Saturday, February 21, 2015

Climate science as portrayed by a disinformer, Christopher Essex

Sou | 10:39 AM Go to the first of 84 comments. Add a comment

Here's a test for you, denier style. Can you pick an ice age from this chart?

Anthony Watts has posted a video of a lecture that Chris Essex gave to a crowd of deniers (archived here). (Well, I don't know if there was a crowd there or if he was giving his talk to an empty room.) I didn't get as far as his main point, which apparently is a strange claim that climate can't be modeled. He's wrong, of course. Climate is being modeled - and amazingly well, if you ask me. Scientists are now working on the next phase of climate modeling - CMIP6.

I watched the first few minutes of the video. Chris doesn't strike me as a deep thinker. Or maybe it's just that he thought he was talking to a bunch of nincompoops.

Chris Essex on consensus

Here is one of his choice quotes:
Scientific thinking is about things and political thinking is about what other people are doing so they are very different things. So consensus is the wrong way to think about a scientific question.

Yep, you can disregard all that scientists have found out about physics, chemistry and biology - after all, scientific knowledge gets built up on what is agreed as existing knowledge (ie consensus). Therefore it must all be a giant hoax. Not.

Chris Essex on the temperature of Earth

Chris showed a picture of a thermometer in a shoe box and said that's how people think about climate. "well, there's just one thermometer and we know that it's got to heat up" - Huh?

He went on to claim insight into people's minds:
".. in people's minds what the earth is, is really this one giant hot brick that's floating in orbit around the earth (sic), and its got one temperature and that's that's that's basically what's happening." (video link)

"They" will never show you a thermometer...

He continues, talking about "they" (in the style of the conspiracy theorist):
If that's true then there should be something called the global thermometer. One of the things that you'll never ever see in any of the temperature plots that they have (is) a thermometer. So they will never show you a thermometer, what they will show you is, show you is a small variation over time in so-called temperature. And it will be in tenths of a degree. And what that is is not actually measured in terms of temperature like degrees Celsius kind of temperature but, ah, it's always a deviation from some average which is usually a 30-year average, and that's called an anomaly coordinate. So it's not an actual temperature. So what I'm going to show you... (video link)

And Chris proceeded to put up photos of thermometers to demonstrate how he can't tell the difference between the average global surface temperatures in 1988, 1998 and 2014.

Neither could you, is the message from Chris! It's no big deal that the earth is warming up.

For comparison, here is a chart of global surface temperature changes over the past 134 years. I've marked the years 2014, 1998 and 1988 to help Chris out. I'll even throw in a thermometer, since he complains of never seeing one on a temperature plot :)

Data Source: NASA

 "Why does Chris Essex use the Celsius scale?" you might ask. Why not use Kelvin?

Let's go back to the question I started with. Were you able to tell the difference between now and the last glacial maximum?

I wonder if Christopher Essex can tell the difference?

Now let's see if you can tell the difference going back 500 million years.

What does the above chart show? It shows most of the Phanerozoic eon from the hottest hothouse periods to the cold ice ages. It covers the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras. It shows the period covering what are known as the five major extinctions.

It's quite fascinating to see how science deniers view the surface temperature changes on Earth. It does make you wonder why so many deniers are scared stiff of an ice age comething, doesn't it.

I watched a little bit more of the video and decided it wasn't worth continuing. Chris was merely pontificating about how he doesn't "believe" climate science. And I think he geared his talk to children aged three or less (most of whom would have left the room after about three minutes, from boredom, or from annoyance at the childish approach.)

BTW Christopher Essex teaches maths at the University of Western Ontario, in between pretending to be some sort of "expert" for the Heartland Institute, "advising" the Global Warming Policy Foundation and generally denying climate science. He is also listed as the Chairman and sole member of the Climatology Panel of some mickey mouse "organisation" that grandly calls itself the "World Federation of Scientists".


  1. Who knew!

    Dr Inferno had this graphing stuff covered _years_ ago.


  2. Essex teaches *math* ?!?!


    Note how they treat missing data. That's not just wrong. It is deliberately gaming the system.

    I feel sad for his students at UWO.

    1. Uwo student here, currently sitting in essex's class, he is a very poor teacher. Constantly laughing and saying that what he's doing is "obvious" or "pointless" or "too easy", very snarky, arragont and basically the biggest fuck-boy I've ever had as a teacher.

