Monday, May 23, 2016

Denier weirdness: Eric Worrall on putting scientists in charge...

Sou | 2:22 PM Go to the first of 47 comments. Add a comment
At WUWT today Eric Worrall has mixed up politics and science into a logical fallacy (archived here). He is complaining about the US President suggesting that political leaders take heed of climate science experts, rather than spout nonsense from charlatans and science deniers. Eric implied that Obama was saying that climate scientists should be "running the country". Yes, deniers are weird.

Eric wrote an article under the headline: "Why don’t we put Climate Scientists in Charge of the Country?". Underneath he wrote:
President Obama recently gave a speech, in which he seemed to suggest that politicians should subordinate their decisions to the opinions of scientists. My question – why don’t we cut out the middleman, and put the scientists directly in charge?
No. That wasn't what Obama was suggesting. What he was saying was that political leaders should not spread lies and make up stuff to deceive the public about climate science. They should not cavalierly dismiss the findings of experts in any field.

What Eric did was copy a passage from the Whitehouse website: Remarks by the President at Commencement Address at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He bolded some segments as if to say there was something wrong with them:
But when our leaders express a disdain for facts, when they’re not held accountable for repeating falsehoods and just making stuff up, while actual experts are dismissed as elitists, then we’ve got a problem. (Applause.)

You know, it’s interesting that if we get sick, we actually want to make sure the doctors have gone to medical school, they know what they’re talking about. (Applause.) If we get on a plane, we say we really want a pilot to be able to pilot the plane. (Laughter.) And yet, in our public lives, we certainly think, “I don’t want somebody who’s done it before.” (Laughter and applause.) The rejection of facts, the rejection of reason and science — that is the path to decline. It calls to mind the words of Carl Sagan, who graduated high school here in New Jersey — (applause) — he said: “We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depths of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.”

The debate around climate change is a perfect example of this. Now, I recognize it doesn’t feel like the planet is warmer right now. (Laughter.) I understand. There was hail when I landed in Newark. (Laughter.) (The wind starts blowing hard.) (Laughter.) But think about the climate change issue. Every day, there are officials in high office with responsibilities who mock the overwhelming consensus of the world’s scientists that human activities and the release of carbon dioxide and methane and other substances are altering our climate in profound and dangerous ways.

A while back, you may have seen a United States senator trotted out a snowball during a floor speech in the middle of winter as “proof” that the world was not warming. (Laughter.) I mean, listen, climate change is not something subject to political spin. There is evidence. There are facts. We can see it happening right now. (Applause.) If we don’t act, if we don’t follow through on the progress we made in Paris, the progress we’ve been making here at home, your generation will feel the brunt of this catastrophe.

So it’s up to you to insist upon and shape an informed debate. Imagine if Benjamin Franklin had seen that senator with the snowball, what he would think. Imagine if your 5th grade science teacher had seen that. (Laughter.) He’d get a D. (Laughter.) And he’s a senator! (Laughter.)

Look, I’m not suggesting that cold analysis and hard data are ultimately more important in life than passion, or faith, or love, or loyalty. I am suggesting that those highest expressions of our humanity can only flourish when our economy functions well, and proposed budgets add up, and our environment is protected. And to accomplish those things, to make collective decisions on behalf of a common good, we have to use our heads. We have to agree that facts and evidence matter. And we got to hold our leaders and ourselves accountable to know what the heck they’re talking about. (Applause.)
Eric then waffled on about how putting scientists in charge doesn't work - as if the US President suggested scientists be "put in charge" of nations, when he didn't. Whether Eric is really as stupid as he seems or whether he's just pretending to be stupid, is hard to say. He does make a habit of writing logical fallacies, which is par for the course for deniers.

