Sunday, September 8, 2013

Do Christopher Monckton and Anthony Watts reject plate tectonics? Really?

Sou | 4:12 AM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment

Christopher Monckton of Brenchley seems to be becoming nuttier by the day.  And so does Anthony Watts for posting more and more nuttiness from this potty peer.

The stable core of consensus knowledge

Today in an article on WUWT (archived here), Christopher is taking issue with an article written by Naomi Oreskes in Nature.  Her article has the title: Earth science: How plate tectonics clicked.  It is open access and you can read it here.  Here is an excerpt:
In its slow convergence of ideas and evidence, the history of plate tectonics holds lessons for today's debates about human-induced climate change. Although science is always evolving, and our attention is drawn to controversy at the research frontier, it is the stable core of 'consensus' knowledge that provides the best basis for decision-making.
Dr Oreskes describes some of the scientific and technological breakthroughs that underpinned the knowledge we have today of plate tectonics and related ideas about the earth's crust and what lies underneath it, and then writes:
This era marked a change in the character of modern science. Research today is expensive and largely government-funded; almost all major scientific accomplishments are the collective achievement of large teams. This reality — more prosaic than the hagiography of lonely genius — reminds us that although great individuals are worthy of recognition, the strength and power of science lies in the collective effort and judgement of the scientific community.
Naomi Oreskes article is a good read and I discovered things I didn't know before.  She finishes up with parallels to the discoveries of climate science.

Anthony Watts and Christopher Monckton of course are having none of it.  The WUWT article is a bit confusing, but it reads as if Christopher and, presumably Anthony Watts, don't accept plate tectonics.  The article is a mish mash of rubbish Monckton has written before.  I defy anyone to make sense of his ramble.  His basic argument is seems to be that scientific consensus is meaningless.  I expect neither he nor Anthony Watts "believe in" gravity, or that the planets revolve around the sun or that water is wet.  They are waiting, waiting and still waiting for some lone hero (not heroine) to "prove" that CO2 isn't a greenhouse gas and that global warming isn't happening.  Or some such lunacy.

They really are nuts and getting nuttier every day.  As Naomi Oreskes writes:
Anthropogenic climate change has the consensus of researchers. Political leaders who deny the human role in climate change should be compared with the hierarchy of the Catholic church, who dismissed Galileo's arguments for heliocentrism for fear of their social implications.

Science denial as entertainment and theatrics

You might be tempted to substitute Christopher Monckton and Anthony Watts for "political leaders".   They might reject climate science because they fear the social implications.  I don't know if that's correct though.  I doubt Anthony and Christopher give two hoots for society.  With this pair if they fear anything it's the personal implications.  But the more I read WUWT the more obvious it becomes that the main driving force is keeping their audience.  The audience being the 8% Dismissives.  They are playing to a crowd.  They are entertainers.  Their audience is the scientific illiterati.  The dumbos. The fearful.  The ethnocentric.

From the WUWT illiterati

Here are some examples to illustrate the point, from the WUWT comments (archived here).

DirkH says:
September 7, 2013 at 8:16 am
Why doesn’t the Obama USA just use its secret court system to put skeptics in camps and be done with it.  Can’t be that important if they don’t even bother.
Jon says:
September 7, 2013 at 8:22 am
In order to make a new and “better” world they have to get rid of logic and scientific principles?

Bennett In Vermont says:
September 7, 2013 at 8:38 am
I enjoy expanding my vocabulary by reading your articles, Lord Monckton. Thank you!

PaulH says:
September 7, 2013 at 8:48 am
I am almost tempted to cut these warmists some slack. After all, all they know and understand is “consensus”. All their political experience is rooted in “let’s put this to a vote.” So of course when the majority rules, the decision is made, there is no need for further discussion on the topic. Politicians, consensus builders, debating teams, judge and jury situations… it’s all the same. The idea that their majority decision is incorrect is only a vague, distant possibility that is hardly worth considering and besides, that’s just sore loser talk to them. I would recommend the warmists take at least one 101-level course in one of the hard sciences (physics, chemistry, etc,) before they start forcing their belief system upon us, but I’m sure they have no interest in listening to my suggestions. Like I said, I am ALMOST tempted to cut them some slack.