  3. UWO Nerenberg Lecture, an invited lecture.
    "The Nerenberg Lecture Series recognizes accomplished people having extraordinary and authentic things to say to a broad audience on the great ideas of our age relating to science and mathematics." (It usually has prize-winning speakers.)

    2001 Fred Singer, definitely invited by Essex (with help from McKitrick).

    2009 Sallie Baliunas, inviter unknown.

    2012 "The Courtier's Conundrum - How does the non-expert adviser advise expertly?" is video of the talk, introduced by Essex ... and featuing none other than Viscount Monckton in this prestigious lecture.

    Here is the writeup on the lecture, which jiust happened to have been caught by the Wayback Machine, because:
    a) That file disappeared AND
    b) Searching the UWO website for Monckton finds no mention of him.

    On the other hand:
    Google: university of western ontario nerenberg monckton
    finds quite a few hits, including Monckton's efforts as Obama "birhter" based on his computer skills.

    Jeffrey Shallitg had useful commentary:
    " Believe it or not, the Department of Applied Mathematics at University of Western Ontario, located in London, Ontario, invited the loony Christopher Monckton to give a prestigious invited lecture, the Nerenberg lecture, last March. Previous speakers included Roger Penrose.

    In addition to being a pompous twit, Monckton is famous for global warming denial and, in his latest schtick, claiming that Obama's birth certificate is fraudulent.

    My source tells me that the invitation to Monckton came from Chris Essex, professor of the department, and another global warming denier. Most of the Department boycotted the talk, I was told.

    If anybody attended the talk, I would like to hear about it. This is really a disgrace. "

    Tom Harris shows up in the lively discussion that ensued.

  4. Oops, more ... do watch the first *5* minutes, in which Essex praises Monckton as a polymath and says other good things of him. Monckton then speaks /does Q&A for ~100 minutes.

  5. Given the comments in the Chris Essex entry at the 'Rate My Professors' website, (second-lowest rating amongst applied maths teachers at UWO), it's not surprising that the video is boring enough to put bricks to sleep. A Heartland-connected denier from way back.

  6. If Chris Essex is a maths teacher he must be aware that he is talking woo. That does not show much integrity. Is he talking to an empty room?

    I could not watch it all. Too long and too boring. But I got the impression he never quite finished his points with anything concrete. So he described how a (real) greenhouse worked but never quite linked it to the greenhouse effect. I think by inference you were expected to believe the greenhouse effect did not exist. And he looked at a list of unsolved maths problems. Again, I think you were supposed to infer that because there were these unsolved maths problems somehow climate science was unsolved. Or something. I can just see climate scientists thinking "How should I solve this climate problem? I know - how about this list of unsolved maths problems. That will do the trick."

    I see the GWPF logo on the screen so perhaps we should not expect any science.

    It would be interesting to know if he was given a fee for producing this.

  7. To answer your question, that entire chart covers the current ice age.

  8. Is there something with applied mathematics..? There is another "interesting character" in that field with "insight" in climate science and physics (Claes Johnson)

  9. See also: Why don’t you use zero on your global temperature graphs? You are lying with statistics!!!

    In the FAQ here: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/about/

  10. Sou, I enjoy your writing and I learn a lot. I don't have a science background but I do muddle through it to understand things best I can. I try to stay humble with it all as I realize the more I learn, the more I don't know. Every answered question leads to many new unanswered questions.

    Your novel approach of calling out the climate science "deniers" helps me to better understand the mainstream science. It also helps to understand this libertarian approach to public life of trying to win an argument at all costs.

    The term pseudoscience comes up a lot. I came across the term "folk psychology" recently and thought instead of pseudoscience, "folk science" better applies to the science "denier" community. From Wikipedia, it says "the folk content of a conversation should be relevant, informative, and fitting of the audience's gap in knowledge. Cognizant of this, the Conversational Model indicates that the explainer, upon evaluation of his audience, will modify his explanation to cater their needs."

    On the other side, I like to think we are self aware of our "gap in knowledge" and do not proceed forward until we have struggled to make that gap a little smaller, always aware that the gap is still there.

    1. I am not sure where you are going with this.

      Just because science is incomplete is no reason not to "proceed forward".

