Since this blog watches those who watch the deniers, a post on the infamous suspected identity thief John Cook’s July 22 cnn.com piece “The 5 telltale techniques of Climate Deniers” seems in order.
His first claimed technique: Fake experts
This coming from a person who apparently photoshopped himself in a Nazi uniform then later posted comments under another’s name on the not-so-secret Skeptical Science forum. Comments attributed to Cook show he posted as Lobos Motl, a physicist who is skeptical of many of the claims of AGW. The idea that John could actually use the word “fake” seriously in a sentence says it all.
“Fake experts” means anyone who disagrees with any part of AGW, including the solutions proposed. So, besides parroting the proper attitude and allegiance, what makes someone an expert? It can’t be your degree–many acceptable and not acceptable experts have the same degrees. It’s not working in the field of climate science as there are several well-known persons who are working in the field who disagree with much of is claimed by climate science. It is belief in the entire AGW meme that makes you an expert. Not the science, not the degree. Just belief and agreement.
What makes climate science so special that only a few designated persons who all agree 100% on the meaning of climate change are the only experts? Answer: Nothing. It’s a smoke screen to silence any legitimate opposition (actually ALL opposition). What makes climate science special is it’s about agreement, not science and not about truth.
His second claimed technique:
Logical fallacies are used by climate deniers. He uses the fallacy of “jumping to conclusions” as an example. Climate change was natural in the past so it is now.
John’s analogy–you find someone dead with a knife in their back. You conclude they died of natural causes because people have done so in the past. I’m starting to see why John was a cartoonist. Rational thought is not required. I know of no one who would jump to such a conclusion. When someone says the climate has always changed, they are stating a fact. The most egregious error in John’s claimed improper technique is that scientifically speaking, the person making the claim of “unnatural” has to prove their claim. The knife in the back is relatively solid proof of an unnatural death, unless someone just stabbed a knife into a dead person. Of course, if John knows the AGW scientists cannot prove that current warming or lack thereof is not natural, the smoke and mirrors game here does make sense.
His third claimed technique:
Impossible expectations. Like models that accurately predict? Really? Out of 102 models averaged, it seems none accurately predicted the leveling of temperatures over the past 18 years. None.
John, I have a great deal on a used car for you. About half the time it starts, sometimes it keeps running and sometimes not, it leaks anywhere from 1/2 to 3 quarts of oil, the wipers are random, tires hold air for a while and one or two doors open from the outside. Should work well if you don’t have impossible expectations of the car.
His fourth claimed technique:
Cherry picking. What’s this with the fruit fetish anyway?
Every single scientist on the planet picks and chooses the data he/she uses. If the data supports their theory/hypothesis with one selection but not another, the additional nonconforming data must be included. That’s not what climate scientists do, however. Often the values chosen seem to be chosen merely because they fit the theory. Then there is the constant adjusting of temperatures that goes on. While some adjustments may be needed, continual adjustment seems to point to making the data fit the theory.
Interestingly enough, John seems to be admitting there has been a leveling of off of temperatures in this statement: “For example, a persistent myth is that global warming stopped in recent decades. This is done by focusing on one slice of our climate system — the surface temperature record. Further, it relies on cherry-picking short time periods. This ignores the long-term trend and more importantly, ignores the many warming indicators telling us that our planet continues to build up heat.” There’s really no indication of what those many warming factors are nor why we should pay attention to something besides atmospheric temperatures. The global average temperature is the gold standard of climate change theory, yet suddenly we are to ignore it and move on? Maybe. After all, it didn’t cooperate and keep increasing. Reality can be such a pain.
Climate scientists often do not start in the late 1800’s and run the entire record when demonstrating warming, so the claim of cherry-picking would apply to climate scientists as well. Any elimination of any data can be claimed to be cherry-picking by someone, accurately or not.
John claims species are migrating to warmer climates yet there is scant if any evidence that this is occurring at a more rapid pace than in the past. Perhaps eyeballing some things are fine for climate science. Using actual data might result in fruit picking. He also mentions Greenland and Antarctica losing ice, but no mention of the Arctic. Do I smell pie baking?
His fifth technique:
Conspiracy theory beliefs. John complains skeptics claim there is a conspiracy of scientists and politicians to push AGW. (Coming from a person with virtually zero science knowledge and no advanced degrees who suddenly works for a university doing research studies, that might not be a really good idea.)
I’m following John’s lead here and going with an informal fallacy I am calling “the fallacy of self-delusion”. Global warming advocates constantly claim oil and gas are in a conspiracy to silence the AGW scientists. They are so incredibly self-deluded they do not see their own major conspiratorial claims. The good new is John’s fifth technique puts climate change advocates squarely in the science denier camp. Confirmation that climate change advocates are indeed science deniers.