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Well, we did do the nose … and the hat

February 3rd, 2010

In discussing the loony antics of Lord Monckton with climate delusionists/rightwingers (the two categories are now pretty much coextensive), I’m struck by the frequency with which I get the line (pushed a little while ago by Janet Albrechtsen) “Well he did say that Rudd and Obama were planning a communist world government, and that Jackie Kennedy killed millions of people and that the child of holocaust survivors was a Nazi and that he was a member of House of Lords, but why focus on that stuff … you should be debating him on the science”

I’m not sure whether the appropriate Monty Python reference is the witch sketch in Holy Grail or “What have the Romans ever done for us” in Life of Brian. Certainly, the idea of supposedly hard-headed politicos going to this guy for scientific advice is one that would stretch credulity even for a Python gag.

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  1. Freelander
    February 3rd, 2010 at 21:24 | #1

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)

    Those who wish to be deluded, as you would know, have an insatiable appetite. That is why the product that has always had a profit margin greater than Microsoft is organised, and even more so, disorganised religion.

  2. gerard
    February 3rd, 2010 at 21:29 | #2

    I wouldn’t defend Mockton, he is an idiot.

    Comparing him to Gore is defending him. What is the comparison in terms of brazen lies and delusional conspiracy theories? What is the comparison in terms of being 100% opposed to the consensus of modern science? Maybe you don’t consider yourself Rightwing, a dung-beetle doesn’t consider itself dirty either.

  3. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    February 3rd, 2010 at 21:35 | #3

    JQ – in terms of people I personally know there is only one who has been to see Monckton and he hated Howard, voted Rudd, thinks free trade is a conspiracy against the working man and that the rich should pay lots more tax. He also believes the world is run by a private banking cartel. I’d place him as being on the left.

    Personally Monckton isn’t much my cup of tea. I doubt people pay money to see him out of a desire to be intellectually stimulated but rather out of a desire to have their opinions on this matter affirmed and to demonstrate their affiliation with that view point. I can guess at why this view point is popular but I’m a bit miffed as to why it seems to be popular just now. Perhaps it’s the cold weather.

  4. Ubiquity
    February 3rd, 2010 at 21:37 | #4

    Gerard

    You mean the eco friendly scared scarab beetle. A wonderful creature, but I do get what your saying. I still thing Gore is not useful in this debate which was my original point which you clearly decided was a defence of Mockton. I can’t help your left leaning inclinations.

  5. February 3rd, 2010 at 21:45 | #5

    @Alicia

    > Funny thing is these “libertarian” types…

    They are not libertarians, they are propertarians. The term libertarian was first used by the left, by an anarchist in 1858. The American right’s appropriation of the term dates from the 1950s (at the earliest). Outside of America the term libertarian still means anti-state socialist. Unfortunately, in English-speaking countries the American use is become more common. This is something everyone should fight. Particularly as these “libertarians” are more concerned about property than liberty:

    http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/150-years-of-libertarian

  6. Richard McGuire
    February 3rd, 2010 at 21:56 | #6

    Irrespective of his “loony antics” these were the headlines in the Courier Mail 30th January “Sceptic warmly received” the piece by Bruce McMahon goes on “Lord Christopher Monckton, won yesterday’s climate change debate in straight sets.” In the debate Lord Monckton and Ian Plimer were pitted against Professsor Barry Brook and Courier Mail environment reporter Grahan Readfearn. As for “the idea of supposedly hard headed politicians going to this guy for advice would stretch credulity” well Tony Abbot is doing just that.

  7. Freelander
    February 3rd, 2010 at 22:24 | #7

    @Richard McGuire

    Tony Abbott is hardly ‘hard headed’ he tends to just make things up as he goes along. He is just another loose cannon in from the same stable as Latham. The Liberal Party is going from bad to worse. Nelson to Turnbull. Turnbull to Abbott. What next?

    Abbott’s new policies rely on a magic pudding. Without access to a magic pudding they make no sense at all. With a magic pudding they still scarcely make sense.

  8. Donald Oats
    February 4th, 2010 at 13:08 | #8

    When interviewed on the ABC’s 7:30 Report last night, the reporter stated unequivocally that Monckton is a mathematician – or at least he claims he is:

    TRACY BOWDEN: You say you are not a scientist, you’re a mathematician. Would it be fair to say you’re also a showman?

    This is the great difficulty with today’s media reporting – it does not have a firm basis in fact because it simply feeds on buzzword friendly X-C-V-able extracts from previous media reporting. And that often comes directly from cheat-sheets provided to the journalists by the self-promoting delusionista. Witness how “mathematician by training” appears in this article on Monckton, at the very end. Does anyone feel that is a reasonable representation of his talents? Within a 24 hour cycle it has been shortened to “mathematician”, which I am irked by, but not surprised by. Surely the ABC could have contested his claim to the title of mathematician. I don’t go around claiming to actually be a mathematician for the simple reason that I don’t publish in the mathematics research literature (so I’m not a mathematician by demonstrated publications) and I don’t have a PhD in maths (so I’m not a mathematician by qualification). What has Monckton done as a mathematician – a regular stream of good quality publications in the mathematics research literature? Or just decided he felt like appropriating that title by letting the media do it for him?

    The cheek of it!

  9. gerard
    February 4th, 2010 at 13:50 | #9

    Mathematician by training? He has no degree in maths let alone has he published in a mathematics journal. He has degrees in classics and journalism, and is a qualified day skipper. Of course you can still learn maths without having a degree in it, but what is Monckton’s “training”? The Whorestralian out-whores itself once more.

