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July 24, 2006

Indefensible Independent Manufactures Hysteria (Badly)

The Independent on Sunday reports on the current Amazonian drought in typically understated fashion, warning readers no less than four times (in two separate articles, a callout and a graphic caption) that, should the region suffer just one more dry summer after this one, we'll most likely see the beginning of "a process that might end in the world becoming uninhabitable", as "it could make global warming spiral out of control, eventually making the world uninhabitable".

In fairness, the caption is slightly more optimistic, stating only that "it would make the planet all but uninhabitable" - this beneath an image of the Houses of Parliament in the background; camel, sand and palm trees in the foreground. At least the residents of the coming Islamic Sheikdom of Britain will be comfortable.

The paper's conclusion that "the vast Amazon rainforest is on the brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate" is supposedly based on the work of Dr. Dan Nepstad (whose name they get wrong in both attempts), a researcher at Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts. Dr. Nepstad used plastic panels to block rainy season rainfall from one hectare of the forest for five years (the panels were removed during the dry season, which is indeed very dry - Dr. Nepstad notes that "vast areas of Amazon 'rainforest' get little or no rain for five or six months of every year"). According to the Independent, the trees "started dying" in the third year of the study.

For the Indy, this constitutes proof that "the forest cannot stand more than two consecutive years of drought without breaking down". If this year's drought continues, and is repeated next year, we're all doomed. "A year to live", screams the headline of a two page "news analysis".

Several thoughts enter the mind of the sceptical reader at this point. For example, one might wonder "if three consecutive years of Amazon drought is likely to lead to the Earth's being uninhabitable, doesn't that imply that no such event has occurred in, say, the last several hundred thousand years? How likely is that?" (drought is by no means unheard of in the Amazon - there was a particularly severe one in 1926, for example).

One might foster thoughts like "isn't there a difference between 'years of unbroken dry conditions' (the experiment) and 'some very dry dry seasons and some pretty average rainy ones?" (the reality - see the graph on page 5 of this report; note as well that rainfall had also returned to normal last December). One might also wonder exactly which "scientists" are speculating about the world's imminent uninhabitability.

Sadly, the Independent provides no answers to these inconvenient questions, concentrating instead on the work carried out by Dr. Nepstad, which it describes as follows:

"The research ­ carried out by the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole centre in Santarem on the Amazon river ­ has taken even the scientists conducting it by surprise. When Dr Dan Nepstead started the experiment in 2002 ­ by covering a chunk of rainforest the size of a football pitch with plastic panels to see how it would cope without rain ­ he surrounded it with sophisticated sensors, expecting to record only minor changes."

The misspelling of Dr. Nepstad's name is not the only error of fact to be found in this paragraph - the rainfall exclusion actually began in January, 2000. But Geoffrey Lean and professional scaremonger Fred Pearce are right about one thing: Dr. Nepstad was in fact surprised by the results of his experiment, as we learn at the Woods Hole website (emphasis added):

"First, the biggest surprise noted thus far has been the great tolerance that this forest presented in the face of the severe drought that was created. As the moisture stored in the soil that sustained the forest during prolonged dry seasons was depleted in the dry plot, the trees simply absorbed water from deeper in the soil with their extensive root systems, avoiding most of the visible symptoms of drought stress. By the end of the five-year period of exclusion, many trees in the forest were drawing in water from more than 40 feet deep in the soil."

Unsurprisingly, a very small minority of the larger trees did in fact die:

"The death of large trees – trees that may take centuries to reach the top of the forest canopy and have trunks greater than 10 inches in diameter -- increased from about one percent per year before the rainfall exclusion began to nine percent in the fourth year of the experiment, when soil water was depleted. This sensitivity of large trees to drought means that a decline in rainfall will likely push this tall, green, lush rainforest towards a shorter, more stunted forest."

So perhaps the Independent's headline writer, instead of claiming that "Amazon rainforest 'could become desert'" (note the false implication that this is a quote from Dr. Nepstad), should have said "Amazon rainforest 'could become shorter, more stunted'". But that doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it?

Contrast the Woods Hole report with the fantastical account presented by Messrs Lean and Pearce (emphasis added):

"Studies by the blue-chip Woods Hole Research Centre, carried out in Amazonia, have concluded that the forest cannot withstand more than two consecutive years of drought without breaking down.

[...]

"The trees managed the first year of drought without difficulty. In the second year, they sunk their roots deeper to find moisture, but survived. But in year three, they started dying. Beginning with the tallest the trees started to come crashing down, exposing the forest floor to the drying sun.

"By the end of the year the trees had released more than two-thirds of the carbon dioxide they have stored during their lives, helping to act as a break [sic] on global warming. Instead they began accelerating the climate change."

Does this, or does this not, directly contradict the researcher's own report? "Beginning with the tallest", indeed! It seems pretty clear from reading the Woods Hole site that "the tallest" - and only 9% of those in the fourth year, remember - were the only ones to die in significant numbers. The shorter trees exhibited slower growth, but there's no mention of any dying.

As regular readers will be aware, I've seen some pretty bad journalism in the last few years, but this piece may well be the single worst one I've ever seen. Quoted matter in the headlines ("could become a desert", "incalculable consequences") that is not supported in the body, incorrect statement of simple facts (the date of the study's commencement, the spelling of the researcher's name), misuse of the word "break" - all of this is bad enough.

But to hysterically misrepresent the work of Dr. "Nepstead" in such an utterly outrageous fashion simply beggars belief. Geoffrey Lean and Fred Pearce should be ashamed of themselves, but one somehow doubts that they are.

Ultimately, one is once again reminded of the statement of climatologist Steven H. Schneider, quoted as memorably saying:

"And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have."

As the sort of "journalism" practiced by Messrs Lean and Pearce shows, Mr. Schneider needn't worry. It's not necessary to "offer up scary scenarios"  to journalists - they'll make 'em up themselves.

July 24, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

Obviously the only option is to stop the production of paper.

The Granuid and The Independant to stop printing first.

Posted by: Rob Read at Jul 24, 2006 2:11:23 PM

Removing those rain-blocking plastic panels may be another viable solution.

Posted by: Dutch at Jul 24, 2006 2:38:57 PM

What did he do with the rain which ran off the plastic panels? Pipe it away down the Orinoco? Otherwise the whole experiment could have been rendered unscientific by sideways seepage, and the trees could have started burrowing sideways with their roots to get at the stuff, rather as the Yemenis drill sideways into Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 24, 2006 2:46:33 PM

There must have been a temperature increase consequent upon the plastic roofing,which may have affected the trees' health too, but Woods Hole probably aimed off to compensate for that, being blue chip.

I can see that it is not possible to allow journalism of such truly tabloid awfulness to pass without severe correction, but it seems inevitable that a return to this subject will bring Dave back to our screens. A gruesome prospect.

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 24, 2006 2:57:15 PM

The global warming crowd embrace the narrative as a substitute religion complete with a pantheon of climatologist as saints and apostles

The guilt of selfishness, the burden of wealth and the sinful worldly excesses of western consumerism all mean that we need to be punished.

Not by god or by fire and brimstone, but by "enviroment" in the form of an uninhabitable planet.

Repent you "evil western power structures" for the end is near!

Posted by: John Palubiski at Jul 24, 2006 3:04:50 PM

Fred Pearce was born and educated in the UK. He studied Geography at Cambridge University (Oh God, not another one, this bodes ill) and has since reported on environment, science and development issues from 54 countries.

54 countries? The man has been flying about the place like a madwoman's sh!t. Must have a global footprint the size of Texas.

Posted by: at Jul 24, 2006 3:08:07 PM

"What did he do with the rain which ran off the plastic panels?"

It seems to this layman to be a pretty well-designed experiment - and Woods Hole is, indeed, "blue chip".

The detailed description is here

Here's the part that addresses your question.

"Each parcel has a 1.5 meter trench dug completely around it to isolate the soils inside and prevent any tree roots from tapping water from outside the parcel. In the case of the experimental parcel, the trench was lined with plastic and leads to a drainage ditch which was dug to channel the water falling onto the parcel to a lower area 300 meters away."

"A gruesome prospect"

And one which has also occurred to me, but what the hell...

Posted by: Scott at Jul 24, 2006 3:11:59 PM

I do apologise for this serial anonymity. IT cretin, regrettably.

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 24, 2006 3:12:58 PM

"if three consecutive years of Amazon drought is likely to lead to the Earth's being uninhabitable, doesn't that imply that no such event has occurred in, say, the last several hundred thousand years?”

Obviously not. The evil American empire has only existed for part of that period.

Posted by: sfthpo at Jul 24, 2006 3:30:36 PM

Yes, they have been thorough. But if the trees sent roots down to draw in water from more than 40 feet deep in the soil, how effective would a 1.5 metre (say 5 feet) trench be in isolating the trees from outside sources of water? Anyway, I am drawing attention away from the point, which is not Woods Hole's research but the Independent on Sunday's dishonesty.

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 24, 2006 3:33:52 PM

The poor trees were murdered to further science - will no one think of the trees.

Posted by: at Jul 24, 2006 3:52:21 PM

Shit. There goes Cheney's plan to coat the floor of the Amazon rainforest in plastic.

Perhaps someone should do a study on the neuronal damage wreaked by prolonged exposure to the Indy. I understand that even after years of exposure, certain pitifully twisted shrubs extending dendrites far into the cerebellum may continue to function.

Posted by: Dan Collins at Jul 24, 2006 4:06:54 PM

Purely by coincidence, I'm sure, the Beeb was "doing" the Amazon on it's main news programmes all last week.

On Monday its environment correspondent intoned darkly about the drought as the camera panned over the majestic Amazon, water as far as the eye could see in every direction. I switched it off.

Posted by: windowlicker at Jul 24, 2006 4:27:24 PM

"Fred Pearce was born and educated in the UK. He studied Geography at Cambridge University."

Ah, but did he get a degree? This statement hides as much as it reveals.

I recently e-mailed andrew simms (non sic) of the new economics foundation (sic) to ask him what his academic credentials are. No reply, but the potted biography on their website no longer says "studied at the London School of Economics". Leading me to believe that he may not have lasted the course.

