Via Immanuel Rant, I found this piece by Michael Duffy in Saturday’s SMH, pushing global warming denialism. Immanuel points out that Duffy has been more than a little economical with the truth, saying
Duffy is correct to warn us not to overlook agendas and political interests and how they affect science. The trouble is that Duffyâ€™s â€œcold, hard lookâ€? forgets the mote in his own eye. Kellow and William Kininmonth (also mentioned) are members of The Lavoisier Group. The group was created by Ray Evans of Western Mining and is an astroturf operation.
The article is full of similar examples. Sceptic Bob Carter is described as “an environmental scientist at James Cook University”. At least when I knew him there, he was a geologist working (not surprisingly) with the mining industry, and his current affilation is still with the School of Earth Sciences Nothing wrong with that, as Duffy himself says, but, why the misrepresentation.?
Then there’s the reference to a conference held by
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation, a liberal think-tank,
held a climate seminar in Germany in February and conducted a poll of the 500 climate researchers who attended. A quarter doubted that the modest warming of the past 150 years is due to human activity.
For most Australian readers, the term “liberal’ without capitalisation might imply a moderate progressive, perhaps an Australian Democrat. Duffy doesn’t bother to inform us that the Foundation is liberal in the classical sense. It stands for
he reduction of state interventionism, the advocacy of decentralization andÂ privatization, the cutting of existing state regulations and of bureaucratic red tape in our daily lives.
In other words, it’s an ideological clone of the CIS, IPA or Cato. It appears to have close ties with the last of these, a well-known promoter of junk science on this and other topics. Duffy could have been honest with his readers and called it a “free-market thinktank”, but that would have alerted them to possible bias. I managed to find a report on the meeting here, but it’s in German and I can’t really follow it. It doesn’t appear to me that those in attendance were climate scientists, though some of the speakers were.
It seems to be just about impossible to attack the consensus view on global warming without resorting to dishonest misrepresentation. Duffy is no exception to this pattern.
Update Tim Lambert has more.
And, given his past form, I’m not surprised to learn that Duffy is an exponent of rightwing postmodernism.
As you’d expect from someone hired as the “right-wing Philip Adams’, Duffy poses as a critic of postmodernism, as in this Counterpoint episode where he links it to Leninism, eugenics and contempt for ordinary people, and defends science as a source of truth.
But, when science says something Duffy doesn’t like, for example on global warming, he’s happy to embrace the “social construction of reality” thesis, as propounded by political scientist and Lavoisier Institute member Aynsley Kellow.
Further update It turns out (see the comments thread) that the respondents to the survey described by Duffy were not, as he says, climate scientists attending a conference in 2005, but members of meteorological societies who responded to a survey sent out in 1996! It’s scarcely surprising that a lot of respondents took the view, at that time, that anthropogenic climate change was not proven. IIRC, the IPCC took the same view. I’ll put this one down to sloppiness rather than deliberate deception, but it’s illustrative of the point that Duffy is not engaged in a serious search for truth here.
Yet further update 20/4 A lengthy search suggests that the claimed result does not refer to the 1996 survey, but to another survey undertaken by the same researcher in 2003. The results are apparently here but I can’t get them to work on any of my browsers.