    2. Science to its practitioners is not about 'answers' it is formulating questions to intelligently address what we do not know by experiment and observation.
      This builds on our pathetic understanding of our reality by small but agreed upon facts that leads to a consensus of the current best theories that fit the available evidence. If the evidence changes we change the theories.
      Scientific theories are never set in stone or any sort of dogma.
      Current Cosmology is a good example. Dark Matter and Dark Energy is 96% of the mass of our Universe. The bits that make us and all the glowing stuff we can see is only 4%! We do not know what the other 96% is, yet!
      The evidence for Dark Matter is the anomalous rotation of galaxies and galaxy clusters. Gravitational lensing that shows far more mass than could exist compared to the visible stuff is further proof.
      Dark Energy or the Cosmological Constant first invoked by Einstein as his biggest blunder has been shown to be a fact by measurements that show the Universe's expansion is accelerating.
      The best current measurements show that our Universe has a net ZERO energy! It indeed came from nothing!
      The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation variability has given very good proof for the concept of Inflation when the very early Universe expanded at faster than the speed of light.
      We do have a problem with the mathematics. It seems that the mathematical predicted Cosmological Constant or the production of Dark Energy in OUR Universe is many orders of magnitude to high by a factor of about ten to the hundred plus to what we can actually measure.
      String Theory can resolve this puzzle as it predicts in the order of ten to the five hundred power of possible Universes.
      It seems that for us to exist to contemplate our Universe the conditions are just correct out of all the possible universes.
      The mathematics tells us that there is an infinite number of infinite Universes. We inhabit just one. If our Universe is infinite then there is an infinite number of Earths just like ours. along with an infinite number of all of us.
      If you thought that AGW was complex and unknowable!


    3. Bert, as a practitioner I would say science IS about answers as it is also about formulating questions. The suggestion that science isn't about answers but only about formulating questions is catnip for the misinterpretation that we never know anything. In fact AGW isn't really complex at all I would have thought (depends on the level one wishes to address the subject) and certainly isn't unknowable.

    4. That was my point! Bert

    5. OK Bert excellent...!

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I'm as shocked as Claude Rains was when he found out gambling was going on in Rick's Café Américain in 'Casablanca'.

    2. I think the big issue is not so much that he was on the take but that he failed repeatedly to disclose the relationship(s). If I read the NYT article correctly, this is a relationship of quid quo pro with clear intend to conceal. I wonder what his defense will be? "I was just doing it for the money?" Yeah! That's the ticket.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Understood Sou, but Soon did promise to represent the general interests of his funders ( many using the cloak of Donor's Trust) in his papers and all manner of forums and that those actions were tied implicitly to that funding is of today a matter of record.
    Despite all this I agree that I was acting irresponsibly toward you and I have deleted the comments.

    1. Thanks for understanding, PG. I don't mind what's said here about individuals (or science), as long as it's backed up with evidence or links to a reputable source (as you've done).

      The article at the Guardian and in the NY Times are fairly clear (they can afford the legal fees that I can't :D)

      I'll add back your quote, which was from the Guardian:

      From 2005, Southern Company gave Soon nearly $410,000. In return, Soon promised to publish research about the sun’s influence on climate change in leading journals, and to deliver lectures about his theories at national and international events, according to the correspondence.

      The funding would lead to “active participations by this PI (principal investigator) of this research proposal in all national and international forums interested in promoting the basic understanding of solar variability and climate change”, Soon wrote in a report to Southern Company.

    2. I am going to be quite honest here: if he promised to write papers and promised to present his work at conferences, he did not do anything wrong in that regard. When I write research proposals to foundations, I am generally expected to indicate how many papers I think may come out, and also indicate whether I intend to present the results at conferences.

      Not disclosing this funding in publications and presentations is, however, inappropriate.

    3. I have to agree with Marco in the general sense. In none of my research grants/contracts did I ever promise to discover "X" or show "Y" to be true (or false) as directed by the sponsor's bias and independent of collateral evidence. Without reading the full context of the Soon controversy, I must give him the benefit of the doubt and assume his research was directed (by the sponsor) at putting best light on theories that something other than CO2 is causing the observed global climate change. However, I think the more important and insidious problem is the failure of Soon to disclose his relationship with his sponsors, which now casts doubt on the integrity of Soon as a researcher. The integrity of his research is decided by the scientific community through the current "process of science" and we can see already that his theories do not hold much support from scientists or the evidence.

    4. OF course, WUWT will be furious should it transpire that a scientist has been taking advantage of their gullibility and publishing fossil fuel industry inspired drivel that they have then been foolishly parroting.

