Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Heeeelp! They are going to throw me in jail!" Or weird denier weirdness from Roger E. Sowell, Esq. at WUWT

Sou | 3:12 AM Go to the first of 38 comments. Add a comment
Let me out!!!

If you're taking a break from reading the new IPCC report - from Working Group II, here's a distraction for you.

Someone named Roger E. Sowell, Esq. has written an article at WUWT (archived here) to fit with Anthony's theme of the week.  If you thought deniers couldn't get any nuttier, think again. (The "Esq." just means he owns a bit of land. It could be anything from a handkerchief sized plot in a community garden to an island in the Pacific.  It also probably means he's about 110 years of age.  I haven't seen anyone add Esq. to their name in decades.)

Update: I've been informed by riverat that some people who practice law in the USA append Esq. to their name, though one source says it's bad form to append it to your own name. It's a courtesy title. Sou.

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.reckons he's a skeptic.  He makes a disclosure in keeping with his pomposity.
Disclosure: my own view after long and careful study and based on engineering, science, and mathematics, is that of a confirmed skeptic with a full understanding that carbon dioxide, CO2, does indeed absorb and emit thermal radiant energy.
What he means by that is that he accepts the science but doesn't.  He doesn't "believe" that CO2 absorption and emission means that more CO2 warms the planet.  In other words, he's a nutter.

There is more evidence underpinning my "nutter" hypothesis.
The basis for the jailing of skeptics is that many, perhaps millions, of human deaths will occur inevitably if drastic action is not taken immediately to prevent additional fossil fuel use.

First off, not many people are calling for the "jailing of skeptics", not even fake skeptics like Roger E. Sowell, Esq. Certainly not the  people he refers to (Lawrence Torcello, for example.)

Secondly, while strong action needs to be taken, I know of no rational person who expects "immediate action to prevent additional fossil fuel use" - or at least not any additional use - not immediately.  Or that if there isn't "immediate action" that many, perhaps millions, of human deaths will occur inevitably.  Although I must admit that some time over the next 120 years at least 7,000 million people are going to die.  What we do need is urgent and considered action to shift to clean energy. Roger E. Sowell Esq. missed out that part.  This is the Critical Decade. If we don't cut CO2 and shift to clean energy then it's a sure bet that a lot of people will die before their time. So he's partly right, just missing out on the bit where we are replacing a dirty, damaging energy source with clean, more renewable energy sources.

I noticed that Roger E. Sowell Esq. doesn't think the people who read WUWT have an IQ above 70, because he feels the need to explain:
By fossil fuel use, what is meant is the burning of coal and natural gas in power plants and process plants, plus burning petroleum products as transportation and heating fuel.   

I got as far as this when it became crystal clear that this wasn't any ordinary nutter. Roger E. Sowell Esq. was an "utter nutter".
In this particular case, the assertion is that those who promote research into climate change to show that no alarm is justified will cause the death of millions of people due to events such as ice caps melting, subsequent sealevel rise and coastal inundation, droughts, and heat waves.   

How many things can you find wrong with that sentence? (Apart from it being too long for people with an IQ below 70 to follow.)  How's this for starters:

Roger E. Sowell Esq. thinks that a scientist would do "research into climate change to show no alarm is justified".  Well, maybe that's not so silly.  That's what motivated Richard Muller and I guess what motivated Koch to fund his research.  At least he was scientist enough to recognise and admit that his base premise was wrong.  Not like Richard Lindzen, who just threw in the towel when he failed to find evidence for his Iris hypothesis, and took to the science denier speaking circuit.

Whereas many scientists probably wouldn't admit they were searching for evidence to support a pet hypothesis and would argue one needs an "open mind", you do need an idea to start with.  That idea might be a firm or woolly hypothesis - or it might not.  The open mind is more important when it comes to designing the research and collecting evidence.  Roger E. Sowell Esq., were he capable of designing a research project, would probably discard any evidence that he didn't like. No reputable scientist would do that.

Your other reaction might have been - WTF! Why does Roger E. Sowell Esq. think that anyone who promotes research should "cause the death of millions of people". Okay, some research has that potential.  Research into a killer virus and letting it escape the lab might conceivably do that. But climate science?  Not if it's done by a decent scientist.

I didn't bother with the rest of his article. I could see that Roger E. Sowell Esq. wandered into voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and spent most of his article talking about the ins and outs of that. Since his base premises were so flawed as to be laughable what was the point of reading further?

Evolution of a denier meme

It's an interesting development of a denier meme, just the same.  It reminds me of Recursive Fury, probably because that's been in the blog news lately.

