The CIS and delusionism
As I mentioned a couple of posts back, the claim that mainstream science is totally wrong about global warming is an orthodoxy that is almost universal among commentators, bloggers and thinktanks on the political right in Australia, even though the great majority of ordinary Australians, including Coalition supporters, believe the science.
The great majority of Australian take the view that, while scientists aren’t always right, it’s much better to act on the basis of the best available science than to assume that the scientists are wrong. For this, they are attacked by rightwing commentators as religious fanatics or, at best gullible innocents.
One limited exception to this appeared to be the Centre for Independent Studies. A while back Andrew Norton got stuck into Clive Hamilton for listing CIS in the delusionist camp on the basis of some fairly tenuous links. As Norton observed, the CIS had never published much on the topic (though what it did publish was in line with delusionist orthodoxy) and had published nothing since 2003.
CIS has made up for it now, with this piece by Arthur Herman (also published, less surprisingly, in the Oz). It’s got everything – “global warming as a religion”, Al Gore conspiracy theories, Godwin’s Law violations on eugenics, the Spanish Inquisition and so on, backed up by some typically dodgy Internet factoids. As with much in this genre, it’s important to note the call for the replacement of science, as it currently exists, with “real science” in which people like Herman (self-described as “an historian and author”) will lay down the rules.
What’s striking here is the contrast between the willingness of just about everyone on the political right to sign up to a set of beliefs that are dictated entirely by political tribalism and their self-perception as brave heretics, spelt out in more than usually ludicrous fashion by Herman.
Tim Lambert does garbage pickup on Herman’s “facts”. Strikingly, given that he’s supposed to be an (sic) historian, Herman seems to have a lot of trouble with dates and references. And there’s more from Nexus 6 and Gary Sauer-Thompson.
Update: In a comment from Jennifer Marohasy it was announced that Michael Duffy was willing to give $1000 to anyone who would nominate “â€œSome work/some research results that have been published in reputable scientific journals that:
1. examine the causal link between anthropogenic carbon dioxide and warming, and
2. quantify the extent of the warming from anthropogenic carbon dioxide. ”
Several people provided responses and, after coming back from my hiatus I wrote to Duffy asking the status of my offer. He replied “I asked Jennifer Marohasy about this, because she’s the one who needs to be satisfied. ” and appended a response from her indicating that she was, in fact, not satisfied.
From the original statement, I didn’t realise that Duffy meant to include “satisfactory to Jennifer Marohasy” as a term of the offer. Now that we’ve cleared that up, I think we can regard the offer as in line with the Socratic irony approach to scientific discussion.
There seems to have been something of a meltdown chez Marohasy, so I think we can take this offer as being off the table for all practical purposes