Bryan A comes up with a really, really good idea, but it's not one that deniers usually favour.  He says:
September 7, 2013 at 8:54 am
Perhaps the real experiment to determine if reducing CO2 will reduce temps is not to detect increased temps through an elevated CO2 environmant but rather to take a control of ambient atmosphere and a test of reduced CO2 to see if reducing CO2 will reduce temps

John West misses the whole point in true illiterati style and says (excerpt):
September 7, 2013 at 9:12 am
The article was actually quite good until the article went off into climate change religion apology. Early on the comment is made:
“But the arguments for continental motions did not gel until the 1960s, when a drastic expansion of geophysical research, driven by the cold war, produced evidence that reopened and eventually settled the debate.” — Naomi Oreskes (Nature, 4 September 2013).
So, in Naomi Oreskes’ own words the debate on plate tectonics was settled due to EVIDENCE not CONSESUS. But then she calls for us to believe the debate on climate change should be settled because of consensus instead of evidence.


  1. Of course, what Orekes cannot admit is that the Vine-Matthews hypothesis has been thoroughly debunked by a couple of plucjky Canadian biologists who are not afraid to speak truth to the power of the Plate Tectonic team, whoare hell-bent on a mad plan to reunite "Pangea" under a one-world government.


    1. Very good. I hadn't seen that before. Perhaps we can alert Anthony Watts to the article in the hope that he'll publish it on WUWT :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Sadly, there are a couple of commenters also under Oreske's article on nature.com who don't understand that there is a relation between evidence and concensus.

    They do this in spite of Oreskes being very clear about it:

    "Consensus emerges as scientific knowledge matures and stabilizes. With some notable exceptions, scientists do not consciously try to achieve consensus. They work to develop plausible hypotheses and collect pertinent data, which are debated at conferences, at workshops and in peer-reviewed literature. If experts judge the evidence to be sufficient, and its explanation coherent, they may consider the matter settled. If not, they keep working. History enables us to judge whether scientific claims are still in flux and likely to change, or are stable, and provide a reasonable basis for action."

  4. Some of the comments at the end of your archive capture are hilarious:
    "So the Big Bang is just an article of faith amongst people who “can’t imagine” anything different. It isn’t a Law, just a consensus belief. "
    According to WUWT commenters, Big Bang THeory will be proven to be the next great hoax! Soon, it'll be quantum mechanics :) Somebody should tell Big Bang doubters about the successful prediction of the ratio of light elements by Big Bang theorists, Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, Hubble redshift and the ages of the stars. There's a difference between "it hasn't all been figured out" and "it's a consensus belief" that we should throw out. Seriously, quantum mechanics is next.

  5. So according to Monckton there actually is a scientific consensus on AGW since it is bought and paid for by the government paymasters so they can "intervene" (tell us all what to do). And also at the same time there's no consensus at all since it's only 0.3%.

    Ouch, my head hurts.

    On another note Dana responds at SKS.

    1. ha ha If your head hurts, David, imagine what sore heads the denialati must have.

      I had a science denier tweeting me today about there being no consensus on one of the main causes of ulcers (presumably stomach ulcers) until the 1980s, but following scientific discoveries published thirty years ago there now is a consensus. His conclusion - the scientific consensus based on research discoveries in climate science doesn't mean anything. Talk about twisted logic.

      He was also very confused about scientific consensus in modern physics, apparently thinking there are no areas of consensus.

      (To be fair, I believe poor old Jim Steele was under the misapprehension that there was some consensus on the cause of stomach ulcers prior to the work of Marshall and Warren thirty or so years ago. He confused the ideopathic "consensus" with scientific consensus. I can't imagine where he got his weird ideas about modern physics from though.)

  6. Plate Tectonics Theory has been found to be illogical to the formation of mountains. The only possible reason for the existence of sea creature fossils on top of mountains should be none other than Great Flood during Noah’s ark.

    The following is the extract from the website, http://www.visionlearning.com/en/library/Earth-Science/6/The-Origin..., pertaining to the origins of plate tectonic theory under the subheading, Ongoing Evidence for Plate Tectonics:

    ‘Today, much of the evidence concerning plate tectonics is acquired with satellite technology. Through use of the global positioning system (GPS) and other satellite-based data collection techniques, scientists can directly measure THE VELOCITY (or speed and direction of movement) OF PLATES on Earth’s surface. SPEEDS RANGE FROM 10 TO 100 MM PER YEAR, confirming the long-held belief that plates move at a slow but constant rate (see our module on Linear Equations for more detail on how to calculate rates of plate movement).
    The Himalayas, as it turns out, started forming about 40 million years ago when the Indian Plate collided head-on with the Eurasian Plate, shoving and folding rocks that had formed below sea level into lofty peaks. Because the Indian Plate is still moving northward, the Himalayas are still rising at a rate of about 1 cm per year. We no longer need to invoke a shrinking, wrinkled Earth to explain the marine fossils at the top of these tall mountains; it is the process of plate tectonics that continues to lift seafloor rocks to the sky.’

