Parallel universe quiz

Which of these claims has not been put forward by prominent global warming denialists ?

A Cycle analysis by a well-known astrologer proves that global temperatures will soon decline
B Data supporting global warming was faked by NASA along with the bogus moon landings
C There is no such thing as global average temperature, and therefore the whole idea is meaningless
D A voyage through the Arctic Circle by the Chinese fleet in 1421 proves that temperatures were much higher then

Answer over fold

Answer: B. Although both global warming denialists and moon landing denialists routinely accuse NASA scientists of fraud, the two groups appear not to have made common cause as yet (Please correct me if I’m wrong).

Here’s the info on the others

A. The Lavoisier Group presents a “scientific” critique of the IPCC based on the work of the late astrologer and cycle crank Theodor Landscheidt. This is the same body that claimed in a submission to Parliament (PDF here) that the Kyoto Protocol poses “the most serious challenge to our sovereignty since the Japanese Fleet entered the Coral Sea on 3 May, 1942”.

C. The claim that there is no such thing as global average temperature is one of the many errors of Ross McKitrick

D. The best yet, tying global warming denialism to the absurd and much-demolished claims of Gavin Menzies comes from Christopher Monckton in the (UK) Telegraph, who gets an enthusiastic endorsement from Tim Blair. Tim B sees this as evidence that “the debate is not over”. His nemesis, Tim Lambert, provides a chapter and verse demolition, but the reference to Menzies is more than enough for anyone based in the real world.

While all the claims listed above are absurd, they are not lunatic fringe, at least not in the parallel universe of GW denialism. McKitrick (until recently a moderately well-known rightwing economist, but now presented as an expert on everything from physics to historical climatology) was one of the main scientific sources for the bogus House of Lords Economics Committee report and one of the “Nine Economists“, led by Nigel Lawson, who criticised the Stern Report’s first discussion paper. Their critique also relied heavily on the work of the Lavoisier Group.

75 thoughts on “Parallel universe quiz

  1. Frankis, Lambert is no genius. He has his own band of disciples, but mostly he just reliably and unthinkingly parrots the consensus line, eg:

    Monckton also gives us the usual “hockey stick is broken” stuff, ignoring, of course, the National Research Council report that basically vindicated the study.

    Vindicated my ar*e.

  2. Andrew –

    “Threats of dire personal consequences in the future have no place in this discussion (IMHO).”

    ‘If we don’t steer the bus that-a-way, we will careen off the cliff!’

    Would you concede that there are times when describing the scientific consensus of what the future looks is precisely the question? Would you allow that, logically, if a big-chunk-of-rock was found on a collision course with Sol#3, that the ‘dire personal consequences in the future’ scientists would be pointing out have a place in the discussion?

    “From what I can read the Stern report has under-estimated the costs of reducing AGW and over-estimated the costs.”

    ‘Pshaw! Hitting the ground at the bottom of the cliff will only hurt for a moment! But the sound of the brakes hurts my ears for like, seconds!”

    Even if all of your criticisms are completely valid, they make nothing more than a relatively small dent in the larger argument. I’ve read Stern. I’ve read the poo-poohing. I’ve read (a little) of the evidence of the geological record. I’ve seen a volcano erupting, and lived through a cyclone.

    “My personal favourite is that we need to take the entire world back to a pre-1066 England level of development and somehow lose at least 5/6ths of our population.”

    Please – who is proposing that? Who is taking them seriously? Citations?

    and proust –

    Of course. Nothing we say here is anything more than a crude etching. Believing you have anything more than a rough outline of the truth–subject to erasure and correction-is delusional.

    Are you delusional, proust?

  3. “Are you delusional, proust?”
    I’ve struggled with similar questions since I was a small child. If I am delusional, how would I know?

  4. Paul,
    Even Stern is not proposing that AGW is equivalent to either a bus careening off a cliff or a lump of rock on a collision course with Sol #3. In fact, I may add that one to my library of favourite quotes on this. Thanks for that.
    If you are looking for the 1066 bit, a regular commenter here made that one. I will leave it to him as to whether he wishes to identify himself (or you can easily find out with a Google).
    I think you are also a trifle guilty of working what I have said up into an argument. I have made a series of observations and I have not “pooh-poohed” anything. I have read the media reports and bits of Stern from which I have formed a preliminary view, but I am waiting for more sober a judgement than either the one you appear to be offering here (the “big-chunk-of-rock” analogy indicates a possible overexcited state, IMHO) or that of the media.
    While I do from time to time disagree with our gracious host here I always respect his judgement as being considered and worth waiting for.