      Or they will, if they are not another fossil fuel industry disinformation outfit. Time will tell: my money is on no fury at all.

    5. One other comment about "deliverables". This term does not bother me too much in a general sense. I've had plenty of R&D contracts (and grants) with the DoD that reference deliverables (a report, a tabulation, compilation, running a conference or meeting, instrument to be designed/fabricated, data to be collected, etc.) and many, many CLINs (contract line item number) spelling out details of the contract in well-defined line-by-line format. No deliverable or CLIN I've had has specifically directed the research to show something that is not scientifically valid and defensible by the evidence. So, ignore the term "deliverable" and look at "what did the contract specify the deliverable to be." If it says something like "investigate the relationship between solar cycles, CO2 and observed climate processes" leaving the conclusion open, fine. If it says "investigate the relationship between solar cycles, CO2 and observed climate processes and, no matter what you find, write papers showing that CO2 is not the culprit" then ... not fine! The big problem is a written deliverable that says one thing and a behind the scenes handshake that says something else. I fear this is what has been happening since Soon did not disclose his funding source, but how does on prove it (in a court of law)?

    6. The declaration issue is the one that will likely sink Soon. Retractions may follow, especially if any investigation does turn up what looks obvious tonthebrest of us: conflict of interests were not declared. Once retractions happen, the denial side won't be able to quote those papers. Oh, wait. Facts like that won't stop them.

    7. Not declaring an interest is not sufficient reason to retract a paper. Papers are retracted rarely, and usually for one of only a few reasons. For example:

      Sometimes authors request a retraction because they subsequently discovered a fundamental error;

      The journal may retract a paper because it was made aware of:
      - a fundamental flaw serious enough to warrant retraction;
      - plagiarism
      - research misconduct
      - duplicate publication
      - outright fraud
      - publication errors (on the part of the journal).

      A lot of research on retractions seems to be in bio-medical and life sciences. I don't know if journals on these subjects have the most retractions or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did - in part just because of the sheer volume of papers in these areas. (In other words, on a percentage basis these fields might not be any worse than any other field. I don't know.)





      Oh - and it looks as though people continue to cite papers that have been retracted:


    8. The biggest pitfall of commenting on-line anonymously is that one tends to promote oneself beyond one's competence ( I do that even when I use my full name). I must bow to the experience of Marco and Johnathan in this matter as I have never published (although I did write a well received honours (BA) thesis in 1982 about something or other - I can't remember the subject but who gives a shit, it was a BA)

      Here are some things to think about. If say one was an outlying scientist (which is often a good thing to be) one would automatically shoulder a heavy burden of proof that one was a serious practitioner. Why then be would one degrade one's already precipitous position by

      aligning oneself with the anti-science George C Marshall Institute and

      the anti-science Heritage Foundation,

      have Jim Inhofe as the president of your fan club and

      co-author a paper with Screaming Lord Such of Wapping?

      There is no evidence at all that Soon has attracted funding from from any traditional funding source but we must not read anything into that.
      Now the FOI application reveals that Soon has received nearly all his funding from large carbon combustors in his otherwise unfunded position at that Harvard-ish Smithsonian-ish joint he's got printed on his business card .
      You can justifiably read anything you bloody-well like into that.

    9. Soon's one-sided, vested interest funding sources are reason to look closely and question what Soon has published. However it's not funding per se, it's the content of his papers that his work is judged on from a scientific perspective. He tends to publish his most questionable papers in little known, low impact journals, and coauthor with ratbag deniers like Christoper Monkton, who have no scientific expertise, and in journals known for publishing rubbish (like E&E).


      Some of his papers are ignored, others attract comments/rebuttals showing what's wrong with them. Papers that do cite his work are often written by himself or other deniers, for example:



      So he's clearly got virtually no credibility when it comes to climate science - not by proper climate scientists.

      As far as his scientific work is concerned, he chose to take a certain path - that he'll probably never recover from in the field of science. (I was going to write "professionally", but that would raise the question of what is his chosen profession.)

      From his CV of his early days, I'd guess he could have been a top researcher had he chosen to do so. He didn't so he's not.


      What this kerfuffle is about, IMO, is discrediting him in the eyes of the general public and discrediting the organisations who tout him as credible - eg Heartland Institute, George C. Marshall Institute etc. The inference is that he's paid to write what he does - but that's just for the general public who are not in a position to assess the quality of his published work. So that when anyone says "Willie Soon said...", anyone who's heard of him will respond "oh yeah, that's like saying the fossil fuel lobby groups said...", and dismiss it.