Eric wrote something about George Washington and Benjamin Franklin and absolute power, none of which was related to either the President's speech or to putting scientists in charge of anything. What Eric didn't say was who he thought that elected officials should take heed of when it comes to climate science. Let's take a guess:

Changes in deniersville

While climate change goes on relentlessly I've noticed a few things changing in deniersville, though it's probably more a case of "the more things change the more they stay the same". There's been a slight trend away from climate science and into politics. This could just be deniers waiting, hoping that after the current El Nino disappears an ice age will follow. Judith Curry has a weekly article about US politics in advance of the US elections, which is her most popular article of the week going by the number of comments. Anthony Watts has been posting promos for denier lobby groups and politicians, which isn't anything new. It would be fair to say, though, that WUWT has been down in the doldrums when it comes to climate science.

The glee of the so-called "pause" that wasn't is gone. Bob Tisdale has been trying, but the material he chooses to chart shows the record global warming, no matter how hard he tries to spin it away. Willis Eschenbach is writing travelogues instead of science. Christopher Monckton is conspicuously absent. Anthony has had to rely on nonentities like Eric Worrall to write about trivia. He must have had a word to Tim Ball, because the last couple of articles from him haven't been about One World Government conspiracies. They've been more tame off-the-shelf denier stuff.

Yesterday Anthony Watts posted a "sticky", talking about making changes to WUWT, as he does from time to time (archived here).  He might charge a subscription to read WUWT, or make people register to comment, or try to get more people to write freebies for him. He's even talking about introducing what he calls "peer review" of technical articles, which I'm guessing means articles by Bob Tisdale and Willis Eschenbach and Tim Ball and other bits of pseudo-science you occasionally see at WUWT. He asked his readers to vote on some of these, the results are interesting. At the time of this article there were more than a thousand votes (and the responses haven't changed since there were around 500 votes):
  • 64% voted for registration with real names and real email addresses before being able to comment
  • 64% wanted "peer review" of "technical" articles, only 16% didn't
  • The vote on whether to charge a $5 - $10 monthly subscription to read WUWT was split 50/50, with around 40% in favour and 40% against.
Anthony said he's also thinking of popping over to Russia with his good friend Willis Eschenbach, presumably to check out those Russian steampipes :)

Don't hold your breath waiting for changes. Remember Anthony's Open Atmospheric Society that went nowhere (but is still in the WUWT sidebar)? It's now ten months since he called for nominations to the board, promising a vote within a month. Since then, not a peep.

From the WUWT comments

Keith T. Rodgers doesn't know the difference between weather and climate. Does he think that everyone is wrong when they say that in the mid-latitudes winter will be colder than summer?
May 22, 2016 at 7:29 pm
Governments of the past controlled people by religions. Today they are using scientist’s.
Example: Watch your weather report and see a forecast and how it is revised daily. 3 day and they want to say what’s going to happen in 30 years?

Anne Ominous is right. If only deniers would question the deniers in the Republican Party and challenge them to show evidence for their lies about climate.
May 22, 2016 at 7:30 pm
This is what Benjamin Franklin said:
“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” 

Tom Halla has got WUWT and Eric Worrall pegged. Science denial is politics:
May 22, 2016 at 8:12 pm
No matter what Obama says–its still politics, all the way down.


  1. I think I'm correct in saying that Monckton was the most cherished WUWT contributor. The fawning was extreme.

    Numerous comments resembled "I'm really looking forward to reading what Lord Monckton has to say in this matter"

    Well so am I

    Sadly he's nowhere to be found on WUWT. I'm sure it's entirely related to a desperate lack of a pause, but I doubt it's discretion being the better part of valour. More likely it's depression being the better part of every day.

    Am I right in thinking that it's about 9 months since he put this undated atrocity on his web site?

    Introducing the Cool Futures Hedge Fund

    Friends of the Foundation, including some board members, concerned about the lack of strategy, narrative and financial resources available for the development of evidence based public policy, proper due diligence, empirical science, rational thought, democracy, media, education and free market economies, have been working for years to address these concerns.
    With an emphasis on doing a proper due diligence on the science, economics and finance of global warming we have spent the last year or so fine tuning and supporting the creation of a Cayman Islands based hedge fund called the Cool Futures Hedge Fund.
    "The Cool Futures Hedge Fund offers the greatest revenge of all that could be exacted upon global warming alarmists would be to make more money from the truth than they have out of lies". A line provided by one of our more colourful friends when referring to the Cool Futures Hedge Fund.