  5. proust says:

    “Are you delusional, proust?�
    I’ve struggled with similar questions since I was a small child. If I am delusional, how would I know?

    Take it from me, if you think the debate has moved decisively in favour of the skeptics since Stern, you are delusional.

  6. But carbonskinhole, how do I know you are not just a figment of my delusional imagination? If you are, how can I trust your pronouncements that I am delusional?

    Assuming you are not, I’d watch closely what happens to the Stern report over the next few months. I suspect the negative feedback will start to bite, particularly from those you would have expected to support it, and politicians will quietly start to distance themselves from it. There will be no fanfare in decline as there has been with Stern’s ascendancy (such is the nature of these things), but inexorable the decline will be.

  7. But carbonskinhole, how do I know you are not just a figment of my delusional imagination?

    I am very much hoping that you, Bolt and Tim Blair are all part of some horrible nightmare that will soon end. I fear poor Bolty will be silenced once Rupert’s memo on the new editorial policy reaches his desk.

    BTW, that you for telling us that your “funding and social status is independent of anything”. You certainly went up in my estimation after reading that.

  8. “I am very much hoping that you, Bolt and Tim Blair are all part of some horrible nightmare that will soon end.”
    Flattery will get you everywhere. But seriously, are you now concerned that I am a figment of your delusional imagination? That could cause problems, if you are also a figment of my delusional imagination.

    I feel like the coyote must when he realizes there is nothing underneath him.

  9. Proust,you are a breath of comedic fresh air in a very earnest and serious discourse.
    Does it ever bother you (in your non-delusional moments) that they always attack you and not you arguments?

  10. I just hope some people will follow the links and realize things are not as cut-and-dried as they are made out to be.

  11. On Wegman again:

    It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility. Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.

    That’s about as damning as it gets. Do people believe there is a problem here?

  12. I was thinking of Mr Mann yesterday when i was cutting up firewood for next winter http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r98/chrislag/redgum.jpg
    I told my family that this wasn’t firewood at all but a temperature proxy. If I measured the rings, put it through a unique statistical analysis and graphed it I could prove that it has been the hottest in a thousand years!
    They seemed a bit dubious

  13. Proust, I think we’ve all had enough of this. I pointed out what nonsense Wegman’s report was when it came out, and I don’t propose to go over it again. And you’ve shown yourself unwilling to defend the nonsense you continue to support. So, if you have anything more to say on climate science, please take it to a suitable journal or a climate science blog.

  14. proust FYI, I’ve spent a lot of time at climateaudit.org in the past, and I consider McIntyre to be one of the more credible AGW skeptics. He has uncovered what may be some sloppy science with the so-called ‘hockey stick’, but that is just one small part of the body of evidence for AGW, and on balance I feel the evidence supporting AGW is overwhelming. I am also concerned about an apparent lack of transparency in the climate science community (not sharing data, methods, source code etc)

    However, if you were to ask me who is more likely have a more honest, untainted opinion on the state of climate science, a state-funded academic or an oil-company funded skeptic, I’d go with the academic everytime.

  15. I pointed out what nonsense Wegman’s report was when it came out, and I don’t propose to go over it again.

    You mean this?

    You criticized their social network analysis, in a typically offhand and dismissive fashion. But their report contains much more than just that, which you must know if you have read it, yet you did not address any of the substantive issues raised vis a vis MBH’s hockeystick and McIntyre’s counter. It is those issues I am referring to here.

    And you’ve shown yourself unwilling to defend the nonsense you continue to support.

    Where?

    It is you JQ who refuses to face up to the genuine issues with the climate science. Maybe you have dug yourself such a deep hole that you no longer even realize that you are in one, but telling me to get lost without once providing an adequate counter to the many reputable criticisms I have presented says a heck of a lot about you.

  16. Proust, you seem to think you have nailed it all right on the head.

    So why don’t you submit your evidence and arguments (sans personal abuse) to mainstream peer-review?

    Like real scientists have to.

    Have a nice day.