      The parallel is when deniers say that you can't trust scientists who work for the guvmint because they only write what the guvmint wants them to say. It's the same approach turned around on one of the darlings of the denialati.

      Thing is, though, that much of Soon's work doesn't stand up to scientific scrutiny. I mean it's not "the sun" that's causing global warming. It's the extra greenhouse gases.

    10. Sou, not declaring your funding sources can be considered scientific misconduct, especially when your findings fit into the business profile of those funding agencies. Nonetheless, this is one of those cases where it is up to the journal to decide how important omission of the information is. Usually additional issues may push towards retraction. This could well happen with Monckton et al, considering it not only omits Soon's funding, but also misrepresents the FAR, and has other mistakes in the figures and the equations, and correction of those errors will significantly change the conclusions of the paper. Most journals would kindly ask the authors to retract themselves in order to not embarrass the Editors into having to retract the paper.

    11. Yeah, that may be so, Marco - the bit about declaring funding sources. That's a matter of ethics and requirements of particular journals. (Could be often a consideration in medical research, too, I'd think. Eg declaring research funded by a pharma company.)

      However, that's not what I was getting at. It's not funding sources that determine the validity or otherwise of research - it's the research itself. The ethical side of things may discredit a person from an integrity perspective. However, it's the research itself which is what determines the credibility of the science, not who pays for it.

    12. Just to back up Jonathan's point, "deliverables" is a term we use when submitting our Environmental Assessments/Environmental Impact Statements to industrial clients who have paid us to do the assessments of their property when they want to develop or expand on their property.

      It doesn't mean we tell the clients what they want to hear---in fact, my sections of the report are often "bad" news for the client that will require them to implement expensive and time-consuming avoidance measures; and at the rate we're adding new species at risk or species of concern I doubt we'll ever not have "bad" news for clients.

      As an aside, all our "deliverables" are reviewed very thoroughly by both provincial and federal agencies such as Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Environment Canada, and sometimes subjected to gap analysis (i.e. what info did we miss and need to address in future work before the client can proceed).

      This type of peer review involves sitting down with the clients and assorted government people in a room where the gov't people try to tear apart your work, and you try to defend it; they evaluate your competence as a scientist/specialist in your field, while the client evaluates your (and your company's) competence in handling his company's multi-million dollar contracts.

      Very stressful. I'm fortunate in that I've been around long enough to be a recognized expert in my small area so I don't get as much of a grilling the senior scientists do. That, and I left to become a subcontractor so I can turn down any of their projects that look like they might be nightmarish. I'm also fortunate in that the company that hired me (and now I subcontract for) don't push us to present favourable results ("it is what it is").

      We don't need to specifically declare our funding sources because it is quite obvious who is funding us, but if we were ever to present an EA/EIS without declaring who funded the work the first question we'd be asked would be "who paid for this?" (and our reputations would lose quite a few points as it would look like we were trying to hide something).

      To sum, I see nothing wrong with the term "deliverables" as it is a standard term in the industry and does not necessarily mean it is slanted in favour of the clients who pay for it to be done. Not declaring funding sources though is obviously poor form (to understate it mildly).

    13. The term "deliverables" doesn't bother me.

      However, giving the coal company funding the research the right to vet the work before publication, and to "suggest" changes to it before submission, makes me suspicious regarding Soon's willingness to write up any research that they might not care to see published.

      Unknown thus far is whether or not the coal company has the right, in their tidy little relationship with Soon, to block publication of research they've funded if they don't like the results.

    14. "Deliverables" is an unfortunate management jargon term that permeates many research grant contracts. However I agree with others that in itself it doesn't indicate misconduct. The problem arises from the context of the use of the term - is the granting body expecting a particular outcome, or are they simply expecting a report of the result of the work?

      In the past I've been involved in research funded by a commercial company to test whether on of their pharmaceuticals exhibited a particular effect. It didn't, and we told them. There was no pressure for a favourable result, and none was given. Our "deliverable" was unprejudiced and objective.

