Monday, July 20, 2015

Galileo, fake authorities and adhominous cowards

Sorry for the pun. This is about an article at WUWT (archived here) which provides another lesson from Denial 101.

His article illustrates:
  • double standards
  • absence of fact checking (or ignorance of science and history)
  • calling on fake experts and
  • other logical fallacies.
There's some retired chap (from what I can gather) called Martin Fricke. Ph.D. (nuclear physics) who's now taken up a career as a climate science denier. He can't get published in the scientific literature so he does the next best thing. He writes for a climate conspiracy blog,

Martin doesn't write science, says he doesn't know anything about climate science (except that it's a hoax presumably). AFAIK he's another Catholic denier (like Anthony Watts) who objects to the recent papal encyclical,  (click here for other language versions).

Illegitimate "scientists"

Martin claims to be writing on "behalf of legitimate scientists everywhere". He's actually writing on behalf of science deniers at conspiracy blogs. He also claims that "a delegation of the world’s most esteemed specialists in climate science went to Rome for a scheduled meeting" and implies that it was cancelled. I've not seen any reference to any scheduled meeting between Pope Francis and any science deniers, so maybe he's talking about the Heartland Institute visit. Except that wasn't a "delegation" of the world's most esteemed scientists. Instead it was a motley bunch of deniers who made a big show of traveling to Rome to talk to an empty room. From the list here it included the potty peer Christopher Monckton, the 2012 climate misinformer of the year Marc Morano, the leader of the pseudo-religious cult the Cornwall Alliance, and a chap from the CATO list of 100 deniers, called Tom Sheahen whose name deniers can't figure out how to spell.

Double standards - adhominous cowards and fake experts

The double standards comes about because Anthony Watts claims that he doesn't approve of anonymous cowards, yet the only "authority" Martin provides are two of what he calls "two of the most widely recognized top climate scientists in the world" - who he doesn't name. He calls them "Expert 1 Expert 2". Clearly they are fake experts. Together with Martin promoting himself as PhD (nuclear physics), this is a classic case of arguing from authority, though it's worse than that. He's arguing from fake authority (a topical topic).

I call them adhominous cowards because rather than write about science, all "Expert 1" and "Expert 2" do is claim that Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the founder of the renowned Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, is "fanatical". Translated from denier-speak, that means that he accepts climate science. Okay, so it's not really an ad hominem, it's only name-calling. I just like the pun :)

When it comes to real experts, well Martin Fricke doesn't think much of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. You can check who are current and past members if you click on the links under "Academicians" on its home page. Instead Martin gets his non-science (he didn't talk about climate science itself) from conspiracy blogs like WUWT.

The reason that Galileo is in the heading is because Martin couldn't resist this:
The above mentioned approaches to the pope have been turned away, and a “Galileo-like train wreck” now seems inevitable.

So Martin doesn't just fail science, he fails history. Really, the article was too silly to write much about. I've been waiting for something more interesting from WUWT, but all it's offering are wails and moans that the thermometer at Heathrow Airport must be broken, or it's aeroplanes, or something. Because deniers didn't like one temperature reading from a very hot day during the recent European heat wave. (Yeah, really. There are two articles of protest about that - here and here.)

From the WUWT comments

Bill H - what can I say?
July 17, 2015 at 6:24 pm
The insane left wing socialists have co-opted the Catholic Church for their political power game… Nothing good will come of this. I wonder if the Pope agrees that the earth must only hold 1 million people and that all the rest should be removed?

Nicholas Schroeder lives in a place where all the hospitals, schools, power plants, highways etc are privately owned - not a penny of public funds were used to pay for them.
July 17, 2015 at 6:38 pm
It is/was capitalism that builds/built the hospitals, schools, power plants, highways, cars, food supply, and on and on to the horizon. Capitalism made the modern world what it is today. Consider how the popular option worked so well in the FSU & Red China. Capitalism means we no longer have to work in the fields from dawn to dusk to eke out a bare subsistence.
Without the power and flexibility of fossil fuels Africa and similar countries will continue with poverty, disease, war, famine, etc. for many more decades. Maybe that’s the idea, maintaining a captive, suffering, populace as an excuse for global socialism by the pope, church, government, et al.
It is capitalism that provides all you whiny wankers so much free time on your hands, “It’s sooooo unfaaaiiiiirrrr!!!! Wah, wah, wah, sob, sob.” 

wickedwenchfan is a hard-core climate conspiracy theorist, or maybe a long-lasting Poe (who could tell?):
July 17, 2015 at 6:39 pm
There is no climate science. Only climate fraud. If to become a climate scientist you must acknowledge a Grenhouse Effect, then you can never become a scientist. It is more akin to a qualification in Astrology 

601nan thinks Pope Francis is evil for urging people to care for the environment:
July 17, 2015 at 8:36 pm
“One Day This Pope Will Die, and With Him His Evils on the World.”
The lament of the Vatican Bishops during prayers at the end of the day 


  1. So called Nuclear scientists of his generation barely had time to look at the fundamental work that was being done on the Standard Model. Nuclear Scientists are at the bottom end of Particle Physicists. It was all about bombs and delivery systems not fundamental science. Bert

    1. Don't forget all the nuclear power industry people that worked on reactor, fuel cycle and power system issues from the early 1950s through into the early 1990s.