In the first iteration a few days ago, Anthony led in with a misrepresentation of an article by a climate philosopher, wrongly claiming that he said deniers should be thrown in jail.  But the article didn't mention jail and wasn't talking about deniers. Professor Torcello was talking about people who fund disinformation campaigns. Roger E. Sowell Esq. might fit that description. I know nothing about him.

Anthony repeated his false claim in at least two other articles.  For good measure he tossed in a misrepresentation of a climate blogger and a former Archbishop.  That helped set the scene.

Now he trots out Roger E. Sowell Esq. who twists an already flawed denier meme into something even more twisted. It began with an actual suggestion that funding disinformation campaigns should be a criminal offence. That was morphed by deniers into fake sceptics should be thrown in jail. Now it's people who do climate science research to try to prove that climate science is a hoax should be thrown into jail.  It didn't take long to evolve.  It was only about 16 days in all, from start to where it is now.

By the time Anthony is finished with them, at the rate he's going, all the deniers at WUWT will be quaking in their boots, thinking they are heading for the gallows. Or at the very least, that FEMA concentration camp guards, supported by a platoon from Agenda 21 military force of the one world government, are going to knock down their door in the middle of the night and frogmarch them to Guantanamo Bay.

From the potential jailbirds at WUWT

No-one ever accused WUWT readers of being sceptical.

Owen in GA is an alarmist who says:
March 31, 2014 at 7:33 am
Stonyground says: March 31, 2014 at 7:21 am
So, in practical terms, what is this drastic action that we should be taking but are being prevented from taking due to the very existence of sceptics?
Ahh there’s the rub in it all. If you read the literature of some of the players, the answer is to MURDER 9/10 ths of the world population, destroy all industrial conveniences and live as our stone-age ancestors did. (Except for a small cadre of “elites” who would have all the modern convenience to better “guide” over the stone age remainder.)
I wish the above was sarcasm, but it is the unfortunate reality of what we are up against.

Neo may not be aware of the L'Aquila jailings or the witch hunt after our own floods in Brisbane and says:
March 31, 2014 at 7:47 am
There is a slippery slope to linking scientific research and predictions to legal culpability.
Just imagine the possible litigation from a weather report that understands or overstates the level of precipitation.
Of course, the horror of horrors would be to extend this level of culpability to political promises.

Ronald says "there wright!":
March 31, 2014 at 8:07 am
Can’t do I think there is a bit of a problem. To go to court and claim skeptics are a danger for humans by dismissing climate change they must proof there wright. On the other hand skeptics get the change to proof there wright to.
Don’t think models stand a change a gains real life data so there must be a real stupid judge out there for the alarmist to win that one.

Chuck says:
March 31, 2014 at 8:12 am
I see the call by climate alarmists that skeptics should be imprisoned as simply another indication that CAGW is a religion for them. Skeptics are the heretics of the CAGW religion and the call for imprisonment is a modern Inquisition.

Oh, this is a long one - and I didn't read it before writing the above, believe it or not (it's true!) Think how much the deniers have been squawking lately at the suggestion some of them are paranoid conspiracy theorists.  R. de Haan talks about a mortal struggle and more - and says:
March 31, 2014 at 7:22 am
Roger, thank you very much for your excellent article.
At te same time I would like to ask you if there is a case to take on the UN and all in support for abuse of science and scare mongering promoting punishing caps, taxes and restrictions of fossil fuel use and social behavior manipulations to execute their UN Agenda 21 which in principle is a centralist take over (coup) of the entire world, it’s economies, it’s financial system, it’s resources, you name it.
Now this would be a productive move that would bring us forward instead of defending our views with our back against the wall.
I have come to the conclusion that we have arrived in a mortal struggle for the survival of our western civilization and thought it was better to check for legal options before we blow up the world because that’s where we’re heading if these idiots continue to push their insane plans.
In fact we already have numerous human deaths as a direct result from the US and EU bio fuel mandate which triggered the Arab Spring Revolution started as food protests and energy poverty is already killing numerous people, even in the Western nations.
The practices of the totally corrupted UN is going to turn very ugly soon if we don’t undertake something more structural than trying to establish a dialogue with the warmists, an initiative I gave up years ago.
I know this question is in the same category as ” Could a lawyer have stopped the Nazi’s from starting WWII and root out the Jews” but still.
Here we have a bunch of crazies destroying Western civilization by raping science and bribing politicians, NGO’s and scientists while they completely wreck our economies leaving written and physical evidence all over the place.
I am looking forward to your response.

Roger E. Sowell Esq. hasn't responded yet.  However at the bottom of his WUWT article he wrote that he's touting for business. It takes no imagination to guess why he has to resort to free advertising on WUWT.
Specific legal advice is available from Mr. Sowell and anyone who seeks such advice is encouraged to contact Mr. Sowell.