Posted by: Andrew Kinsman at Jul 24, 2006 4:32:26 PM

Andrew,
Anything on David Rose, Geography PhD candidate at Cambridge?

I'd also like to point out this link from Rob:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=397228&in_page_id=1770

It seems that the Anglican clergy are so pleased by their success that they're ramping up new projects to reduce the ecological footprint of their flock. Ahem.

Posted by: Dan Collins at Jul 24, 2006 4:41:08 PM

Well, here are a couple of nice Monday morning homages to the Beeb:

http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2006-07-21db.html

http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2006-07-21td.html

The second, Dalrymple one is excellent. He refers to it as "Subsidized Stupidity," and bites a couple of large chunks out of Jonathan Ross's bum.

Posted by: Dan Collins at Jul 24, 2006 5:07:34 PM

Great journalism. Thanks Scott!

Posted by: Barry at Jul 24, 2006 5:18:45 PM

Talking about journalists and scary scenarios.

I've just been watching the news on BBC/ITV/C4 about 'cease fire' proposals for Lebanon. The beeb, typically, used it for another attack on Israel; ITV was worse; Channel 4, totally unusually, was fairly neutral. What's the odds that C4 think Israel might be losing (and therefore a ceasefire might not be urgent after all)?

Any guesses about what the Indy will make up for tomorrow?

Posted by: sfthpo at Jul 24, 2006 7:47:58 PM

Oh dear. Trying to fact-check other writers about global warming isn't a good idea for you Scott...

For any readers who might have stumbled across this site and be unaware of Scott Burgess' own record of blatantly misrepresenting the work of scientists on global warming, here's a summary by Alex Hugging (no, not the snooker player)...

I am wary of entering into a blogger-dispute, since bitter experience teaches me that the rewards are few and the cost in time and energy considerable. Like Burgess I am not a scientist and commenting on science demands modesty from non-scientists. So bear with me...

(1) The Vindication of Bjorn Lomborg

Going back to the original charge in Johann's article on Bjorn Lomborg, Burgess insists in his most recent post that:

"Mr. Hari again fails to address the issue I've raised - that Mr. Lomborg was completely vindicated of the charge of scientific dishonesty by Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. He may wish to ponder why they arrived at that conclusion."

The original conclusion of the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation arrived at in January 2003 was this:

"In it, DCSD found that, by customary scientific standards, the defendant had acted at odds with good scientific practice in his systematically one-sided choice of data and in his arguments. If the book was intended to be evaluated as science and not as a contribution to the general debate, then in addition the scientific message had been so distorted that the objective criteria for establishing scientific dishonesty had been met. DCSD did not find a sufficient basis, however, on which to establish that the defendant had misled his readers with intent or gross negligence. DCSD noted, in this context, that in the preface to the book the defendant had himself drawn attention to the fact that he was no expert in environmental issues."

The DCSD's qualification to this severe judgement was that Bjorn Lomborg was not intentionally misleading his readers, that he lacked the relevant qualifications and expertise to carry out a purposeful fraud.

This judgement was appealed on the grounds that the DCSD did not provide proper definitions in its ruling on such concepts as scientific dishonesty, that it did not give specific examples of errors (although they could have done, since Lomborg later admitted to several) and other procedural grounds. The Ministry agreed, abandoned the ruling and put it to the DCSD to decide whether or not investigate again, which they declined to do. This is a pretty ambiguous vindication, not a complete one, and the DCSD's original, damning ruling was overturned on what would normally be considered technical grounds rather than a thorough refutation of the charges, which have been made by many other reviewers. A proper re-run of the investigation would have been interesting.

The Danish Ministry of Science remitted the original judgement, and Burgess asks us to consider why. He might better ask himself why the original judgement remains more or less the view of most scientists working in the field Lomborg purported to investigate. Lomborg argues on his website that the DCSD verdict was largely based on a critique published in Scientific American, which he replied to.

Scientific American's detailed responses to the response are here, (along with Lomborg's):

Editor John Rennie's response -http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00040A72-A95C-1CDA-B4A8809EC588EEDF

John Holdren's response to Lomborg for SA - http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000DC658-9373-1CDA-B4A8809EC588EEDF

Lomborg's web page on his critics - http://www.lomborg.com/critique.htm

Johann has already put up on his site a large number of criticisms from a wide range of scientists and the scientific press of Lomborg's work, which Burgess dismisses by saying that they are merely a reiteration of the indictment. Readers can decide for themselves if that rather extensive dismissal is justified.

Burgess' view that he can "play duelling biologists" with Johann in support of Lomborg by quoting his supporters is ill-fated given that, as SA editor John Rennie states, "Lomborg's work has few defenders within the sphere of environmental scientists." So it wouldn't be much of a game even for those who enjoy such an approach to these kinds of issues.

(2) Fair Comment?

In their last exchange, Johann wrote this about a post at the Daily Ablution blog:

"Read the full post - - and see that he is clearly claiming global warming is not anthropogenic, in a post whose whole purpose is to sneer at people who have been warning about anthropogenic climate change."

And Burgess responded:

"Please do go read the full post - it's not very long. As you do, look carefully for any denial of an anthropogenic component to climate change. On second thought, don't bother - no such statement, much less a 'clear claim', exists. The post merely posits that there may be another factor as well. Typically, Mr. Hari is too focused on personal attack to address the actual issue raised by the post."

As Burgess writes, this short post does not deny all human responsibility for global warming, but this is a disingenuous response to the full charge. In the context of the Daily Ablution's discussion of global warming, the post is an attempt to "to sneer at people who have been warning about anthropogenic climate change", ending as it does with the line: "Green groups are expected to pin the blame for 'Martian Warming' squarely on the Bush administration."

If Burgess actually means to take the issues here seriously, then why take a cheap shot at the people who have gone out of their way to raise awareness of environmental damage with the overused, self-serving and uninsightful jibe that opponents of the Bush administration seek to blame it for everything?

"Typically, Mr. Hari is too focused on personal attack to address the actual issue raised by the post," agrues Burgess. Presumably, he sought to address the principal concerns of the entire environmental movement before lobbing a verbal spitball in their direction.

See http://dailyablution.blogs.com/the_daily_ablution/2003/12/nasa_has_eviden.html

Burgess does seek to play down anthropogenic climate change to the extent he can, and as argued below, the term "denier" is not inappropriate to describe his position.

(3) Yes, there is a scientific consensus on global warming

As Chris Mooney writes in his excellent book, the 'Republican War on Science', journalists - and bloggers - must be modest in discussing scientific controversies:

"I believe that journalists, when approaching scientific controversies, should use their judgement to evaluate the credibility of different sides and discern where scientists think the weight of evidence lies, without presuming to critically evaluate the science on their own."

http://www.chriscmooney.com/blog.asp

Keeping this is our minds, we can consider Burgess' charge that the recent open letter by 60 academics, including climate scientists, to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, urging him not to allocate resources towards cutting CO2 emissions demonstrates that there is no consensus among climate scientists about the contribution of human beings to global warming:

"It will again be of interest to visit the post Mr. Hari cites, which unambiguously proves that there's "no consensus".'

http://dailyablution.blogs.com/the_daily_ablution/2006/04/climate_change_.html

Scott Burgess attributes the notion of a consensus on the issue of global warming to a religious or theological proposition held by columnists of the Guardian and the Independent, out of irrationality ("most cherished Truths of the Gospel According to Gaia", "typical _expression of the creed" etc). Countering such dogmatism, Burgess cited the Canadian letter under the jubilant heading "Climate Change 'Consensus' Crushed".

But what would demonstrate a genuine scientific controversy would be scientific papers, published in journals after peer-review, expressing disagreement with the mainstream scientific understanding. Naomi Oreskes, an historian of science, in her own review of the literature for Science Magazine in 2004, wrote this:

"That hypothesis [that dissenting views among scientists have been downplayed] was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords 'climate change'.

The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position."

That is, zero out of 928. A spectacularly poor showing for a live scientific controversy.

See http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

Not only are papers challenging the consensus view not passing peer-review - they aren't even being submitted. No one is writing them, as the executive editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy of the journal Science told Chris Mooney:

"There is no example of a paper that disagreed strongly with the general consensus that has been peer reviewed and failed. The fact is, they're just not being sent."

Kennedy also wrote that, "Consensus as strong as the one that has developed around this topic is rare in science."

What explanation for this can there be, other than the existence of genuine consensus? Burgess quotes paleoclimatologist Bob Carter expressing this view:

"There are other reasons, too, why the public hears so little in detail from those scientists who approach climate change issues rationally, the so-called climate sceptics. Most are to do with intimidation against speaking out, which operates intensely on several parallel fronts."

The idea that scientists are seriously intimidated from revealing their critique of their colleagues is not only preposterous, but deeply insulting to those scientists who have experienced actual and serious intimidation for raising or even having environmental concerns, particularly in the United States. With huge amounts of money put into astro-turf groups like the Global Climate Coalition and think tanks by the energy industry, not to mention the Bush administration's strong preference for contrarian expertise on this subject, it is bizarre to maintain that a scientist who could effectively debunk the mainstream consensus would not receive funding, media coverage or a privileged platform from which to speak.

The notion of a scientific consensus on this issue is the stated position of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and also the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). And it doesn't stop there, these really are not views limited to liberal columnists in Britain:

This is a joint statement issued by the Australian Academy of Sciences, Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts, Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Canada, Caribbean Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, French Academy of Sciences, German Academy of Natural Scientists
Leopoldina, Indian National Science Academy, Indonesian Academy of Sciences, Royal Irish Academy, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Italy), Academy of Sciences Malaysia, Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and Royal Society (UK).