      Soon delivered a result that contradicts just about all the evidence and the conclusions of professionals with greater expertise than himself. It seems to accord excessively with the commercial interest of his sponsors given the evidence used to draw the conclusions, and the language usage that surrounds his funding agreements appears to reflect the fact that the result was a pre-determined one not representative of the physics of planetary warming. Soon appears to have "delivered" a propaganda "deliverable" and not a scientific one. That's not good scientific practice.

      In my world not only is his non-disclosure to the journals a serious breach of professional standards, the conduct of his work itself is tainted with the stench of inappropriate behaviour. I'm pleased to see that the matter is finally garnering wide international scrutiny.

    15. Deliverables would have been introduced to make sure at least one report was produced from the research project. (I knew a couple of scientists where were very slack in that regard - going back in time.)

      Yes the word is commonly used in management. I almost invariably include a deliverables section in a consulting proposal. The deliverables almost always are a report of the project, and may include interim deliverables such as workshops or training sessions.

      The specific findings themselves are never ever listed as a deliverable. (I wouldn't take on a project if they were.) The deliverable will often be the production of a list of (as yet undetermined) findings and recommendations. What those findings and recommendations may be will be determined by the research itself, and won't be known until the analysis is completed.

  14. I am also aware that the Australian defo laws are much stricter that those of the US. My offending comment which I cut from my NYT comment and pasted to HW was in moderation at the NYT for 3 hours before its publication.

  15. Are Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, Heartland Climate Conferences and Ayrn Rand Institute meetings science conferences?
    In any case, see “I am a climate scientist, not a prostitute.” and watch the whole talk if you can, delivered to an audience at Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. What fraction of that audience would have the expertise to evaluate this scientifically? He "p[roves" that sea level rise is no real problem, and he quotes a lot of interesting sources, well-received by the audience. How many of them could check the actual articles?

    The funders of this work got a tax-break in US for doing so.

  16. All the fuss about CO2 and temperature is meaningless anyway.

    When you play out the scenarios for human survival and emissions the result is the same.

    1) Emissions rise and the earth gets warmer and we become extinct along with many speciaes.
    2) We find a way to reduce emissions using renewable energy, but renewable energy doesn't run out, so we keep increasing our population until we exhaust every last food resource on the planet, then we become extinct along with many species.

    The question we need to ask is which of the above two outcomes is better from a planetary perspective ?. It's quite possible that option 1 will be less damaging for the earth overall.

    1. I don't agree with the doomsayer alarmism of "the result is the same". Population growth will stretch our ingenuity, however food is renewable. The concern is whether we will be able to continue to produce more/enough to match population growth. It is likely that the menu will change over time - depending on our ability to breed plants that suit changed climates.

      Also, humans are a very adaptable species.

    2. "Also, humans are a very adaptable species. "

      Yes, and this is why we will probably find ways to increase our numbers until the environment cannot sustain us and we destroy most of the earth's ecosystem.

      Personally, I think that the warmer earth scenario is preferable as it may limit population growth as a kind of natural hand brake, preventing us from destroying the entire planet. Fossil fuel is also finite, so perhaps once these resources are depleted the population may self regulate to a lower sustainable level.

      However, If you consider a world where be decouple from nature by using limitless renewable energy and our environment remains hospitable for population expansion, then in a sense we unshackle ourselves from nature's population control hand brakes.

      In other words, perhaps the warming effect is what nature intended ?

    3. We have already disconnected from 'natural' inhibitors of our multiplication beyond resources. We are all on the precipice as the remaining resources just cannot supply us all as we are currently using two Earths worth of sustainable resources.

      Good luck with adapting to a world where we have trashed our life support systems.


  17. I think that if you claim to be a scientist then you would stop 'slandering' people. The word 'denier' was first used in an article as 'holocaust denier' and popularized by Al Gore. There is no reason to slander other scientists - just make your point with math/science. Stop slandering people. They also have a right to their opinions as you do. Just stop the slander - you are contributing to the PC battle going on in science.

    1. slander is not defined as pointing out that someone denies science.


    2. Anyone who denies accepted science is a science denier - whether its the science of biology or climate or whatever. It is neither slander nor libel to so label them.



      If the cap fits, wear it. Otherwise there's no reason to take offense.

      BTW - I do not claim to be a research scientist.

    3. "They also have a right to their opinions as you do. "

      No. Not when those opinions are contradicted by the available facts, and not when those opinions will result in severe consequences if we listen to them. Those aren't opinions---those are lies, and dangerous ones at that.