  2. The double standards comes about because Anthony Watts claims that he doesn't approve of anonymous cowards

    Coincidentally enough I made a rare foray into WUWT for that posting by Fricke, and drew that very epithet. (My tears fell like rain.)

    Magma July 17, 2015 at 8:21 pm
    Dr. Martin Fricke published papers on nuclear cross sections in the 1960s and 1970s. His total climate science research from 1960 to date: nil.

    Is this the best you can do, Mr. Watts?

    [wow, lectures on content from a anonymous coward who has published NOTHING but snarky complaints – feel free to be as upset as you wish, but when you put your name to something of substance, then you’ll have a right to complain about this – Anthony Watts]

    1. That doesn't surprise me one bit, Magma. Anthony is well known for his double standards, among other things (promoting conspiracy theories, his russian steampipes, insect fantasies, delusions of grandeur, failed secret open societies etc etc).

    2. Magma, Anthony is a cowardly stinking hypocrite. I used my full name to post on WUWT but that was not good enough for him, he started to post web images of me and those images encouraged his faithful to make fun of my appearance - except it was not me it was another Australian sharing my name.

      Using his vast research skills he extrapolated my business name which is used in my email address and attributed it to someone on the very fringe of my industry.
      The joke is that when I went to my namesake's facebook page to inform him that his images and name were being dealt with in a defamatory manner I discovered that he had exactly the same stance as me on everything from climate science to Australian / Global politics and religion. Everything! We were philisophical dopplegangers. The major difference was that his writing skills, wit and wisdom are far superior to mine. Thanks Anthony you moral midget.

    3. I should have emphasised this above, do not trust Watts with your name.

    4. I'm reminded of the old show "The Prisoner".

      Who is number 1? (yes, there are quite a few number 2s about WTFUWT but let's keep it nice...)

      R The anon.

  3. "... and a “Galileo-like train wreck” now seems inevitable."

    The image of Galileo as a frustrated commuter is going to stay with me all day. Unable to find a seat, clutching onto a hand rail in a train that's three hours late, muttering "and yet it moves".

    Never travel to New Street Station on a sunday: it can scar you for life.

    1. Most people get the Galileo story wrong but this rings true.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Tom Sheahen: see pp.119-120 in The 2009 APS Petition for a profile.
    "Fields: Superconductivity; cryogenics, nuclear"
    He was in Wave B, i.e., likely known to the organizers, likely SInger.

    See also Weird Anti-Science, p.4.
    p.10: As of 2010, he was on Fred Singer's SEPP BoD.
    PDF has 9 hits for Sheahen.

    Here wereSEPP Form 990s, Fred is not keeping up to date, but Sheahen was still on BoD in 2012.

    1. He might have been around the deniosphere for a long time, but no-one knows him well. I think I've counted something like four or five different ways various deniers have spelt his name. Few get it right. (The correct spelling seems to be Sheahen.)

  6. Well we knew they would turn on organised religion if it didn't agree with their agenda.

    I have been noticing more fake experts lately in the denialosphere - it is probably the buildup to the Paris Conference.

    A heads-up on the forecast El Nino, the NOAA model has been revised upwards again. It will be interesting to see what the BOM says tommorrow.

  7. Attila got to meet a Pope. In 452 AD, he met Pope Leo the Great who convinced him to halt the Hun invasion of Italy. Even I could arrange for one of my nieces to meet a Pope, John Paul II. Can do better, Monkers!
    Those self-proclaimed, esteemed climate scientists should 'man up'. Russel Crowe was snubbed twice, yes twice, in the one day by Pope Francis. If the Pope won't meet 'Noah', ... need I go on?

  8. jgnfld here

    There are examples of "real" scientists and mathematicians whose findings actually were snubbed and kept from wide acceptance politically for some period of time within the science and math communities which Anthony and friends could draw on. Semmelweis and Cantor come most immediately to mind.

    Perhaps the fact they both went crazy in the end is something that keeps deniers from citing them as one of their own!

    1. Cantor was a manic depressive. He struggled with the implications of his thinking in trying to manipulate infinities mathematically and rigorously.
      It is a pathetic cop out to blame his mathematical interests to his demise.
      His illness did him in not the work he did. Bert

  9. Looked at Fricke's linkedin profile (per the link above). His entire career has been funded with gummint money. Lots of classified work, all funded by taxpayers. Also looks like he's spent a lot more time functioning as a PhB (Pointy-Haired Boss) than as a genuine PhD researcher.

    Classified spook work is highly compartmentalized; that puts up very high barriers to external peer review. For snake-oil types, it's a great line of work to get into if you want to minimize independent scrutiny.

    Fricke looks like the "My job is so secret, even *I* don't know what it is" type...

  10. Oh my, Willard has a classic tale of fighting the powers that be to get his precious OAS off the ground up today.

    1. And, as might be expected, his tale is twisted. What I don't understand is how doing nothing - no board, no publications, no activity, virtually no membership - could be considered "operating" so as to persuade the IRS that the OAS deserved 501(C)(3) status. Maybe the IRS was so burned by the issue of excessive scrutiny of conservative groups that they just let anything through, or maybe Tony's revolutionary society sounded so feeble nobody cared. Time will tell.

    2. Yeah, it was pretty weird. The whole thing seemed rather weird. Of course we know the IRS is badly understaffed, so it may have just taken so long because it took them that long to get around to handling it. That's my best guess...

  11. Oh my, Willard has a classic tale of fighting the powers that be to get his precious OAS off the ground up today.


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