PS This article is for real.  It's not an April Fools Day joke.


  1. Sowell got one thing right, the average IQ of a WUWT commenter is less than 70.

  2. Because of the whole criminal negligence issue, I now have the dubious honour of two mentions on WUWT. It seems that one thing AW will never forgive is failing to moderate a comment he dislikes quickly enough. Admittedly, I haven't been inundated with email like Lawrence Torcello has. AW claims to know who I am but I now really doubt that, as I can't imagine that he wouldn't have leaked my info if he did.

    1. Don't care about that. Your place has become a quite civil one to discuss, even if the exchanges can be a bit heated. Considering that you manage to stay calm with Richard T(r)ol and push your points rationally, you have earned lots of Internet points.
      Watts can bluster all he wants, I don't care. I still follow closely your thoughts and the ones that can be exchanged.

    2. It was a low act of Anthony to refer to you twice as allowing a comment, while at the same time letting people know you *didn't* allow it (ie you deleted it). Typical of Anthony. Typical of his crowd that some of them chose to ignore the fact that you deleted it, too.

      Anyway, he's a fine one to talk. The comments Anthony allows on his blog you wouldn't even see at your place (except from a stray angry denier).

      If it's anything like here, the comments you'd delete might be too much for some of us, but they aren't a patch on the sort of ugliness Anthony permits at his place.

    3. Thanks to both of you. Sou, I noticed that you had an earlier post about this that I missed until after writing this comment.

  3. Delightful to discover a man with both the scientific knowledge to oppose every prestigious scientific body on the planet and - if that were not enough - also the legal training necessary to advise others.

    I see that he runs his own law blog. Odd: I would have thought that if he was a lawyer he'd use a string of letters after his name rather than Esq. But never mind, no doubt we have just found the top law blog on next year's bloggies.

  4. I think that appending Esq. to your name is something some lawyers do here in the USA if they want to sound highfaluting.

    1. Ah: from Wikipedia:

      "In the United States, the nominal suffix "Esquire" or "Esq." generally designates individuals licensed to practice law."

    2. Oh - it's a cultural idiosyncrasy. Thanks.

    3. Yes, you can give Roger a pass on this even if he got a lot of other things wrong. US lawyers don't gave lovely initials like QC to put after their names, and until recently you could qualify for the bar by "reading the law" so you couldn't even call yourself JD. When I started practice in the '70's, lawyers in my area generally called themselves Esq when writing or signing something professionally. There was even a big discussion about whether women lawyers could use Esq or whether it was reserved for males. Now lawyers use the title Esq or Attorney, and no one much cares.

  5. "Before opening his law office, he worked for 20 years in more than 75 refineries and petrochemical plants in a dozen countries on four continents."

    1. .. and now saving Western Civilization as a refinery defense attorney

    2. Goodness me. A chemical process engineer (they do crop up!) turned petrochemical industry lawyer. No hint of potential bias there then.

      I didn't look at the WUWT post, so I don't know if this informative background about the author was appended to the article but I'm guessing not.

      If so, it's a good thing David Sanger is a proper sceptic who checks sources. Imagine the confusion that might have arisen if Esq. was taken as authoritative and objective. It doesn't bear thinking about.

    3. Hi BBD,

      Don't be too hard on Chemical Process Engineers - they should have an exellent understanding of heat and mass transfer plus even more importantly, without them there ain't no solutions to any of this mess.

      VTG (Chemical process engineer)

    4. If only they were all as clear on the topic of physical climatology as you, VTG...

      But apologies if I have offended your professional honour ;-)

    5. BBD,

      it's not you offending my professional honour, it's those in the profession who spout nonsense. Incidentally, it was reading nonsense written by a Chem Eng that got me interested in the subject.

      On a very slightly more serious note, Sou, Eli, yourself and others also aren't averse to a little engineer bashing from time to time.

      Here's what an actual engineering institute has to say on the subject:

      Governments and industry must work together to accelerate research and application on a large scale of efficiency improvements, cleaner and renewable energy, including nuclear, and the introduction of new low carbon materials and processes – or future generations will condemn us for our obstinate folly

      (my emphasis)

      I'd call that a pretty forthright rejection of the denier position.

      http://www.icheme.org/media_centre/news/2013/chemical engineers back climate warning.aspx

    6. VTG

      I will cease and desist with even my gentle variant of the engineer bash. It's a bad habit that has crept up on me over the last couple of years. I'm occasionally moved to speak up for engineers - somewhat the unsung heroes of our constructed world - so really, I should know better, even in jest.

    7. BBD,

      jest? With Engineers?