  17. Seeker, in most cases I am simply reporting evidence and arguments that have already been submitted to (and accepted by) mainstream peer-review. I am not offering anything novel here.

  18. how bout you just pick the century you would rather live in and i tell you why you are wrong…

    of course there are local maxima, and improvements sometimes get reversed, but the general trend is upward, which was the substantive point…if you are that nitpicky just replace century with millenia…

    and no, its up to you alarmists to prove that doing something is worth the cost…which you cant do since you have no idea what is actually going to happen – no your crummy computer models don’t tell you more than just common sense and a little history would…

  19. “Edward J. Wegman. No slouch.”

    i.e. no slouch at churning out papers in second tier journals and understanding MBH98 and 99 so well that he described them as “somewhat obscure and incomplete”. It’s a pity Wegman didn’t actually try to understand them.

    “in most cases I am simply reporting evidence and arguments that have already been submitted to (and accepted by) mainstream peer-review.”

    Arguments such as:

    MM03: Unreviewed paper, i.e. much the same as a letter to a newspaper editor

    MM05a: Lightly reviewed paper in a journal that gets thousands of submissions a years

    MM05b: Same journal as for MM03: no review and just like a letter to the editor in a newspaper

    It’s a pity proust didn’t mention MM04, their attempt at getting a paper published in a throughly reviewed journal. Needless to say it failed.

    It’s a pity proust doesn’t pay more attention to papers that really are “mainstream peer-reviewed”, papers such as Wahl and Amman 2006 and less time being sucked into falsely believing that he is. But considering his complete lack of interest in actually studying the detail, this is not a surprise.

  20. As I said, proust, I think we’ve wasted enough time on you. Anything more on climate science will be deleted.

  21. Chris O’Neil,

    Before commenting on the content of McIntyre, I’ll say that I think it’s amazing that he was carefully reading Wahl and Ammann for that comment more than a year after he sent in his review of the paper to the journal concerned. Doesn’t say too much for how carefully he read the paper when he reviewed it.

    McIntyre commented extensively on the original submission. The reading you refer to was of the paper that actually appeared, with extensive revisions, revisions that McIntyre did not see until the paper was actually published.

    M&M’s recent paper was published in Geophysical Research Letters. The same place Annan’s 3 +- 0.5 climate sensitivity paper is published, and many other influential climate science papers.

    As for the rest of your comments, I am still getting to the bottom of the issues. I am not yet well-informed enough to comment, and honestly, I am not sure you are either. That said, one of the fundamentally misleading things about the hockeystick was the flattening of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). In the last year or two, the MWP has made a reappearance, after being banished by Mann (and others). It matters because if the MWP happened all on its own (without obvious human-induced forcings), then it tells us something about the extent of human-induced climate change today. These are complicated issues. I am now reading about wavelet proxy reconstructions – apparently they suffer far less from the problems associated with Principal Components.

    Of course, you can delete this if you wish JQ, but let me just make a few points:

    You set the tone of the debate with your original post. Disparaging usage of “parallel universe” and picking out the silliest examples of skepticism invites responses in-kind, of which I am guilty, for sure. But if you don’t want that kind of response, why do you open with taunts? As Andrew Reynolds pointed out, we can find an equal number of silly remarks on the alarmist side. The discussion is not advanced by this kind of tit-for-tat search for the silliest statements.

    Insofar as the science is concerned, I admit the skeptics certainly have a far greater share of lunatics than the mainstream side has. But that doesn’t mean all the skeptics are lunatics. I put a lot of effort into seeking out the few skeptical scientists that seem kosher. That’s not to say I am ignoring the mainstream side, it is just that the decent scientists in the mainstream are much easier to find. Unless he’s a phenomenally sophisticated liar (and no-one is that smart), McIntyre appears to be a kosher skeptic. In fact, for the record, from my reading of the two of them I trust McIntyre a lot more than Lindzen.

    I am as guilty as the next person of participating in the alpha-male pissing matches around here (as, I would suggest, are you JQ). And I don’t deny that I enjoy it. But, as above, a lot of that is induced by the tone of your original posts. What matters is the truth, and I honestly believe there is ample evidence that the science is not as cut-and-dry as you, Stern, the media, and many in the mainstream climate science community would have us believe. That’s the message I am trying to get across.

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