    4. how about we refer to them as "those unconvinced by a preponderance of scientific evidence"?

      does that sound less offensive?


    5. now that I think about it, can we turn that into a catchy acronym, one that will become an internet meme?


    6. The word "denier", as someone who denies, is said to be traced back to Middle English, 1350 to 1400. Well before Al Gore was born.

      (BTW I'd be very surprised if Anonymous was correct in saying that Al Gore was the first to use the term "Holocaust denier".)

    7. Let's just come with a simple request: please provide evidence of your claims that the very first reference to denier (in the sense of someone denying) was "holocaust" denier, and that Al Gore has used the term.

      Please, no one hold their breath. Anonymous will likely not even return with *any* response.

    8. Marco

      I think you have got that right. Whenever I have had an idle moment to chase down these quotes attributed to Al Gore they either have been subtly altered, quoted out of context or there is no trace of their existence.

      I think you are right and Anonymous will not return to give a reference.

    9. If anonymous is right (and I doubt he is) that the first use of "denier" was in an article that mentioned "holocaust denier", it's something of an own goal.

      Because the use of the modifier "holocaust" in order to place "denier" in context just shows us that "denier" by itself doesn't automatically refer to the holocaust.

      Which we already knew, of course.

    10. Ha! Good point dhogaza.

      Wriggle out of that one Anonymous without moving.

    11. Anonymous, look here for a couple of nineteenth century examples of the use of denier in exactly the same context. Ignorance is no excuse since it took me seconds to find them myself and you can do it too.

    12. Forgot the link:


    13. From your link Catmando:

      "Since the average climate change denier doesn't want to dig, I thought I would."


    14. It's easier the bleat about Holocaust denial than it is to find things out for themselves. Deniers remind me of the kids who get rubbish scores in tests, not because they can't answer the question but because failure is easier to achieve than success.

    15. Some failures are so epic as to be more difficult than success.

      And Al Gore quotes are as elusive as his beachfront property.

    16. There are two reasons why climate change deniers are so sensitive about being associated with Holocaust denial.

      1) Such 'righteous umbrage' is a useful mechanism to turn the argument back onto those who point out the denialism, as if so indicating is somehow wrong. If scientific objectivists were saying that climate change deniers were also Holocaust deniers then that would be wrong, but that's not what's being said. The confabulation is logically fallacious, borne of either sheer ignorance or of mendacity.

      2) Deep down in their subconscious lizard brains climate change deniers know that their denial is, if the consensus science is correct, potentially at least as horrific as the Holocaust itself was. Worse, Holocaust denial is post hoc whilst climate change denial is still largely a priori, which means that climate change denial is being used to facilitate future horrors on innocent generations and species. Denying something that happened a life-time ago, as opposed denying something that may well wipe out cohesive global human civilisation in large part because that denial is being actively promoted - it's the difference between burying something that's already happened or participating in bringing about with knowledge and aforethought a potentially worse horror.

      It's no wonder that climate change deniers are so sensitive about having their denial pointed out...

    17. I'd be interested to see a study that looked at the strength of association between denial denial and climate change denial, and for giggles as well as between other forms of denial...

      I doubt though that it would be published in Frontiers in Psychology...

    18. I doubt our anonymous friend has ever read anything actually said by Al Gore: he will be parroting the crap he has read on various denier sites.

      His comment is pathetic: he says its 'slander' but he doesn't bother showing why its slander. He doesn't have to show anything because he's accustomed to denier sites where there's never any need to use logic. He doesn't bother with a link because stuff you make up cannot be linked back to a source.

      And he certainly will not discuss why people showing the Freudian pattern of denial should not be called deniers. All he can do is use drive by comments where he runs away before his numptisms get savaged.

    19. There's the reason I call 'm climate revisionists.
      Including this Anom figure, who slanders Al Gore while his leader, the bully at WUWT was the guy who tried to censor a perfectly normal verb after a most disgusting Orwellian fashion connecting it to the Shoa.

      Climate revisionist. The phrase covers the sh*t perfectly.

  18. Going back to Essex's dislike of temperature anomalies…

    Isn't it just outrageous that medical thermometers exaggerate tiny differences? This is clearly a scam to scare people into seeing a doctor when their temperature rises or falls by a paltry few degrees. An honest medical thermometer would be scaled from 0 K, or at least from 0 °C, and much alarmism about so-called illness and fevers would disappear overnight!

