political parties are either enthusiastic supporters or even instigators of climate alarmism, and might have heavily influenced SV insiders.
Is Leo's Playstation infected with climate science? His next reason isn't a reason either. It's a conspiratorial hope. He's worried that his Game Boy (sorry Nintendo, or maybe he's an XBox man) will be infected with foreign climate science. Leo wrote:
- I hope none of these tech companies attempted to acquiesce demands of foreign governments or other foreign (including international) political entities regarding the content they provide in the US.
It's politics: Leo's penultimate "reason" has nothing to do with money. It's that tech companies are "notoriously" linked with the Democratic Party. His evidence is Eric Schmidt. Now that's just plain evil. Who would be aligned with a party for whom more than half of voting Americans voted in the recent Presidential elections? What the Democrats have to do with money, he doesn't say. I'd have thought the Republicans had a lot more money than the Democrats. Leo doesn't make it clear how this connects with acceptance of mainstream climate science, either. Is he arguing that if one is aligned with the Republican Party one condition is that you must reject science? Leo wrote:
- Of course, many tech companies are notoriously linked with the Democratic Party. This might be a consequence of the factors listed above, or it might have been a condition for success under Democratic administrations. For example, Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt was on Obama’s 2009 transition team before he went on to take a position in his science and technology advisory council.
Saving the planet is evil? The final money reason isn't from Leo, it's from Richard Lindzen, the eccentric scientist turned denier who used to work at MIT (and now hawks himself around shabby halls talking to shabbier old men who reject science). Apparently there's something very deviant about wanting to "save the world". The only acceptable position in conspiracy-ville is to Destroy the Joint! Leo wrote:
- 14. Some SV insiders might be, as Richard Lindzen said, “newly minted billionaires who find the issue of ‘saving the planet’ appropriately suitable to their grandiose pretensions.”
Well there you have it. Let's find out what some of the other conspiracy nutters think about all that.
From the WUWT comments
co2islife is another money mad conspiracy theorist with a cryptic comment:
February 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm (excerpt)
It’s simple…Money. They are paying the price now though.
Max Photon thinks a model is just a metaphor. It's a lot more than that, Max. Two questions: What's his comment got to do with Leo and Silicon Valley plus? Is he arguing that computer scientists don't know anything about computer models?
February 13, 2017 at 4:53 pmPat Frank isn't the only one who's never been told to RTFM. He probably doesn't use software very much, doesn't know how to Google, and anyway, there's no manual for WUWT. At least one Stanford scientist thinks he doesn't need to read the manual (or any climate science). He wrote:
“Tyranny of the model” is the concept that I believe is at the heart of it. Very few people can separate in their minds that a model is not the real world. They do not understand a model is simply a metaphor.
February 13, 2017 at 5:02 pm
Also as a scientist at Stanford, I can testify that science remains rip-roaring here. It just never gets any attention.
Seems the virtue signalling put-down has been picked up at WUWT. Some deniers cannot believe that there are actually people who aspire to do good. It's way outside their frame of reference. Neo wrote:
February 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm
Any discussion of Climate Change is incomplete without mentioning “virtue signaling”
logiclogiclogic makes some reasonable points, but spoils it all at the end by all but admitting she or he's a denier who doesn't move outside deniersville.
February 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm
You are absolutely right about this.
There is an unwillingness to do any thinking about this topic. I have asked many smart people in the Bay Area where I live and they frequently show they haven’t thought for 2 seconds or read anything about the topic. The level of lack of knowledge of the topic is astonishing.
What’s amazing of course is that they are told that this is threatening the earth. That it’s of incredible importance but they show an utter total disinterest in the topic and won’t spend 2 seconds to read about it.
Al gore complained nobody wanted to talk about climate change. I think a part of this is that people actually are pretty smart and realize the world hasn’t really changed much. They don’t see it and don’t believe it is a serious problem.
Frequently I have seen people use climate change as a cudgel in politics. People can use it to justify not building houses or preventing this project or that project. It’s sort of a convenience for political purposes but I’m not anyone actually believes it. More importantly, if it is so important why don’t they spend 2 minutes to understand the issue.