    Well since that post there have only been 3 others, one mourning Bob Carter, another, a letter of complaint to the BBC demanding that it cease doing its job and finally a misleading diagram showing how far warming predictions have been wide of the mark.
    Not a word about the pause and I cannot remember that last time he appeared on WUWT or was mentioned there.

    1. I wonder if Monckton is unwell. We know he has health issues. The uncharitable side of me suspects he is too embarrassed by recent events to come out and say anything. I don't know if anything has been said about his absence at WUWT but it was notable that as soon as his fake pause disappeared, so did he.

    2. His investment in the pause was massive. It was personal, professional and political. If he is unwell then the truly distressing records set in '15 and '16 would not speed his recovery.

    3. On previous performance I doubt that Monckton's capable of being embarrassed, or of STFUing, or even self-doubt for that matter, so I'd be inclined to suspect illness, also.

      Serious health issues should never be made light of, and one doesn't want to be uncharitable / kick a man when he's down, but would Monckton and/or cronies/fellow travellers be disposed to return that courtesy, would you say? Imagine if Mike Mann or Al Gore became seriously ill...

      Monckton wasn't the only one seriously - tragically - over-invested in The Pause. I can recall Pat Michaels warning them about it years ago, but, ironically, cooler heads never do prevail in Denial, do they? ;-)

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. the fawning, deference and sheer obsequious over Lord Monkton and his pronouncements @ WUWT by the posters (most of whom seemed American) was cringe worthy in the extreme - especially so, as someone from a UK perspective

      and they do say "if you play with dogs - you will catch fleas"

    6. Yes, it's interesting that so many of those most likely to extol the virtues of Libuuuuurty™ in its supposed native land are apparently more instinctive forelock-tuggers than most in the much-derided Old Country. This is a big part of Trumpism - if you can't have an actual aristocrat to abase yourself before, a billionaire will have to suffice...

    7. I was hardly alone in thinking that making Chrissie Monckton the public face of climate denial was a mistake. Not to say bizarre.

      bill: you speak for yourself re kicking that man when he's down (an exercise I'd relish), but I too recall Pat Michaels warning about nailing their flag to the Pause. The man is, at least, a seasoned professional in his closen field of denial.

    8. I've been worried about disappearance myself. It's not like he couldn't have written a piece explaining why the disappearance of the pause wasn't an issue. I'm hoping his silence isn't due to ill health, as I've been looking forward to questioning him when he returns.

    9. Chris "The Fraud" Monckton's last "pause" article was in February, when he predicted the "pause" might pause beginning in March.


      Since then, he hasn't been able to come up with a comparable scam. "No Global Warming since February 2016!" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

      To be honest, I'm surprised he hasn't tried "No significant warming since...", but maybe he thinks his audience is too stoopid to understand a four-syllable word. (Or maybe he is himself.)

    10. May 10th here (see his comment at #8) http://joannenova.com.au/2016/05/monckton-ipcc-climate-models-speeding-out-of-control-compared-to-real-world/ & 3rd May video with Alex Jones https://youtu.be/c8MJD5y2Kiw

    11. KatyD,

      Thanks for those links. The Nova piece is exactly the sort of post I thought he would have made on WUWT, so it's curious he hasn't been on there since February.

      His comments are classic Monckton - oblivious to the difference between UAH 5.6 and beta 6.

    12. Chris is no doubt crossing his eyes and doting his teas, as he and his peers are wont to do.

      Speaking of former Upper Class 'Twits of the Year,' Lamar Smith-Smythe-Smith is still all too visible:


    13. KatyD, thanks for the links. I agree with Bellman, that's the sort of fraud Monckton should be expected to come up with. Even better than the "No Warming Since..." graphs he did for WUWT, his new "speedometer" don't display any verifiable data, so it's really hard to dispute, and easy for him to create a new fake whenever he wants.

      This new con can also last forever, because, being a lie, he doesn't have to worry about future data making it obsolete. There is no data involved.