"The work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents the consensus of the international scientific community on climate change science. We recognise IPCC as the world’s most reliable source of information on climate change and its causes, and we endorse its method of achieving this consensus. Despite increasing consensus on the science underpinning predictions of global climate change, doubts have been expressed recently about the need to mitigate the risks posed by global climate change.
We do not consider such doubts justified. There will always be some uncertainty surrounding the prediction of changes in such a complex system as the world’s climate. Nevertheless, we support the IPCC’s conclusion that it is at least 90% certain that temperatures will continue to rise, with average global surface temperature projected to increase by between 1.4 and 5.8oC above 1990 levels by 2100. This increase will be accompanied by rising sea levels, more intense precipitation events in some countries, increased risk of drought in others, and adverse effects on agriculture, health and water resources. (Emphasis added)

http://www.royalsociety.org/displaypagedoc.asp?id=13619

The Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, which represents atmospheric and oceanographic scientists in Canada calls for further research, but nonetheless states:

"CMOS endorses the process of periodic climate science assessment carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and supports the conclusion, in its Third Assessment Report, which states that the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.
CMOS recognizes that current uncertainties in the scientific understanding of climate limit our ability to predict the nature of future change accurately. In particular, it is unclear to what degree and in which regions Canada will experience an increase of weather extremes (floods, droughts, ice storms). However, there is sufficient understanding to justify reducing the human activities which can induce climate change and developing techniques to adapt to climate change."
http://www.cmos.ca/climatechangepole.html

Its statement on Kyoto:

"CMOS endorses the conclusions of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 2001...
CMOS agrees that full implementation of the Kyoto Protocol should reduce the rate of increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. ... The public must understand the reasons for and consequences of climate change before they can be expected to accept the need for proactive measures and to participate fully in their implementation. CMOS encourages other agencies and organizations to join in this goal."

http://www.cmos.ca/kyotopole.html

A consensus on an issue does not mean that everybody is in agreement - that would be unanimity which rarely exists anywhere (fortunately). However, when there is little or no published research challenging a basic working assumption of most scientists in a field, and the great weight of the research supports it, it can be reasonably said that a consensus has been reached. Yet still Burgess portrays it as a theological assumption.

I have not been able to find out much about the process behind drafting the open letter Burgess cites, so I will restrict myself to some observations about its contents. The letter tantalisingly states:

"If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary."

Observers of this controversy will be interested to know what it is that we now know about climate change that should lead us to reject even the limited requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. We can await its arrival in the scientific press, where it has been notably absent. Until then it shouldn't convince anyone, just as the authors of this letter failed to convince previous Canadian governments by their own account.

It is noteworthy that drafters of this letter, challenging a scientific consensus, make no mention whatever of their colleagues or of the position reached by any of the above bodies. Instead it complains only about "alarmists", "the loudest voices" and "scientifically unqualified environmental groups". This is clearly ad hominem stuff - which Burgess cites as proof of a lost debate ("ad hominem being the hallmark of the defeated debater", no less). The authors of the letter are either ignoring the research of the majority of their colleagues in Canada and internationally, or they are gratuitously insulting them.

In this spirit, the open letter unfortunately repeats the old line that, "It was only 30 years ago that many of today's global-warming alarmists were telling us that the world was in the midst of a global-cooling catastrophe."

This is a highly misleading charge. Aside from a few sensationalist media reports, most famously in Newsweek, there was no comparable scientific consensus behind the idea of a "global-cooling catastrophe" in the 1970s, nor was there anything comparable to a panel like the IPCC with serious policy recommendations. The US National Academy of Science and National Research Council report of 1975 which examined the issue of global cooling concluded that more research was necessary, and made no policy recommendations.

The climate scientist website, Real Climate, debunks this myth here:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/

For this reason, the open letter to Stephen Harper looks like a reiteration of the contrarian position, rather than a serious dispute among scientists. It might be interesting to learn more about it.

(4) Is Scott Burgess a climate change "denier"?

Burgess has swatted aside Johann's accusation that he is a climate change denier. "In fact I, like Mr. Lomborg (and George Bush), do not deny the reality of anthropogenic climate change." Burgess self-described position is: "I think climate change is probably happening, but wonder if there may not be at least some concomitant benefits,
go on to suggest that there may be a significant non-anthropogenic component; and, consequently, wonder to what extent horrendously expensive measures to combat it are necessary or desirable."

The term "denier" is of course a pejorative term used in different contexts and is often used to refer a range of contrarian opinion.

Alas, I find myself compelled to discuss Holocaust denial at this point - I know, I know you should avoid Nazi analogies, it winds everybody up - I ask for your patience. The reason for referring to this subject is because it offers a case study of what almost everyone agrees is a spurious and malevolent form of intellectual contrarianism.

Within the field, such as it is, of Holocaust denial there are a range of different opinions. Some will argue, for instance that very few Jews were ever murdered by the Nazis and will deny that there were any intentional atrocities committed. Others argue that the Nazis did in fact commit atrocities against the Jews and that between 1 and 2 million died of hunger or typhus, as opposed to the systematic extermination 5-6 million+. Others still will accept that the Nazis murdered the Jews in great number but insist that the gas chambers are a fiction. The differences do not reflect real findings of academic research but rather degrees of withdrawal in the face of reality. They are all described as "deniers" by critics like Deborah Lipstadt and few disagree.

It is possible that someone in the last of these categories of denier may even insist that they are not Holocaust deniers, merely legitimate revisionists. But the reality is that they still maintain a position substantially at odds with an overwhelming body of evidence, which they seek to constantly denigrate by citing snippets of information here and there, usually out of context.

Let's take another somewhat less reptilian field of spurious revisionism - Creationist ideas about biology and geology. Again, there are a range of different Creationist beliefs that reject evolutionary biology, from religious fundamentalists who insist that the contradictory Creation accounts in the Bible are literal historical events all the way to more sophisticated talk of Intelligent Design (ID), invoked to explain supposed anomalies in evolutionary theory. Many ID theorists actually accept modern geology, an Earth that is billions of years old, and do not believe that the Book of Genesis is a literal account of the origins of life. But these more sophisticated attempts to rationalise an unjustified rejection of a well-supported scientific consensus remain just that and the development of ID as an idea has more to do with efforts to get Creationism past the United States Constitution than any scientific development.

Climate change contrarianism is similar in that different individuals will hold different opinions about what is and isn't true in the mainstream scientific view (in fact, leading contrarians often regard each other's views with disdain). Some contrarians, such as Burgess and President Bush, have decided to accept that anthropogenic climate change is a real phenomenon and even distance themselves from those holding more extreme views. But their overall contribution to the discussion is much the same - a rejection of a scientific consensus, snide remarks about the mainstream view through selective presentation of information, denigration of environmentalists, and most crucially, an insistence on putting a halt to government policies intended to address the issue (to the extent that there are such policies).

(For an example of Bush's contrarianism, see Climate Change Watch: http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/index.php/csw/details/president-fundamental-question/)

Chris Mooney offers a succinct summary of evolving contrarian ideas:

"... even the so-called skeptics have found themselves subtly influenced by it [the strong scientific consensus]. They have gradually changed the tune of their arguments, notes Harvard biographical oceanographer James McCarthy, who cochaired the working group on the impacts of climate change for the third IPCC assessment. 'In the late '80s, early '90s it was, "Nothing is changing,"' says McCarthy of the contrarian viewpoint. 'And by the mid-'90s, it's, "Well, things are changing, but just a little bit, and by the way, humans aren't causing it." By 2000, it's "Well things are changing a little bit, humans are causing it, and there may be some impacts, but you know what, it won't matter."" (p81)

Burgess's self-described position is almost identical to this third position, a contrarian retreat in the face of the facts, but still firmly outside the mainstream scientific consensus. So "denier" is not inappropriate in this context, though "contrarian" might be a less loaded term.

In fact, in many cases contrarianism is a positive trait but on this issue, where it essentially defends a well-funded economic lobby engaged in potentially irreparable environmental vandalism, not so. Relentless and unsupportable scoffing at the people who are trying seriously to understand the changes taking place in the world's climate and avert potential catastrophe for large numbers of people rapidly becomes tedious as well as morally frivolous.

(5) Cherry-Picking Information

In the spirit of a spurious intellectual contrarianism, Burgess repeatedly selects pieces of information from sources that could conceivably support his argument while ignoring other relevant information from those same sources that contradict his position.

In his response to Johann's response, he displays a graph on temperature change over the last one thousand years and quotes from a summary of issues on climate change put together, he informs us with heavy sarcasm, by "the scientifically illiterate right-wingers at the University of California".

What is this quote and this graph meant to demonstrate? That the current scientific consensus is badly wrong and climatologists have overlooked what Burgess and other contrarians have spotted?

The source Burgess cites says this about anthropogenic climate change:

"What is the single most authoritative source for information on climate change and its relationship to human activities, as well as what we ought to do about it? There is, in fact, such a trustworthy source: it is a body of working climate scientists known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."

http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/09_2.shtml

In addition to arguing that the IPCC is an authoritative source, the University of California summary reiterates the consensus view:

"You may have decided, based on the limited evidence given in Section 1.0, that the climate is warming and that the increase in carbon dioxide is responsible. Or you may have decided that the climate is warming and we do not know why. Or you may think that just because the overall temperature increased by 2°F does not mean that there is a permanent warming of climate. Seasonal variation is much greater than this, and it could get cooler again soon, in which case there would be no long-term warming.

'For each choice, you could find scientists who would support your opinion. However, most scientists actually working on this subject would support the first conclusion. The reason is that the addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere must produce warming, a fact derived from our basic knowledge of physics. It is not some obscure hypothesis, but a physical principle that if you add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, this will increase the "greenhouse effect" and generate global warming in the lower atmosphere. The real debate then is about the amount of uncertainty on the magnitude that will result from this human-made warming (that is, the size of the "error bars" on the data), not the fact of global warming itself. In other words, we know that our addition of CO2 will cause global temperatures to go up; the question is how bad this warming will be and what its consequences will be."


http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/08_2.shtml

In his brief post about climate change on Mars, Burgess takes a quote from a summary by the American Geophysical Union about the Little Ice Age and the Mediaeval Warm Period in a post that is largely, as previously mentioned, a cheap shot at the green movement and a reinforcer of climate change contrarianism. But the American Geophysical Union summarises its position on climate change like this:

"Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth's climate. These effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth's history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century."
http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html

It is not that Burgess is obliged to restate everything in a source he uses, but if he is trying to use information to support his own position, he does need to deal with the fact that his sources completely disagree with his interpretation of the snippets he takes from them and posts on his blog. With such selectivity as this, it is perhaps not a surprise that Burgess was moved to respond to Johann's criticism of Bjorn Lomborg.