    1. If there is no such thing as a "global temperature," as Essex argues, then by the same argument there is no such thing as a "human temperature." Yet we regular make use of the concept (and measure it) as part of monitoring our personal health,

    2. @David Sanger

      Yes, but there has been a hiatus in body temperature rise for at least 18 years. No detectable trend at all.

    3. David Sanger, good analogy I will remember that one.

      If the earth does not have a "temperature", then I wonder what they will measure with the DSCOVR spacecraft when it moves into position at the Lagrange point?

    4. Harry: look up Antonio Zichichi at DeSmogBlog and WFS at Wikipedia.

      People often create organizations that sound better than they are, and that have odd corners.

      For instance, Monckton;s home away from home in US is the Sciece and Public Policy Institute, which is really Rob Rerguson, a website and a PO Box in a suburban UPS store.

  19. Essex is perhaps best known as a collaborator with Ross McKitrick. Read this piece about their 'Taken By Storm'.

    This is O-level stuff. Can a Professor of Mathematics be so incompetent? We are left to wonder what other explanation might fit.

    1. We are left to wonder what other explanation might fit.

      When watching the video that question kept coming back to me. If he is at all competent he must be aware of the issues in his video. So has he cynically prepared a presentation that he knows is designed to mislead a not very discerning audience? Presumably he justifies that to himself by thinking it is for a greater good? Or possibly a big fat fee from some organisation? Perhaps he is just incompetent? We are left to wonder indeed.

    2. You don't get a maths PhD by being this incompetent. That leaves 2 explanations (unless someone can think of another): the almost total loss of that competence since gaining the qualification through some mental deterioration; and simple dishonesty. The former seems very unlikely as no one could still be academically active in that situation. The latter implies a level of stupidity, though: he has to believe that no one in his audience has the competence to see what he is doing.

    3. I think he is just recycling an old presentation as well. And notice he referred to the AR4 report and not AR5? This implies he has not updated his notes in a while. And the IPCC quote that he took out of context was one that Lord Monckton also showed in one of his "presentations"

      What does puzzle me he is a Chairperson on the World Federation of Scientists.

    4. Strange indeed. Sou mentioned this in 2013 and linked to a post at Stoat.

      There has been some funny business going on there for a few years now. Given that he has no expertise in the subject and, I would argue, struggles with high school maths, how can Essex chair the climate change panel of any scientific organisation?

  20. "I didn't get as far as his main point, which apparently is a strange claim that climate can't be modeled."

    Whose claim was that?


    1. Sarcasm?

      If not. That is the claim in the Essex video.

    2. Yes.

      "In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible."



    3. Strange posting goat boy. Are you irate that someone made a claim that climate cannot be modelled or that no-one made the claim? Or that the claim was not strange? Or what?

    4. And Lucifer just because a system is chaotic does not mean it cannot be modelled. Of course long-term cannot be modelled well but whoever claims it could?

    5. Neither Goat Boy or CE have an effin' clue, neither of them are/were/or will be modelers

      For Goat Boy, case in point, the next sentence, which reads:

      "The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system's future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions."

      The basic problem being the deterministic solution from the IC/BC.

      So one needs to look at the statistical nature of the modeled results.

      Goat Boy thinks they understand this, but it really don't know jack.

      Goat Boy thinks that the Earth system will lead to unbounded KAOS like an unbounded n-body problem run for like <250E6 years (Laskar).

      I'd say more, but don't want to hurt the Goat Boy.

    6. "<250E6" should be ">250E6" sorry about that.

  21. I was just checking in to see if anyone here had made any progress or not.

    Keep trying.


    1. Can you translate into something I can understand? Or have you started a new topic?

    2. Playing it smug and cryptic generally works well for you, does it? C'mon, condescend to cut to the chase for the hoi polloi - what's the point you imagine you're making, exactly?

  22. WRT to Anonymous's whinge above, I think Eric Blair said it best:

    "Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only in the last four decades that "Denier" had come to be associated with "Holocaust"and no other context. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of meaning had never happened. "Denier" refers to the Holocaust: therefore "Denier" had always referred to the Holocaust. The usage of the moment always represented absolute truth, and it followed that any differing past or future usage was impossible.
    The Party said that the term "Denier" had no meaning apart from the context of the Holocaust. He, Winston Smith, knew that the word had been in other contexts as short a time as four decades ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed — if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control’, they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink’.


Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.