    14. Ah, so he's just moved on to where the real rubes are!

      (Perusing Nova's blog actually makes me feel unclean.)

    15. Speaking of JoNova's blog, the "moderators" have been working overtime to chase me away. They do this when anyone disturbs the echo-chamber, I have noticed. They also delete my comments.

      The moderators there are an oddity, I suspect at least one of them is American. Do people outsource the moderation of blogs?

    16. Maybe the upcoming referendum in the UK regarding EU membership has distracted Monckton away from global warming?

    17. Those morbidly fascinated by the reactionary trainwreck that is Denial might 'enjoy' perusing the latest post celebrating the prospect an imminent President Trump at Nova's. These people are, bluntly, feral.

      As I suspect, sadly and terrifyingly, we're about to discover, a civilization dominated by people that 'think' like this will fail.

  2. Yes, it’s gloomy times in denialland. Here is Andrew Montfords latest posting at Bishop Hill:
    ”As readers can probably tell, I'm still struggling to get back in the blogging groove - a combination of being busy earning a living and a distinct lack of anything to say.
    No idea whether the situation will change any time soon. I survey the news every morning and can't think of anything to talk about. Perhaps I just need a break.”

    1. It's also notable that denier trolling has dropped off markedly since the string of record global temps became such a screamingly obvious elephant-in-the-room that even their leathery old hides were found not to be impervious!

      It's just too easy to score very palpable hits in retaliation.

      And what inactivist activity is still occuring outside the bubble is pretty unimpressive. RTol over at ATTP's being a case in point...

  3. "Yesterday Anthony Watts posted a "sticky", talking about making changes to WUWT,"

    Did you notice his concern about the quality of the commentary declining, and his concern about the deplorable practice of sockpuppetry?

    Um, Smokey.

    1. That's like Trump expressing concern for the rights of women.

    2. Smokey got warned and snipped by Willard for spewing some weird conspiracy theory about Obama and scientists. Here is the troll's snipped comment.

      Here is Willard's reaction telling Smokey to stop with the conspiracy ideation or go blog at Heller's pseudoscience blog

    3. I guess Willard Tony has to smack his attack-dogs occasionally to let them know who is boss.

    4. Wow, there is a gradual progression from the stupid to the insane going on at WUWT. But it is interesting to see Anthony standing up to Smokey: I didn't think Anthony had it in him.

    5. This is nothing more than an example of Anthony Watts' hypocrisy. It isn't an about face. Don't think he's turning over any new leaves. Anthony himself has accused scientists of fraud, and usually supports conspiracy theories like that.

      I wonder if it has something to do with him wanting to get "peer review" from "both sides" on his blog? Perhaps he's trying (belatedly) to ingratiate himself with real scientists, hoping they'll lend their name to his pseudo-science.

      Anthony knows he will lose a lot of readers if he stops promoting climate hoax conspiracies. You'll note that only a few days ago in the same article that he talked about "peer review" he called a paleo reconstruction "bogus".

      And for all his calls for civility, it's a case of "do what I say, not what I do". Anthony is a vulgar lout himself, which is why he attracts them.

      Remember, at the same time he's doing promos for the disinformation lobby group CEI and attacking climate scientists.

  4. No wonder so many "skeptic" bloggers have health problems, it must be stressful to realize having been a corporate tool to make profits for them on the back of all of humanity. To lie in public on their behalf. To let go of all moral standards in public on their behalf. I would not have survived half as long.

    1. Maybe he blew a gasket. I remember awhile back over at ATTP with a good back and forth with Monckton when he said he had to take a break. Being an aristocrat, he actually had an assistant to step in and keep the discussion going while he took care of business. The ATTP folks had fun with that suggesting he had to go to the can. I feel bad now cause I normally and not one to kick someone when they are down but he never has seemed real anyway.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Eric Worral is one of Anthony's useful idiots. It surprises me not at all that he has virtually been put in charge of the inmates at WUWT. The extent of his idiocy can be astounding. I remember once having an argument with him over at Watchingthedeniers about the "hockey stick" chart, where he maintained that it was "fraudulent" to tack on modern day measurements onto a graph of Paleo temperatures. I couldn't get across to him that it was perfectly fine, and normal scientific practice to overlay data
    from different sources on the same graph as long as the sources were clearly marked. In fact, given that modern temperature readings are more accurate, it would be crazy NOT to use them. Truly, I think there is something wrong with the logic circuits of the average Skeptic/Denier. Maybe they have been frazzled by the cosmic rays that they appear to believe are causing the current warming. (Amongst other mutually contradictory things - eg Russian Steampipes).