Since Burgess has brought it up, the weight of opinion among scientists is that the Mediaeval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age were climatic developments in Europe and the North Atlantic that did not necessarily happen elsewhere and so do not represent natural global climatic variation in the manner contrarians have suggested. The IPCC working group in 2001 discussed this issue:

"The terms 'Little Ice Age' and 'Medieval Warm Period' have been used to describe two past climate epochs in Europe and neighbouring regions during roughly the 17th to 19th and 11th to 14th centuries, respectively. The timing, however, of these cold and warm periods has recently been demonstrated to vary geographically over the globe in a considerable way (Bradley and Jones, 1993; Hughes and Diaz, 1994; Crowley and Lowery, 2000). Evidence from mountain glaciers does suggest increased glaciation in a number of widely spread regions outside Europe prior to the 20th century, including Alaska, New Zealand and Patagonia (Grove and Switsur, 1994). However, the timing of maximum glacial advances in these regions differs considerably, suggesting that they may represent largely independent regional climate changes, not a globally-synchronous increased glaciation (see Bradley, 1999). Thus current evidence does not support globally synchronous periods of anomalous cold or warmth over this timeframe, and the conventional terms of 'Little Ice Age' and 'Medieval Warm Period' appear to have limited utility in describing trends in hemispheric or global mean temperature changes in past centuries. With the more widespread proxy data and multi-proxy reconstructions of temperature change now available, the spatial and temporal character of these putative climate epochs can be reassessed."

http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/070.htm

Burgess' efforts to make digs at environmental advocacy organisations such as Friends of the Earth rely on this same highly partial selection of information. In one post, he quotes a FoE spokesperson describing the ongoing impact of global warming:

"The ice sheets are melting at unprecedented rates, there are unprecedented levels of flooding around the world and droughts in South-East England."

Burgess has determined that this statement is wrong:

"In fact, the water shortages in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains - but precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models."

Do current weather events contradict climate change models? How is Burgess qualified to make this call?

Drought in South-East England is certainly predicted in climate change models, as Professor Peter Cox of the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology explained recently in Sir David Attenborough's recent two-part series:

"In the South of England in particular we are concerned we will have drought conditions."

Burgess faulted Johann for going too far in linking Hurricane Katrina to global warming, but shows little scruple himself in using a dry winter in England as a basis for scoffing at climate change modelling.

This is not wise. As environmental writer Mark Lynas writes in "High Tide", average rainfall in winter in Britain has significantly increased in recent decades - as climate change models predict:

"What [Dr Tim] Osborn [of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia] discovered was that over recent decades heavy winter downpours have indeed increased dramatically. 'Over the period from the 1960s to the mid-1990s there was a doubling in the amount of rain that came in the "heavy category" in winter', he explained. 'So in the 1960s something like seven or eight per cent of each winter's rainfall came from what we call the "heavy" events, whilst by the mid-1990s that had increased to about 15 per cent.
... 'the probability of heavy rainfall has doubled over the last thirty-five to forty years in southeast England, according to observations and analysis conducted by Osborn and his CRU colleagues Mick Hulme.
'These aren't one-off downpours, either. The frequency of prolonged five-day heavy rainfall events has also been increasing. In Scotland floods have been getting far more frequent over the last few decades, whilst in England and Wales there have been four major floods in the last twelve winters: 1989/90, 1993/94, 1994/5 and, of course, 2000/01." (p10-11)

It may be at this point that someone is thinking that these predictions of heavy rains and drought are inconsistent. In fact, they aren't, because, as Lynas explains in a discussion of Australia:

"... much of the increase [in rainfall] has come in the heaviest deluges, which are much less likely to soak productively into farmland, and more likely to run off the land in destructive torrents, taking the fertile topsoil with them."

Unfortunately, there is little basis for Burgess' sneer at the climate change modellers who have successfully predicted developments now taking place.

Burgess likes to cite individuals way, way outside the current scientific consensus, such as William Gray ("I am of the opinion that this is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people"), a hurricane scientist who was once highly regarded but no longer is. He quotes MIT's Richard Lindzen at some length, who is at least respected among colleagues for some of his work. Burgess says that he keenly awaits Johann's views on this man - maybe instead, he will be satisfied with John Rennie's views at Scientific American:

"...it should first be acknowledged that Lindzen's doubts about global warming and the human role in it represent a tiny minority view, and that the evidence to which he points has not persuaded a large segment of the climatological community. Lindzen participated in both the IPCC and the National Academy of Sciences reviews of global climate change, but he failed to convince his colleagues that he was correct."

(This profile of Lindzen appeared in SA in November 2001:
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00095B0D-C331-1C6E-84A9809EC588EF21)

The views of Gray, Lindzen and others are further explored in this recent article for the Washington Post by Joel Achenbach:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/23/AR2006052301305_pf.html

Burgess does precisely what Chris Mooney criticises the Bush administration of doing, namely choosing which kinds of experts he wants to hear from: "One of the most common attempts to skew science occurs when politicians handpick experts whose views coincide with what they want to hear, even when the vast majority of scientists believe something else." (Mooney, p21)

I think it is fairly clear that, even for the standard set by so many of our fellow bloggers, Scott Burgess' treatment of this issue merits the description of intellectual dishonesty.

(6) Taking a shot at Kerry Emanuel

As much daily journalism written to tight deadlines perhaps inevitably does, Johann's response contained two mistakes - the claim that Hurricane Katrina is "almost certainly the result of global warming" event goes beyond the pronouncements of scientists studying the issue, and it is not the view of MIT's Kerry Emanuel. The latter nonetheless does argue that major storms are lasting longer on average throughout the world and suggests anthropogenic global warming as a possible cause. Also, despite a description that appeared on one of his books, Ross Gelbspan is not a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, though he was in charge of a series for the Boston Globe that won the prize and is commonly described as the prize-winner.

For those who want a quick summary, Emanuel explains his views to Amy Goodman here:
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/08/29/145206

On the subject of hurricane intensity and global warming we are walking into a genuine scientific controversy, where there really isn't a consensus. Johann was wrong to express certainty on this point and Emanuel in fact argues that the current cycle of hurricanes in the North Atlantic are primarily the result of natural cycles.

Hurricane Katrina was not an especially strong hurricane by the time it struck New Orleans - a fact that underlines the highly culpable failure of the relevant US authorities, local, state and federal, Republican and Democratic, to prevent the city's destruction. But don't let me get started on that outrage...

(See Mike Davis: http://mondediplo.com/2005/10/02katrina, http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060410/davis and http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051017/davis)

Still Burgess' response, with an effort to discredit Professor Emanuel's work, is crass. Citing an article on scientists disagreeing with his research, noting a decrease in the number of hurricanes in the Asian Pacific, he cheerfully thinks out loud:

"Hmmmm - 'the Asian Pacific is way down the past few years'. What does Mr. Hari make of that, one wonders? I'm sure he'll be letting us know forthwith."

This is either a seriously ignorant or a disingenuous remark by Burgess, who ought to be aware that all climate scientists agree that there is considerable variation within the global climate system and that the impact of global warming may be felt in one place, but not in another. No one - literally no one - within the scientific consensus expects the impact of global warming to be uniform. Yet another example of Burgess taking a single piece of information that is useful to support a fringe position and presenting it as evidence in a case he cannot make.

As Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post reported: "There is this misperception that global change is a spatially uniform and smooth in time process," says Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at MIT. "In fact that's not true. There's all kind of variability. You can find places in the world where the temperature has gone down for the past 50 years. When you're looking for a signal in a very noisy record you do as much averaging as possible."

So what Burgess imagines to be a very clever rejoinder is, in fact, a basic working assumption of Emanuel and all those concerned with global warming. After the last section, this may not come as a surprise.

In an attempt to get at Emanuel, Burgess roots around for evidence of what his colleagues think of him - "not much as it happens", a dubious conclusion on the basis of the USA Today article he cites. Emanuel is in fact very well regarded in his field. Compare Burgess' attempt to cast aspersions on him, with his treatment of isolated figures such as William Gray and Richard Lindzen and the pattern of cherry-picking is again confirmed.

http://dailyablution.blogs.com/the_daily_ablution/2006/06/the_hari_the_ha.html

7) Anticipating the future

It may be that Kerry Emanuel's findings on the impact of global warming on hurricane intensity and duration can be successfully challenged. Quite where so many climate change contrarians get their certainty on this from, though, really is not clear.

In 1988 Dr. James E. Hansen testified before the US Senate on fossil-fuel-induced climate change and many of his colleagues expressed their concern that he had gone ahead of the science in making his point. Since then, the consensus has developed around his position, and scientists now tend to regard him as a pioneer whose convictions have been shown to be justified. In recent years, it has been striking and unnerving to note that many "alarmist" predictions have generally been vindicated - the retreat of the Arctic, the warming of the world's oceans, the dying of the Great Barrier Reef coral, the collapse of Antarctica's Larson B ice shelf, the drying up of the Amazon basin, the melting glaciers of Greenland. All these have exceeded expectations and fears. They have also prompted scientists to reject previous cautious predictions and scale-up the likely impact of global warming.

These last few years, the scientific consensus on global warming has anticipated events actually taking place in the global climate system - reality being the ultimate peer-review of scientific theories - while contrarian pseudo-science has anticipated nothing and striven to keep up.

In fact, this has persuaded me and many people like me who have not paid much attention to environmental issues in recent years, that I have been negligent in reacting to these developments in my own life, both in saving energy and taking political action.

As constantly alleged, many of these people proposing action on CO2 emissions do have an agenda, a political agenda - we would like to make sure that Tuvalu and Bangladesh stay above the surface of the ocean, we would like to keep London, Tokyo and New York, we would like agriculture to sustain a large global population, we would like freshwater sources in China and South America to continue to supply local populations. That's the agenda.