      OK, so there's a mechanical, electronic and civil engineer discussing the meaning of life. The mechanical engineer asserts

      "God must be a mechanical engineer. No-one else could have designed the human body, the most amazing mechanical device"

      The electronic engineer disagrees
      "No way. God must be an electronic engineer. The human brain is the ultimate electronic apparatus"

      The civil engineer knows best though.

      "God has to be a civil engineer. No-one else would put the waste disposal right next to the recreation area"

    8. VTG - I'm sorry to you and all engineers who I might have offended. I'll try to remember in future to qualify any generalisations I make based on the composition of deniers at places like WUWT. There are many,many more engineers employed than climate scientists. (Still engineers do dominate at places like WUWT compared to other scientific/technical professions.)

      Engineers are going to help us survive this mess. I suspect most of the engineer deniers are using the word "engineer" very loosely. A lot of them probably don't have the sort of qualifications that would grant them entry to any professional association.

      I wonder - could the professional engineering associations do more to show that deniers are a fringe group, not the mainstream? Something for me to investigate. I'll add it to my to do list.

      As a start: Engineers Australia have had a policy statement on climate change and energy since February 2008 (at least). It could be stronger though.

    9. No apology needed- in my experience people who get offended choose to do so for their own advantage (eg deniers supposedly offended at being called deniers...)

      A piece on actual engineers opinions would be interesting - here's the IChemE position for you


      I wouldn't necessarily agree with all of it, but it's broadly sensible.

    10. That's a great idea. No promises. Call it a maybe :)

    11. However late and piecemeal the effort might be, engineers are going to be crucial in getting us out of the holes we're driving into. Given the money I've no doubt they're up to the job.

      Ah, there's the rub ...

    12. Sowell is apparently a big fan of Dr. Pierre Latour of the sky dragon/Principia crowd whose bizarre ideas on CO2 are soundly criticized by other chemical engineers

  6. It may soon become received wisdom for AGW deniers that scientists are already in jails across the world for proposing anti-AGW climate research (yes, they really do believe there are two kinds, pro and anti. I've seen no end of evidence in my time). They already believe that legions of honest scientists have been sacked and ostracised for doing just that, so why not? When none can be identified it means the prisons are secret, of course.

    Maybe there was one of these secret FEMA climate jails in the Benghazi embassy! That would explain everything, including Al Gore's presence on the day in question! This thing writes itself ...

    1. of course: Lindzen, Christy and Spencer are rotting in an airless, underground IPCC torture-box (when they're not being wheeled out to provide media "balance").

    2. Given the typical age of our 'friends of tobacco' its not beyond the bounds of probability that several - by coincidence - could go to meet the great intelligent designer in the sky all at roughly the same time. Imagine the conspiracy theories then.

  7. " Not like Richard Lindzen, who just threw in the towel when he failed to find evidence for his Iris hypothesis, and took to the science denier speaking circuit."

    That's it, in a nutshell ! Well said !

    From Science in a Vacuum to Science by Rhetoric

  8. Call in and say hello Sou

    Geoff Henley commented:
    "Hotwhopper is simply not a credible website. A consultant with an MBA who simply spins and distorts reality. http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/why-few-find-sou-at-hot-whopper-to-be-credible/ You'll have to much better than that."
    To add your say go to http://theconversation.com/the-ipcc-has-spelled-out-the-risks-now-what-do-we-do-24792

    1. Congrats, Sou; the credulous think you're incredible. The rest of us just think you're great :)

  9. Your libelous statements about me are noted, saved, and filed.

    Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
    May 1, 2014 at 5:42 pm PDT

    1. Welcome to HotWhopper, Roger. If I misinterpreted any of your (mis)interpretations or made any other errors about you I will happily correct them. You'll have to be more specific though.

    2. Roger is just trying to bully you into submission, Sou. He knows he has no case whatsoever.

    3. Oh do, do! Sowell, do sue Sou! The nuttiness cannot be exposed too much!

    4. Well, Roger gets page views from this. Turns out he follows two blogs, WTFUWT, and "Energy Guy's Musings". The second one is run by Roger Sowell, Esq. A broadly read man.

    5. Actually, being mentioned on HotWhopper may increase Roger's standing in the circles he frequents - i.e., the denialists - so perhaps Sou should send him an invoice for PR work.

      Sou, thanks for reading this crap so the rest of us don't have to.

  10. Bernard J. (X1,X2,...Xn)May 3, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Oo, the recent postings here have reminded me that I meant to tell Sou that I used to sign off with "Esq" over at the rabbet's place... just to parody Monckton and his ilk who find it necessary to append such small-dick nonsense to their names.

    And before erupts in self-righteous umbrage, I'd like to let him know that I have more letters after my name than in it.

  11. Bernard J. (X1,X2,...Xn)May 3, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    ...before Roger E. Sowell, Esq. erupts...


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