  10. Ken
    February 4th, 2010 at 16:57 | #10

    I’m not sure why anyone here needs to debate Monckton – surely Monckton, if he had scientific credibility, would and should publish peer reviewed science. But he won’t because he can’t. He can’t because his arguments fail the basic requirements needed to be considered scientific – he cherry picks data, he misrepresents data, he fails to reference relevant data, his reasoning is faulty, he doesn’t apply scientific methods, he doesn’t apply true scepticism and his conclusions are faulty as a consequence. Monckton doesn’t do science, he does political debate and political spin using sciency sounding arguments and he gets well paid to do so. Monckton, like Plimer, is engaged in that most pure form of free enterprise; parting the gullible from their money by telling them what they want to hear. He may even believe the fundamentals of climate science are faulty but I haven’t seen that he has the scientific and intellectual capacity to make such a judgement. I think that when the going gets complicated it takes expertise and I’d much prefer to put my trust in people who study climate than in someone who has claimed to be a member of the House of Lords (he’s not), has won a Nobel Prize (he hasn’t) and advised Thatcher and the SAS to use biological weapons in the Faulklands War. Anyone who can make such a suggestion without consideration of the consequences of overturning longstanding conventions and treaties prohibiting biological weapons is not a person I would trust to advise on any policy of significance.

  11. Donald Oats
    February 4th, 2010 at 17:06 | #11

    Something else to point out about Monckton and the delusionati crew: now that it is known that the last decade was in fact the (globally) hottest decade of the instrumental record back to 1880, they are trying to do a switcheroo from the claim that “since 1998 we are in a cooling period” to another (recycled) claim that “we are in a warming period that has lasted 300 years”. This latter claim presumably refers back to the conventional end of the Little Ice Age, around 1850 – although if this is the case then the arithmetic is off a bit. And, the LIA seems to have been a regional phenonema rather than global. Perhaps since the start of the industrial revolution, around 1750–1800? Whatever he had in mind, it is a pretty big reversal from we are in a cooling period (therefore nothing to worry about) to 300 years of warming. As for the fact that the “cooling since 1998″ line has been widely circulated even last year (2009), one need go no further than this minority report to congress in the USA to see that the cooling since 1998 line has been trotted out very recently:

    “Earth has cooled since 1998 in defiance of the predictions by the UN-IPCC….The
    global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the
    millennium…which is why ‘global warming’ is now called ‘climate change.’” -
    Climatologist Dr. Richard Keen of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at
    the University of Colorado.

    [Page 6, US Senate and Environmental Works Committee Minority Staff Report (Inhofe), update March 16, 2009]

    What I’m waiting for a journalist to do is to dig into what warrants these claims the delusionati make. In the case of the 300 years of warming, well they are relying on the instrumental record and the proxy data prior to that, in order to establish what happened. Therefore, they are using the same data as available to the climate scientists. The same data they keep trash-talking, such as in the Mann et al 1998 article with the principal components analysis of a variety of proxy data derived from tree rings in the USA and Europe IIRC. So was that analysis wrong or was it right? Monckton and others will airily dismiss any such line of questioning but at least journalists should challenge their claims to get at their underlying source of evidence.

  12. wilful
    February 5th, 2010 at 11:39 | #12

    Coldest of a decade AND coldest of the millenium! wow!

    hang on, I see what they’ve done there…

  13. Peter T
    February 5th, 2010 at 15:33 | #13

    Grim

    As a guess, what basically happened is that education and working life have increasingly drifted away from direct contact with reality. The shift to services is a part (you can talk a client into accepting that the haircut is fashionable – you can’t talk a machine part into fitting if you have made it the the wrong size). So is the competition for status through education, which led to an emphasis on abstract learning over knowledge through doing (PrQ’s book on zombie economic ideas illustrates the power of abstract fictions over reality).

    I am not saying these things in themselves were bad – just that the added up to something that each move did not intend.

  14. John Coochey
    February 5th, 2010 at 17:19 | #14

    So you cannot rebut his arguments, so you are that scared. By the way what does Chikken Quiggin do for a day job?

  15. nanks
    February 5th, 2010 at 18:07 | #15

    @John Coochey
    JQ – why is this guy here?

  16. Freelander
    February 5th, 2010 at 18:51 | #16

    @nanks

    I agree. He has nothing to say that is either constructive or sensible and seems to have no other purpose than to irk.

  17. Freelander
    February 5th, 2010 at 18:57 | #17

    @Peter T

    Very true.

    Sadly, the status given to being able to do things, well, has progressively declined. Hence the need, a generation ago, to turn the CAEs and the TAFEs into psuedo-universities issuing ‘degrees’. And the production of those in recent cohorts who think they can think but in reality can’t do anything, well, at all.

  18. Alice
    February 5th, 2010 at 19:52 | #18

    @Freelander
    Freelander…it just isnt their fault…they can think but universities are babying everyone..and soon universitiies will ahve forgotten how to think about anything except export dollars.
    We did it…we raped and pillaged our own knowledge base and soon the foreign students will smell the rot and wonder what they are paying so much for.

  19. Alice
    February 5th, 2010 at 19:56 | #19

    @Freelander
    And Freelander..any institution who thinks they can get away with paying level A step 1 fractional associate lecturer 55 measly grand whilst demanding they fund their own phd first…are clearly on another planet. Whats a phd worth now? Jack except years of living like an artist in a garret and givng up money to earn a pittance at the end of it!

    Sad sad days Freelander. A phd student is slave labour to teach mass production lines of students. Thats all they are.

  20. Alice
    February 5th, 2010 at 19:58 | #20

    @John Coochey
    John Coochey – you are a complete pain.

    JQ why dont you delete this annoying troll? I know you like to have freedom of many sides to an argument…but John Coochey is an argument…not even a point of view. He is just in here to spray insults.

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