In this month's edition of Scientific American, Michael Shermer, self-described "fiscal conservative" and executive director of the US Skeptics Society, notes that he once made Bjorn Lomborg's claims the subject of a series of Skeptics Society lectures at the California Institute of Technology. But times have changed:

"Nevertheless, data trump politics, and a convergence of evidence from numerous sources has led me to make a cognitive switch on the subject of anthropogenic global warming... Because of the complexity of the problem, environmental skepticism was once tenable. No longer. It is time to flip from skepticism to activism."

And I was made uncomfortable again by Sir David Attenborough and Professor Peter Cox's exchange for the former's documentary. I finish with it, because after wading through the contrarian arguments, some sincerity is refreshing:

Peter Cox: "All climate modellers would like to be wrong.... That's the big challenge now is to get some action on behalf of future generations to avoid some of these worst impacts."

David Attenborough: "I must say, I think if... if you had to look into your grandchildren's eyes and say,'Yeah, I knew that it was going to happen, but I didn't bother to do anything about it. That... that would be a terrible thing."

Peter Cox: "Well, wouldn't that be the worst thing of all for any generation? To say, that we left something like that for future generations to pick up, and we knew about it, we knew about that problem, but we didn't deal with it. That would be the worst thing of all. We have to avoid that."


Scott Burgess has been unable to reply to any of these charges. What credibility does he have when it comes to debunking the factual representations of others on the question of global warming? It is like Jayson Blair trying to correct factual misrepresentations in New York Times reports.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 24, 2006 8:09:09 PM

Just to narrow the charge-sheet down a little bit, Scott could you start just by correcting just one of your most obvious and howling errors, like this one:

"In one post, [Burgess] quotes a FoE spokesperson describing the ongoing impact of global warming:

"The ice sheets are melting at unprecedented rates, there are unprecedented levels of flooding around the world and droughts in South-East England."

Burgess has determined that this statement is wrong:

"In fact, the water shortages in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains - but precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models."

Do current weather events contradict climate change models?... Drought in South-East England is certainly predicted in climate change models, as Professor Peter Cox of the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology explained recently in Sir David Attenborough's recent two-part series:

"In the South of England in particular we are concerned we will have drought conditions."

Burgess faulted Johann for going too far in linking Hurricane Katrina to global warming, but shows little scruple himself in using a dry winter in England as a basis for scoffing at climate change modelling.

This is not wise. As environmental writer Mark Lynas writes in "High Tide", average rainfall in winter in Britain has significantly increased in recent decades - as climate change models predict:

"What [Dr Tim] Osborn [of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia] discovered was that over recent decades heavy winter downpours have indeed increased dramatically. 'Over the period from the 1960s to the mid-1990s there was a doubling in the amount of rain that came in the "heavy category" in winter', he explained. 'So in the 1960s something like seven or eight per cent of each winter's rainfall came from what we call the "heavy" events, whilst by the mid-1990s that had increased to about 15 per cent.
... 'the probability of heavy rainfall has doubled over the last thirty-five to forty years in southeast England, according to observations and analysis conducted by Osborn and his CRU colleagues Mick Hulme.
'These aren't one-off downpours, either. The frequency of prolonged five-day heavy rainfall events has also been increasing. In Scotland floods have been getting far more frequent over the last few decades, whilst in England and Wales there have been four major floods in the last twelve winters: 1989/90, 1993/94, 1994/5 and, of course, 2000/01." (p10-11)

It may be at this point that someone is thinking that these predictions of heavy rains and drought are inconsistent. In fact, they aren't, because, as Lynas explains in a discussion of Australia:

"... much of the increase [in rainfall] has come in the heaviest deluges, which are much less likely to soak productively into farmland, and more likely to run off the land in destructive torrents, taking the fertile topsoil with them."

Unfortunately, there is little basis for Burgess' sneer at the climate change modellers who have successfully predicted developments now taking place."

Here is an overwhelming factual mistake, bordering on a lie. If a liberal newspaper published something comparable about, say, islamic fundamentalism, Burgess would (rightly) write to the readers' editor and demand a correction.

So where's the correction, Scott?

(Note to other commenters: I don't throw personal abuse at you. Please try to respond by addressing my actual point, not by calling me names. I say this not foe my sake, but for yours - it will make you at least look more knowledgable. Go on - try to react without the words 'idiot', 'douche bag' etc but by actually addressing the facts).

Posted by: Dave at Jul 24, 2006 8:22:04 PM

Dave,
How many people do you think are going to read through your entire post? It's much too long. Be concise!

Posted by: andrewf at Jul 24, 2006 8:41:12 PM

Scrolled straight passed it, didn’t give it a second thought. The poor chap doesn’t even realise how stupid his actions are or how they undermine what little err, patience, people have for him.

Give him his due though, if he took up any of the offers to ‘discuss’ he’d know he’d lose, hence the childish hit and run. Very childish and very sad,

Posted by: Tom at Jul 24, 2006 9:14:29 PM

Dave, how old are you?

Posted by: Nick (South Africa) at Jul 24, 2006 9:19:06 PM

Dave wrote: "The original conclusion of the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation arrived at in January 2003 was this"...

However, the quote he then inserts comes not from the Danish Ministry of Science, but from the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty which levelled the accusations that the Ministry of Science then characterized as the following:

The Ministry finds that the DCSD judgment was not backed up by documentation, and was completely void of argumentation" for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice.

The Ministry characterises the DCSD's treatment of the case as "dissatisfactory", "deserving criticism" and "emotional" and points out a number of significant errors. The DSCD's verdict has consequently been remitted.

Am I missing something or did the Danish Ministry of Science refer to the original charge Dave seems to think of as still so very damning and relevant as "emotional" and "containing a number of significant errors"?

Must be difficult to type having to breathe in the paper bag every few seconds. I think there are some ugly sentiments scrawled in red lipstick on a becandled mirror in the center of the Scott shrine in the crawl space off of Dave's bedroom.

Posted by: Frank at Jul 24, 2006 9:49:46 PM

Dave wrote: "The original conclusion of the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation arrived at in January 2003 was this"...

However, the quote he then inserts comes not from the Danish Ministry of Science, but from the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty which levelled the accusations that the Ministry of Science then characterized as the following:

The Ministry finds that the DCSD judgment was not backed up by documentation, and was completely void of argumentation" for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice.

The Ministry characterises the DCSD's treatment of the case as "dissatisfactory", "deserving criticism" and "emotional" and points out a number of significant errors. The DSCD's verdict has consequently been remitted.

Am I missing something or did the Danish Ministry of Science refer to the original charge Dave seems to think of as still so very damning and relevant as "emotional" and "containing a number of significant errors"?

Must be difficult to type having to breathe in the paper bag every few seconds. I think there are some ugly sentiments scrawled in red lipstick on a becandled mirror in the center of the Scott shrine in the crawl space off of Dave's bedroom.

Posted by: Frank at Jul 24, 2006 9:50:20 PM

If I were Dr. Nepstad I'd be hopping mad about the Indy's treatment of my research.

Posted by: Natalie Solent at Jul 24, 2006 9:51:25 PM

The heart of science is that truth is determined by observation, not by consensus

Posted by: John at Jul 24, 2006 9:58:56 PM

Jesus Dave, do you realise that your form of argument makes you appear quite demented? Never heard of presentation skills?

Posted by: Andrew Paterson at Jul 24, 2006 11:26:12 PM

Speaking of observation, it seems Appollo 11 observed a UFO (Channel 5 earlier), and a subsequent mission filmed another similar one.

Is this old news or should the government immediately finance conferences and careers for special groups to quote each other.

Posted by: sfthpo at Jul 24, 2006 11:38:30 PM

It is a scientific fact that the Amazon itself will dry up before Dave does. Stop-cock! Perleeeze!

Obviously whoever coined the word logorrhea knew 'Dave' personally.

Posted by: Frank P at Jul 24, 2006 11:51:21 PM

Well, that's an ante, Mr. Rose.

Now, I propose that you go to find out, for example, what the Climate Science Watch's relation to the Governmental Accountability Project might be (funding-wise), and whether in turn the GAP might be beholden to such non-partisan agencies as the Rockefeller Foundation, the Proteus Group, and the Ford Foundation, all major contributors to National Public Radio.

As for what you consider the damning testimony of

>Not only are papers challenging the consensus view not passing peer-review - they aren't even being submitted. No one is writing them, as the executive editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy of the journal Science told Chris Mooney<

And if that's the case, how does that fadge with Lindzen's piece in the Wall Street Journal, which I urged you to consider?

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=95000606

And what do you make of the helpful press interpretation (no doubt backed by expertise) that is gainsaid by this person and the rest of the National Academy of Sciences panel commissioned to determine the value of the evidence? A list of his publications may be found here:

http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/PublicationsRSL.html

Posted by: Dan Collins at Jul 24, 2006 11:54:37 PM

Dave is back, inevitably, given what I wrote since his previous appearance, which included this:

"I was also trying something out on Dave. Various postees had previously told him to go away and he kept coming back. So I thought I would find out what would happen if I incessantly demanded him to post! Not a truly scientific experiment, for, as in climatology, there could be no "control" condition. But what the esteemed M.H.Erickson referred to as a "field experiment" of what is indeed an Ericksonian technique of influence.

If I say the strategy succeeded, Dave will be obliged to come back, or else I am demonstrably right!!"

So he could not resist the Ericksonian "double-bind" to make him come back.

But he's back to his old tricks again with the cut-n-paste-n-run I see.

To recap the original issue: He posted for weeks a demand that someone "apologise" for stating that Johann Hari was incorrect to state that a professional body had found Bjorn Lomborg "guilty". Because Dave says that Hari was correct and they had found him guilty.

Then he posts a cut-n-paste that actually
say's unambiduously that Lomborg was actually acquitted by said body > therefore, Hari was wrong. Therefore, nothing to apologise for.

Now he hopes we have forgotten all that and comes back on a "default" setting, attacking all and sundry.

But at least one person has not forgotten what this is about. It is about some sanctimonious heckler who cannot support his case when challenged to do so.

Posted by: AliAbDab at Jul 25, 2006 12:03:26 AM

I should add that it's later than I expected ot to be now I've got here, and I am more tired by the day's travails than I expected, my eyesight is in need of rest and I am for these reasons not able to read all the stuff I've missed. Sorry folks, you may have to count me out tonight!