I think the support for global warming is very weak. Considering the fact that outright skeptics are being put in charge of the agencies that have promulgated the lies and the likely hit on the people who do the research as well as all their support and the response seems muted.
Eric Worrall twists and turns and tries to rationalise his adoption of the climate hoax conspiracy.
February 13, 2017 at 5:23 pm
I’m a software engineer. Software engineers tend to hate uncertainty, we live in a world where risk comes from that which we cannot control. So we tend to be attracted to answers which provide certainty and control.
Climate alarmism offers a form of certainty. It suggests that we control the climate. We might be struggling to control CO2 emissions, but if only we can master ourselves, we will be in charge, the uncertainty will be eliminated.
The thought that climate might be chaotic, something we can’t control, contradicts the worldview of most software developers – the thought of something which doesn’t respond to programming is deeply disturbing, frightening even. It must be wrong.
I’m an unusual software developer.
One sane person appeared. I'm surprised she or he's not been banned as a heretic who doesn't believe that climate science is a hoax. ReallySkeptical wrote:
February 13, 2017 at 5:56 pm
You forgot three more reasons.
15. They are educated.
16. They understand what models say what what they don’t say.
17. Not too many are in bed with the energy industry.
And another one. WUWT is swamped with normal sane people (well, perhaps two out of hundreds don't warrant draining the swamp). Arvo Kaseorg wrote:
February 13, 2017 at 5:57 pm
And of course, they may believe in climate change because it is a well-established scientific fact. But this is merely conjecture, as some seemingly intelligent people seem to confuse facts with political and economic agendas….
Alan Davidson is of the view that thousands of scientists in many countries are conspiring with each other to fake temperature observations. I expect he thinks that some other people have conspired to haul giant hidden heaters up to the Arctic and have been melting all the ice, just to con him.
February 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm
There’s a huge number of people all over the world that refuse to believe that either NOAA or NASA could possibly be manipulating temperature or sea level data. I’m frequently encountering them in various blogs. Also they seem to think that if there is some kind of manipulation going on, it must involve thousands of scientists in many countries so there’s no possible way that this could be true etc.
Dave Kelly thinks that one doesn't reach adulthood until they've turned 50. I wonder how old Dave is?
February 13, 2017 at 6:59 pm
Based on my experience with Silicon Valley employees, I’d add to the list that Silicon Valley employers tend to fire employees approaching 50 year of age. This strips the companies of management personnel with adult perspectives and leaves the employees largely without adult supervision. In addition, the employees tend to begin being filtered out of the work place as they begin to have children… leaving behind a work force that lacks the tempered perspectives that come with child rearing.
As he gazes at the liquid crystal display, bashes on his keyboard into his iPad that sends his thoughts, almost like magic, through nothing but air and wires all the way to WUWT and even as far as me, Bob in Castlemaine believes there is no innovation or creativity or intelligence in the high tech industries. He sounds like a real true blue illiterati.
February 13, 2017 at 8:14 pm
In an industry that’s overweight in thirty something millennials who’ve been subjected to an education that was essentially a narrow perspective, ideological brain washing what else would anyone expect? Normally if intelligent young people were subjected to 10-20 years of real life experience in non-group think environments many would eventually realise they’d were conned by their teacher preachers. However, in the hot-house, group-think environment of SV that requires far greater independence of thought – a characteristic actively discouraged and likely to be a career limiting if not career ending offence.
References and further reading
Goldstein v. Climate Action Network et al - filed at the Northern District of Texas, Federal District Court. A veritable mish mash of conspiratorial nuttery, if you've got the time.
Newsweek Opinion: Trump is trolling Silicon Valley - what could go wrong? - B Kevin Maney, 17 January 2017
From the HotWhopper archives
- The Google Conspiracy - and a Google search engine customised for science deniers
- Anthony Watts promotes Ari Halperin's climate conspiracy theories at WUWT
- Is CO2 sentient? Ari Halperin and Anthony Watts claim the carbon cycle is "fraud"
- Ari Halperin falsely claims forgery by AAAS, with a whopper of a conspiracy theory @wattsupwiththat
- Denier weirdness: Ari Halperin thinks the IPCC's climate change definition is too broad