    My comment: As mentioned above, the velocity of plate tectonic is at a very slow speed with 10 to 100mm per year. Besides, the phrase, the Himalayas are still rising at a rate of about 1 cm per year, as mentioned above implies scientists support the continuous rising of mountain Himalaya with the speed of 1 cm per year.

    Let’s assume that the mountain Himalayas would be rising from 1 cm per year is true. As the mountain Himalaya would rise from 1 cm per year, the plain land in which living creatures reside would rise 1 cm as well. There is no reason why the plain land would remain the same high despite its nearby mountain could be risen by 1 cm. As the plain land would increase the same high as the same as the nearby mountain, the person that would stand at the mountain to measure its high would find no discrepancy even million years later. Thus, there is no reason why scientists would presume the continuous increase in high of mountain except the rising of sea level due to the simultaneous increase in high for both the mountain Himalaya as well as the plain land nearby. Indeed, the sea level all the while remains about the same high has proven the assumption of the continuous increase of mountain to be erroneous.

    The following are the extracts from website, http://library.thinkquest.org/10131/geology.html:

    ‘Soon afterwards, about 65 million years ago (Upper Eocene Period), came the second phase of mountain building. The bed of the Tethys started rising again. The sea retreated, and the sea bed was elevated into high mountain ranges.
    Later, about 25 million years ago (Middle Miocene Period) came another mountain building period which led to the formation of the low Shivalik ranges. After this, periodic mountain building phases occurred as the Indian plate pushed against the Eurasian plates which led to the Himalayan ranges rising further. The last major phase occurred 600,000 years ago.’

    My comment: As the speed of plate tectonic is at 10 to 200 mm per year as mentioned earlier, how could this slow speed have great impact upon lands to cause sea bed to be elevated into high mountain ranges? Unless the speed would be fast, the impact upon the land would be weak to cause seabed to be elevated. With such a slow speed to act upon seabed, it would be impossible for plate tectonic theory to be workable upon it to cause it to form mountains.

  7. Even if one would assume that the speed of plate tectonic upon the seabed would be fast so as to cause the rise of mountain, it might cause the concrete that is underneath the seabed to crack and turns up to have two layers of seabed and one is the upper seabed and another is the one that is underneath. The continuous exerting of pressure to cause the upper seabed to rise would result the hollow that is underneath to be formed after the crack to become broader to the ultimate collapse of the upper seabed. Thus, it seems to be that the formation of mountain through plate tectonic might seem to be unrealistic.

    As the plate tectonic theory seems to be illogical to be used to support the existence of seashells that were found on top of mountains, the only reason that we would rely upon is the existence of Noah’s ark that would have caused sea creature fossils to be deposited on mountains.

    The logic is simple that there is no reason to assume that sea creature fossils could climb up themselves to the top of mountains. The only possible reason is the strong waves as a result of Great Flood during Noah’s time that caused the seashells to be pushed up to the top of the mountains.

    The photographs about the seashells that were discovered on top of mountains:

  8. Lol. Is this a young earther or something else? I'm not au fait with this sort of stuff. Where is John Byatt?

    It really does take all sorts, doesn't it :)

    1. Sou, this is standard science denial stuff of the argument from incredulity kind. Can't believe that enormous pieces of rock bashing into one another with immense amounts of energy cannot produce mountain ranges which were once pieces of the sea bed, therefore it cannot be true. I think Zuma may have stumbled here after signing the Cornwall Alliance nonsense on climate change. The BBC recently had a series on plate tectonics, Rise Of The Continents (available on DVD), which I would recommend to Zuma. Failing that, the more dated Earth Story (also on DVD).

    2. Currently available on ABC iView, Aussies. Highly recommended. And, having started with Africa, it's our own continent on show as of tonight.

      Enjoy it while you can! Remember Dark Lord Murdoch has managed to snatch all BBC material for Foxtel as of 2014.

    3. john byatt says:
      September 16, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      john byatt says:
      September 16, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      sock puppets as well

      KEYWORDS: zuma musa, blog spammer, spam, Li Kong, Jason Tannery,
      George Toh, Nathan Jonfield, Jonathan CHM, isaac milton,
      sock puppet troll, Singapore, creationist, evolution, Charles Darwin’s
      birthday, radiometric dating, “50% of remaining rule”…

      john byatt says:
      September 16, 2013 at 11:43 pm
      best bet for name zuma musa

      “prophet for the angry god ”

      in his own mind that is

    4. Thanks John. I knew you'd be all over this sort of thing :)

      I'll leave the two posts to amuse HotWhopper readers but any more from zuma or any aliases would be overload. I would consider it trolling and in violation of comment policy.


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