At least for an hour or two.

Posted by: AliAbDab at Jul 25, 2006 12:07:15 AM

I reckon dave is either a robot or johann Hari. To expect us to read the entirity of your masive post on two separate threads is ridiculous. Make your argument in a few sentences. Oh yeah, it's not your arguement is it?

Posted by: john at Jul 25, 2006 12:46:03 AM

Ali says, "He posted for weeks a demand that someone "apologise" for stating that Johann Hari was incorrect to state that a professional body had found Bjorn Lomborg "guilty". Because Dave says that Hari was correct and they had found him guilty.

Then he posts a cut-n-paste that actually
say's unambiduously that Lomborg was actually acquitted by said body > therefore, Hari was wrong. Therefore, nothing to apologise for."

That description of my charge against Scott is a plain, demonstrable lie, as anybody who has read me can see.

John asks for a summary of what concerns me in a few sentences.

Okay. Scott 'quotes' scientists who say the opposite of what he claims. He can't get his facts straight on global warming at all, making elementary howlers about proveable, factual matters. This would be bad enough in an ordinary person; in somebody who sets themselves up as a fact-checker of others on the question of global warming, it is almost comic.

Obviously, to substantiate these sentences, you have to quote authoritative sources. Hence the longer piece written by Alex Higgins, which goes through this charge in great detail, proving it beyond doubt that Scott doesn't have the faintest idea about global warming.

Let me give just one example. Scott quoted a Friends of the Earth spokesman who said, "The ice sheets are melting at unprecedented rates, there are unprecedented levels of flooding around the world and droughts in South-East England."

He used this as an example of environmentalists getting their facts wrong, saying: "In fact, the water shortages in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains - but precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models."

This is either (a) an error made out of total ignorance, or (b) a flat lie. Why? Because drought in South-East England is certainly predicted in climate change models, as Professor Peter Cox of the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology explained recently in Sir David Attenborough's recent two-part series:

"In the South of England in particular we are concerned we will have drought conditions."

See? A basic error of fact. Nothing to be ashamed of - everybody makes them. But Scott has been informed of this error (along with literally dozens of others like it in his writings about global warming), yet refuses to print a correction. Yet still he goes around demanding others correct their (usually lesser) errors on the same subject.

Do you see now why I'm bothered, and why I (along with dozens of people who have e-mailed me) think Burgess' credibility is in tatters?

It's not enough to respond by calling me an idiot, a robot, a douche-bag etc. Respond to the facts (not some totally fictitious rewriting of my criticism, as Ali offers), or call on Scott to print a correction.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 1:09:22 AM


No, Dave, I'm afraid it really won't do.
For those of you whoare new to this, Dave has now posted the same lengthy list of misrepresentations and dishonest accusations at least four times. Occasionally he rings the changes by spelling Alex Higgins name wrong, as above where he has become Alex Hugging. This inability to get even the most basic points right, such as the writer of the greaterpart of his unending quotes, is symptomatic of the lazy thinking Dave has demonstrated throughout.

Again, for the benefit of new readers, I will do a little repetition of my own.

Here are some examples of why Scott owes no apology to anyone.

(By the way I did look up David Rose, as he requested, but our aspirant PhD didn't appear in the first 100 so I gave up. Give us your first degree college, Dave, that will shorten the search).

"Read the full post - - and see that he is clearly claiming global warming is not anthropogenic, in a post whose whole purpose is to sneer at people who have been warning about anthropogenic climate change."

(THE ABOVEIS A QUOTE FROM MR HARI.)

And Burgess responded:

"Please do go read the full post - it's not very long. As you do, look carefully for any denial of an anthropogenic component to climate change. On second thought, don't bother - no such statement, much less a 'clear claim', exists. The post merely posits that there may be another factor as well. Typically, Mr. Hari is too focused on personal attack to address the actual issue raised by the post."

(A measured response from Mr Burgess.)

"As Burgess writes, this short post does not deny all human responsibility for global warming,"

THIS IS AN ADMISSION BY DAVE AND HARI THAT BURGESS HAS ANSWERED THEIR SLUR AND PROVED THAT THEY WERE LYING.

"but this is a disingenuous response to the full charge."

(NO, IT IS NOT, IT IS A REBUTTAL OF THE LIE PUT FORWARD AS FACT BY HARI / DAVE.)

In the context of (Weasel Words)the Daily Ablution's discussion of global warming, the post is an attempt to "to sneer at people who have been warning about anthropogenic climate change",

(Loaded opinion presented as fact)


Still Burgess' response, with an effort to discredit Professor Emanuel's work, is crass.

("Crass? An attempted insult which falls flat because Dave doesn't know what crass means, a common failing among the inhabitants of Selwyn College, ironically)

"Citing an article on scientists disagreeing with his research, noting a decrease in the number of hurricanes in the Asian Pacific, he cheerfully thinks out loud:

"Hmmmm - 'the Asian Pacific is way down the past few years'. What does Mr. Hari make of that, one wonders? I'm sure he'll be letting us know forthwith."

This is either a seriously ignorant or a disingenuous remark by Burgess,"

(No, again, it isn't. It is Mr Burgess picking up Hari/Dave in another of their constant lapses into selective quotation.)

" Burgess does precisely what Chris Mooney (who he?) criticises the Bush administration of doing, (critices For doing, accuses Of doing, surely?) namely choosing which kinds of experts he wants to hear from:

(And Hari/Dave do precisely the same thing. They present scientific 'evidence' which coincides with their prejudices as being factual and correct, and they smear scientific 'evidence' , and opinion, which contradicts their prejudices, as being "crass", or "intellectually dishonest", or "disingenuous".)

" Scott Burgess' treatment of this issue merits the description of intellectual dishonesty."

(No, it doesn't. Yours, however, genuinely does.)


So what Burgess imagines to be a very clever rejoinder is, in fact,

(Please don't presume to tell us what Scott Burgess imagines. You would be pressed to understand what a single cell amoeba imagines)


"If Scott doesn't respond to this fair, measured and accurate critique, then I'm afraid his ability to fact-check and critique others is simply shot to pieces."

(If you think this is a fair, measured and accurate critique, then I am afraid you need to seek psychiatric assistance and a short but reputable English dictionary.)


Posted by: furriskey at Jul 23, .

Let me repeat at this stage, that when Dave seeks (through the selective quotation of others) to suggest that any sensible comparison can be drawn between the effect of torrential rains on an arid land surface such as obtains in the Arabian peninsula and in parts of Australia, with the consequent erosion of fertile surface soil, and the effect of heavy rain on the South East of England, where the soil surface is knitted by centuries of grass and crop growth, is either dishonest or, more probably in the circumstances, stupid.

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 25, 2006 5:06:22 AM

Sorry to be so unoriginal, but I did a Google search on "Dave". Here's what I found.

He's David Rose, famous on the net for his gay-incest porn and shilling for Johann Hari, of whom he was a contemporary at Cambridge. (Need I point out that Hari scored the highest ever double-first at said institute of higher learning and is shortly expected to cure cancer and solve the paradox of time travel.)

His attachment to Hari appears somewhat emotional.

Posted by: windowlicker at Jul 25, 2006 8:11:45 AM

How interesting!

Admires “progressive causes like climate change” – anyone would think it had nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics.

And confesses

“Yes, I do shifts as a sub at the Indie sometimes (Johann got me this shiftwork, I told you up front he is a friend of mine) - you can all me on the switchboard, call the subs' desk on 02070052000 and ask for David Rose.”

The Independent!. Who’d have thought?

Posted by: sfthpo at Jul 25, 2006 10:09:50 AM

Windowlicker,

Outstanding research. We had concluded that Dave was a Hariphile and a bunny boiler but I don't think any of us realised that he was as disgusting an excuse for humanity as is the case if your first link was truly written by him.
No doubt he will be threatening you with legal action very shortly if it wasn't, as that seems to be his default response in the second link.

The second link, in which Dave admits to being employed (at Hari's behest) at the Independent, is fascinating. What a miserable, creeping, loathsome fraud he is. Have you got time to run an eyeball over their chum Strooth?

Posted by: at Jul 25, 2006 10:11:46 AM

"In fact, the water shortages in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains - but precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models."

This is either (a) an error made out of total ignorance, or (b) a flat lie.

From the Times, January 30, 2006:

"Winter rains are the key to many of Britain’s droughts because they replenish the surface reservoirs and underground water supplies, especially in southern and eastern regions — 70 per cent of the South East’s water comes from wells and boreholes drilled into rock. It would take an exceptionally wet year to recover from this sort of drought.

"But is this a sign of climate change? Two dry winters in succession cropped up in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as 1933-34, so the recent drought is probably part of natural climate variability.

"In fact, winters in Britain are predicted to become wetter, not drier, with global warming."

Posted by: Scott at Jul 25, 2006 10:41:16 AM

(Sorry, I do like to sign my potential libels - must be early Alzheimers kicking in)

Yes, Scott, but that was in The Times, which unlike The Independent, cannot be trusted in these matters.
If two Shags Prescott builds new towns across the South East and the water companies don't fix their leaking pipes, there is certainly going to be a water shortage in the South East. But not a drought.

In fact, if the geologists are correct in their forecasts and Great Britain continues to tilt to the right, quite a lot of the South East is scheduled to end up under the North Sea.

However, all is not lost. They may have studied Geology at Cambridge.

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 25, 2006 11:02:04 AM

windowlicker,

Just because Dave is foul it doesn't change what he wrote.

Because of the dangers to freedom from the fascist end of the gaia worship spectrum, I hope you take the time to destroy his words.

He has already destroyed his own character.

Posted by: Rob Read at Jul 25, 2006 11:15:59 AM

It seems that Dave actually thinks that it is unacceptable to point out counterexamples to anything Hari says because that is cherrypicking counterexamples.
Jeepers.

Posted by: maor at Jul 25, 2006 12:18:23 PM

Maor,
Cherrypicking is the least of the manifestations of Dave's sewage polluted 'mind'.