    I once asked him what it would take for him to accept that AGW is actually happening. He replied when the North Polar region is ice free in the summer. Sadly, this horrific event is looking more and more likely, in fact, maybe as soon as this September. It will give me no pleasure to confront him again if this happens, by which time I fear the goal posts will have been moved yet again.

  7. Who amongst the prominent Deniers or the prominent Mitigation Skeptics will be the first to acknowledge the science and the threat? It's very late in the day, the evidence is frighteningly solid yet any shift has been tonal at best.
    Strange people.

    1. The ones who have financial links to powerful corporations will have to have signed away all freedom of action in this regard before they got paid.

    2. No one of Monckton's ilk would acknowledge the science and the threat of AGW, even if the Greenland ice sheet were to slide into the sea next week. They would say, "We are just coming out of a glacial period! It's all natural forces at play!"

      There is literally no geological event that will change the public positions of cynical liars like the Potty Peer, Morano, Watts, etc.
      Adam R.

    3. Will any acknowledge they are wrong? No, they will slink off into silence.

    4. Nick : they'll be back soon enough, condemning any mention of The Pause as hate-speech.

  8. I think the real shift will comes when it hits people pockets (notwithstanding the fact that AGW is already adversely affecting 10’s of millions across the globe)

    In the UK this will come in the form of floods - people’s homes/businesses will simply become un-insurable and hence unmortgageable and so basically unsellable.

    People will undoubtedly start asking why their homes/businesses which had not flooded for 30 or 40 years have flooded every 4 or 5 years, or homes that have never flooded become under threat of flooding or why they can’t afford insurance policies anymore

    People will then really start asking searching questions and I don’t think will be fobbed of with

    It’s natural, it is the fault of the EU, it’s not happening – “look a squirrel”

    I actually think they will eventually turn to “science” to give them the answers, and be amazed by the fact that science had already worked it out a long time ago

  9. In my youth it was Neville Chamberlain holding up a bit of paper that was a source of contempt and ridicule. For generations to come I think it will be Inhofe and his snowball. Not a great legacy for either: but whereas Chamberlain was merely naive, Inhofe deserves to be the target for future generations.

  10. "I've noticed a few things changing in deniersville, though it's probably more a case of "the more things change the more they stay the same". There's been a slight trend away from climate science and into politics."

    It's always been about politics. It's just that convincing oneself that there are significant problems with the science is a lot more tenable than defending a selfish and potentially morally bankrupt political ideology.

    1. even Antony agrees with that assessment - from the stick article

      "because after all climate has become mostly political now"

    2. Regarding folks more leaning toward discussing politics than climate science, it is the entertainment Trump effect.

    3. There's been a 'slight trend' away from inanity to imbecility at WUWT.

      Watts has to have two [microcephalic] heads. That's the only way I figure he can express concern about quality while producing so much rubbish himself.

  11. I think Worrall very admirably summarizes the "skeptics'" position: "We don't want to believe them scientists. We rather just makes things up ourselves, as we fancy."

  12. Perhaps Monckton's absence is due to the fact that he is a professional fertilizer spreader and expects to be paid for his work.

    Given the more than usually tatty appearance of WUWT lately, I'd guess that's a big problem for Anthony.
    Adam R.

  13. Sou,

    Can I upload some screen shots anonymously somewhere illustrating the WUWT antics?

    This should work:


    1. Um, those aren't anonymous, anonymous.

  14. "Why don’t we put Climate Scientists in Charge of the Country?"

    Actually that sounds a great idea, at least in regard to certain issues. Pity Obama didn't say it though :(


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