To describe Windowlicker's links as revealing would be to compare Pharos with a dying glow-worm.

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 25, 2006 12:24:43 PM

That 'incest' link is nothing to do with me, and fucking creepy.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 12:25:51 PM

That 'incest' link is nothing to do with me, and fucking creepy. I don't know why it features me e-maila ddress - I assume it's some spam thing - and I have e-mailed the website telling them to remove it immediately.

It is interesting you are STILL avoiding the detailed point I made.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 12:26:56 PM

Dave

Do you know what the ad hominem fallacy is? You can find a definition in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem).

Your entire post concentrates on Scott, not the case he is making, and making very thoroughly in my opinion (and I did pass my degree in a discipline more relevant and scientific than Fred Pearce's, at the same university as he studied, so I can critically evaluate what Scott is saying, apparently unlike you). Therefore it is a complete fallacy in the argument.

I assume, therefore, that you have nothing relevant to say and therefore cannot justify your assumed disagreement with Scott. You really shouldn't rant like, that, it only goes to highlight the fact that you cannot form a rational argument to counter the opinion of the person with whom you disagree.

Face it, the Indy lied to try and back its editorial line. Is that so surprising in the left/liberal meeja?

Posted by: Richard at Jul 25, 2006 12:28:49 PM

Dave writes:

"It is interesting you are STILL avoiding the detailed point I made."

Earlier, he had written ("let me give just one example"), disputing my statement that "the water shortages in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains - but precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models":

"This is either (a) an error made out of total ignorance, or (b) a flat lie."

To which I countered:

"From the Times, January 30, 2006:

"Winter rains are the key to many of Britain’s droughts because they replenish the surface reservoirs and underground water supplies, especially in southern and eastern regions — 70 per cent of the South East’s water comes from wells and boreholes drilled into rock. It would take an exceptionally wet year to recover from this sort of drought.

"But is this a sign of climate change? Two dry winters in succession cropped up in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as 1933-34, so the recent drought is probably part of natural climate variability.

"In fact, winters in Britain are predicted to become wetter, not drier, with global warming."

It is interesting that he is STILL avoiding the detailed point that I made.

It would also be interesting to hear his comments about the actual post he's commenting on, but I don't expect that will be happening anytime soon.

Posted by: Scott at Jul 25, 2006 12:40:43 PM

"Do you know what the ad hominem fallacy is? You can find a definition in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem).

Your entire post concentrates on Scott, not the case he is making, and making very thoroughly in my opinion"

No, Richard, it's not. It's the opposite. It's not saying Scott is a shitty person, or stupid, or a "douche bag" (sound familiar?). I have no idea if he is, i don't know him.

I am saying he doesn't understand the slightest thing about environmental science, and going through things he has asserted as fact and showing they are nothing of the sort. That's not ad hominem, any more than Scott's debunking of the Independent on Sunday piece of ad hominem. It's about facts and a particular (mis)interpretation of them.

Showing a person to be asserting falsehoods as fact is not ad hominem, as anybody who understands the ad hominem fallacy knows straight away.

Scott has - at last! - replied to one point in the very detailed dossier against him.

This is encouraging.

He reponds to an expose of him being factually, proveably wrong by... quoting one piece from the Times. Let's look at this.

While trying to defunk Friends of the Earth, you claimed that this statement by its spokesman was false: "The ice sheets are melting at unprecedented rates, there are unprecedented levels of flooding around the world and droughts in South-East England."

You said: "In fact, the water shortages in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains - but precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models."

This is demonstrably false. As Professor Peter Cox of the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology explained recently in Sir David Attenborough's recent two-part series: "In the South of England in particular we are concerned we will have drought conditions."

And you respond to a serious scientist who is personally conducting the research... by quoting a journalists' piece in the Times, offerign a second-hand summary (based on, uh, we don't know) of some anonymous research.

Oh well. I'm sure the scientist (and ALL the other scientists conducting this) will happily admit he's wrong and rely on the Murdoch press for information.

Right. You won that argument.

Can you try responding seriously now? And to more than just one point, but rather to the full and comprehensive range of accusations against you?

(I've had a few e-mails about that vile 'incest' website. Since anybody who knows me knows I am straight and engaged, the idea of me writing paedophile pornography about men is a bit risible. I wouldn't be shocked to discover some of the more unpleasant commenters here have posted it in a desperate attempt to change the subject, but I hope I am being excessively cynical).

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 12:44:39 PM

You say, "It would also be interesting to hear his comments about the actual post he's commenting on, but I don't expect that will be happening anytime soon."

Yeah, it looks like the paper inflated the evidence, but I'd have to study it in more detail to be sure. But with your track record of massive distortions, Scott, I hope you'll understand that I'm not prepared to take your word for it.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 12:47:16 PM

From the Environment Agency, supporting the Times' statement:

" UK winter rainfall may increase by between 5 and 20 per cent, leading to worse and more frequent flooding."

In other words, global warming models predict more winter rain.

But - and this is the point I was trying to make - this has not been the case for the last two years, and the low winter rainfall is the primary cause of the current water shortage. The Times article supports this statement, as does this BBC report.

But the BBC aren't scientists, so we shouldn't listen to them with anything like the attention we should obviously be giving Dave's employer, the Independent. So we turn again to the Environment Agency (PDF), where my conclusions are again confirmed:

"Winter rainfall is especially important for water resources, as it fills reservoirs, rivers and groundwater .... Summer 2005 had near average rainfall across England and Wales"

So, Dave ... how is it that my statement that "the water shortages in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains - but precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models" is "either (a) an error made out of total ignorance, or (b) a flat lie? Please be specific.

Posted by: Scott at Jul 25, 2006 1:06:18 PM

This is from the aptly named SourceWatch:

Curious IP address you have

DavidR, you have a curious IP address:

IP: 217.118.112.0/20
descr: Interoute Telecommunications (UK) Ltd
origin: AS8928
notify: hostmaster@interoute.net
mnt-by: INTEROUTE-MNTNR
changed: george@interoute.net 20040211
source: RIPE
person: Franc Tundidor
address: Independent News & Media
address: Independent House
address: 191 Marsh Wall
address: London
address: E14 9RS
address: UK
Now, you wouldnt happen to be working at the Independent, would you? So you too should be "keep up the good work on (bad) journalists" (as you stated above).

So, I guess we can do a check on which ISP delivered that story.

Posted by: Dan Collins at Jul 25, 2006 1:11:50 PM

Dave

>...While trying to defunk Friends of the Earth ..<

What the funk does that mean?

I suppose it could mean 'While trying to disperse the irrational fears of'? Does it?

Posted by: Frank P at Jul 25, 2006 1:19:00 PM

As was mention here some time ago, to all intents and purposes, Dave and Hari are one and the same. Hari’s third rate guff was exposed and Dave duly arrived to smear the exposer

I would love to say my opinion for Hari is lower but lower it could not get, as for Dave, as I have already said, he’s the organ grinders monkey and a third rate one at that.

Posted by: Tom at Jul 25, 2006 1:30:14 PM

Btw there are a few David Roses around, I wonder if this is the one that abandoned his wife and two little girls some years ago. Perhaps not, considering this David Rose's obduracy in the face of overwhelming argument against him.

Posted by: Frank P at Jul 25, 2006 1:34:43 PM

Let me just see if I’ve got this straight.

(a) Global warming models postulate Britain will have winter floods and summer droughts.
(b) Current summer water shortage is actually blamed on lack of winter rain.
(c) Scott points out that (b) lends no support to (a).
(d) Someone on TV says that global warming models predicts summer drought.
(e) Therefore models of global warming are correct.

Was that it?

Posted by: sfthpo at Jul 25, 2006 1:38:02 PM

Have you got a link for us, Frank?

Posted by: Dan Collins at Jul 25, 2006 1:47:14 PM

From the bbc :-
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/breakfast/1950783.stm
"A new scientific report says the UK climate will become much warmer, with hotter drier summers, wetter winters and more frequent extreme sea level rises around most of the UK shoreline."
This seems to back Scott up.
BTW I do believe in climate change. However I do not believe that every bit of freak weather can be blamed on climate change.
Unlike Dave and Hari.

Posted by: polishexile at Jul 25, 2006 1:50:35 PM

Dave,

If someone has stolen your identity to submit that story I, of course, fully retract the accusation. In fact, it wouldn't influence me one way or the other on the validity of your argument.

And your loyalty to Hari is in many ways commendable, though I'm pretty sure he can stand up for himself.

What does surpise me is that somebody with a 2:1 in - of all things - philosophy makes such heavy weather of simple argumentation. You rely here and at sourcewatch almost entirely on "appeal to authority" and behave as if, as someone else said, truth is a matter of consensus. If you can't stand the heat...

Because of the dangers to freedom from the fascist end of the gaia worship spectrum, I hope you take the time to destroy his words.

In Scott's presence I think my efforts would be redundant. (However, sometimes I get exasperated and think, "What would Zidane do?" Sorry.)

Posted by: windowlicker at Jul 25, 2006 1:58:42 PM

My Global Warming/Cooling/Change model predicts it will be warmer during the summer than it is during the winter therefore I am right.

Bow before me minions!

Posted by: Rob Read at Jul 25, 2006 2:07:47 PM

Point of German pronunciation: Is Goebbels pronounced "gerbils"?

Posted by: Dan Collins at Jul 25, 2006 2:10:11 PM

Hello Dave, You're my wife now

Posted by: Rob Read at Jul 25, 2006 2:22:05 PM

Windowlicker, I appreciate your retraction of a pretty heinous accusation. You also say, "What does surpise me is that somebody with a 2:1 in - of all things - philosophy makes such heavy weather of simple argumentation." I don't get that, am I missing something?

Scott, you said: "In fact, the water shortages in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains - but precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models."

What Alex Higgins was debunking was the substantive factual assertions made in Scott's statement, which just don't correlate with reality. To quote Alex Higgins (yes! a quote! some of your commenters will now recoil in horror), so you can understand the science a little:

"Drought in South-East England is certainly predicted in climate change models, as Professor Peter Cox of the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology explained recently in Sir David Attenborough's recent two-part series:

"In the South of England in particular we are concerned we will have drought conditions."

Burgess faulted Johann for going too far in linking Hurricane Katrina to global warming, but shows little scruple himself in using a dry winter in England as a basis for scoffing at climate change modelling.

This is not wise. As environmental writer Mark Lynas writes in "High Tide", average rainfall in winter in Britain has significantly increased in recent decades - as climate change models predict:

"What [Dr Tim] Osborn [of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia] discovered was that over recent decades heavy winter downpours have indeed increased dramatically. 'Over the period from the 1960s to the mid-1990s there was a doubling in the amount of rain that came in the "heavy category" in winter', he explained. 'So in the 1960s something like seven or eight per cent of each winter's rainfall came from what we call the "heavy" events, whilst by the mid-1990s that had increased to about 15 per cent.
... 'the probability of heavy rainfall has doubled over the last thirty-five to forty years in southeast England, according to observations and analysis conducted by Osborn and his CRU colleagues Mick Hulme.

'These aren't one-off downpours, either. The frequency of prolonged five-day heavy rainfall events has also been increasing. In Scotland floods have been getting far more frequent over the last few decades, whilst in England and Wales there have been four major floods in the last twelve winters: 1989/90, 1993/94, 1994/5 and, of course, 2000/01." (p10-11)

It may be at this point that someone is thinking that these predictions of heavy rains and drought are inconsistent. In fact, they aren't, because, as Lynas explains in a discussion of Australia:

"... much of the increase [in rainfall] has come in the heaviest deluges, which are much less likely to soak productively into farmland, and more likely to run off the land in destructive torrents, taking the fertile topsoil with them."

Unfortunately, there is little basis for Burgess' sneer at the climate change modellers who have successfully predicted developments now taking place. "

Do you understand this point, Scott? I ask this as a genuine question. Heavier rainfall can lead to drought because the torrential rainfall is not absorbed into farmland in the same way. That is the prediction of the climate models.

Climate models are long-term trend predictors. There will always be blips within them, because the weather is an incredibly complex phenomenon. Nobody has ever claimed climate modelling predicts the weather next week; that's just a straw man you've set up. But the weather has been broadly shifting in line with the predictions of the climate modellers (look at the Gulf Stream), and not at all in line with the predictions of global warming deniers.

There's no shame in not understanding a complex climatological point. Just don't set yourself up as fact-checking people who do understand it, like Friends of the Earth, that's all.

Now, do you want to go through the rest of what Alex Higgins exposed about you? There may be some errors in what Higgins says, just as there are massive and systematic errors in what you say. Go through them in a rational way and we'll find out. I'm pretty sure Higgins will correct his errors; why won't you correct yours?

Somebody above says I think all freak weather conditions are due to global warming. That's just not true. (What is it with straw men and your commenters, Scott? I guess you can't be held responsible for them though, to be fair). There is natural climatic variation, in addition to the disruptions of anthropogenic global warming, obviously. That is the position of the massive and overwhelming scientific consensus.

As for my IP address, I did a couple of subbing shifts at the Indie about a year ago to make some extra cash. Big deal. Do you want to address my points now, rather than inventing incest websites (I'm sure you can post my e-mail on some sites dedicated to shagging chickens too) and other such nonsense?

I should add, however, that I have some respect for Scott for (finally) addressing at least one of Higgins' points, albeit imperfectly.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 3:18:32 PM

"Point of German pronunciation: Is Goebbels pronounced "gerbils"?"

Yes.

Posted by: sfthpo at Jul 25, 2006 3:32:40 PM

"Scott, you said: "In fact, the water shortages in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains - but precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models."

What Alex Higgins was debunking was the substantive factual assertions made in Scott's statement, which just don't correlate with reality."

Again I'll ask. Please briefly and clearly show us, with citations if possible, which of these two statements is incorrect:

1. "the water shortages [referring, of course, to the current ones] in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains"

2. " precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models"

Thank you.

Posted by: Scott at Jul 25, 2006 3:34:07 PM

Dave, “Go through them in a rational way and we'll find out.”

That is what commentators here have been asking for quite some time, it is you that cuts, pastes and runs. If you do chose to discuss things in a ‘rational way’ please try and refrain from the childish and petulant whine you have resorted to thus far.

Posted by: Tom at Jul 25, 2006 3:37:47 PM

Dave--

Whoever posted that disgusting story on that site did so in MAY, it appears. I know that you've been bugging us here for a little while, but I don't think you would have crossed anyone's threshold of tolerance two months ago, if indeed that was after you first started posting here, and I don't believe anybody here would have done that sort of thing, anyway.

Were I you, I'd demand to find out from what ISP that was posted. It could be that there are other such false attributions out there.

Posted by: Dan Collins at Jul 25, 2006 3:43:57 PM

I graduated from Cambridge University with a starred first in Goegraphy specialising in environmental science (the higest possible grade, awarded only to 0.5% of examinees) and after working for two years in Antarctica observing the effects of enthropogenic global warming I am now taking a break from doing a PhD in environmental science at Selwyn College, Cambridge which should be completed in two years. (David Rose, look me up). What are your qualifications?

Point of order: Can we clear this up? Did Dave gain a starred First in Geography or did he get a 2:1 in Philosophy? Or did he cut & paste his degree as well?

Scott, my piss-take that The Times would not be taken seriously by Dave having regrettably proven to be true, and Dave having cut and pasted the same old dross yet again, why are you wasting your time continuing to treat him as a rational human being worthy of debate?

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 25, 2006 3:48:00 PM

He might better ask himself why the original judgement remains more or less the view of most scientists working in the field Lomborg purported to investigate.

We can hardly expect those shown to be charlatans by Lomborg's book, to be highly appreciative of him.

Posted by: Serf at Jul 25, 2006 3:53:36 PM

Dave, Feel free to answer the question about your degree(s) personally. No need to cut and paste the entire year's results from whenever it was you went down.

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 25, 2006 4:10:48 PM

Dan, thanks for the tip. I've e-mailed the website to ask them for the IP address.

Scott, you still don't understand. +Nobody+ says climate modelling can predict the specific weather in the specific frame of a year or two. (That's why hari was wrong to attribute Katrina specifically to global warming, and why he promptly corrected himself - a model for you, perhaps?). There is literally no scientist, anywhere, who has ever made the claim that you are debunking - that climate modelling can predict very short-term weather patterns. So your 'clever' debunking of an argument was in fact against a total straw man. Hence my description of you either being ignorant or lying.

To give you the absolute basics of climate modelling, which you clearly don't understand: it can predict general trends on a long-term basis. It has successfully predicted the overall trends, like increased hurricane intensity, which are occurring far better than the global warming deniers. Within those general trends, there is obvious variation, because the climate is a fantastically varied system. Go and buy any book on climate modelling and you will discover this.

If it is cold tomorrow, that doesn't mean climate modelling showing generally hotter temperatures is wrong. (It will make the world colder in many places and for many seasons). If we have a few winters of average rainfall, it doesn't mean climate modelling showing winter rainfall will increase is wrong. Climate modelling is a long-term process showing long-term trends and since climate is fantastically complex there will be counterveiling shot-term trends which sometimes cause blips in the long-term trend.

I feel like I'm explaining addition to somebody who sets themselves up as debunking a high-level mathemician's potential solution to Fermat's Last Theorem.

Do you see now why your point was bogus?

Alex Higgins also pointed out, drawing on scientific sources (rather than the journalistic ones you selectively prefer), how climate modellers anticipate both heavier winter rains +and+ drought, a process your commnters also seemed to find hard to understand.

Please, don't try to debunk people when you don't even understand the most basic elements of what they are discussing, Scott.

However, I repeat my praise for the fact that you are finally engaging with the factual rebuttals of your work. Do you want to move onto the dozens of other errors Alex Higgins alleged you have made, seeing which ones are defensible and which ones you will have to apologise and print corrections for?

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 4:57:37 PM

Tom says, "That is what commentators here have been asking for quite some time, it is you that cuts, pastes and runs. If you do chose to discuss things in a ‘rational way’ please try and refrain from the childish and petulant whine you have resorted to thus far."

I have hardly cut and run. I was asking Scott to correct his mistakes, not to leave the issue of defending his errors to people who call anybody who expresses the scientific consensus as "douche bags", "idiots" etc.

I don't think it is childish and petulant to keep pointing out basic facts, rather than to engage in hyperbole and insults.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 5:01:24 PM

Perhpas you would like to reply to this serious criticism of your work next, Scott?

"Burgess displays a graph on temperature change over the last one thousand years and quotes from a summary of issues on climate change put together, he informs us with heavy sarcasm, by "the scientifically illiterate right-wingers at the University of California".

What is this quote and this graph meant to demonstrate? That the current scientific consensus is badly wrong and climatologists have overlooked what Burgess and other contrarians have spotted?

The source Burgess cites says this about anthropogenic climate change:

"What is the single most authoritative source for information on climate change and its relationship to human activities, as well as what we ought to do about it? There is, in fact, such a trustworthy source: it is a body of working climate scientists known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."

http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/09_2.shtml

In addition to arguing that the IPCC is an authoritative source, the University of California summary reiterates the consensus view:

"You may have decided, based on the limited evidence given in Section 1.0, that the climate is warming and that the increase in carbon dioxide is responsible. Or you may have decided that the climate is warming and we do not know why. Or you may think that just because the overall temperature increased by 2°F does not mean that there is a permanent warming of climate. Seasonal variation is much greater than this, and it could get cooler again soon, in which case there would be no long-term warming."

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 5:21:03 PM

Dave,

I'm very well aware of the issues you raise in your latest attempt to deflect the discussion.

I'm not - in all likelihood - debunking a scientist, I'm contesting a implication made in the Daily Mail (unfortunately not online) by an unnamed FoE campaigner who, in April, clearly tried to imply a connection between the current water shortage and global warming when he/she reminded us, in the context of a report on the subject, that:

"The ice sheets are melting at unprecedented rates, there are unprecedented levels of flooding around the world and droughts in South-East England."

See? This person is trying to link the current shortage - that one which, as we've seen, has causes which are in opposition to current climate models (a fact which does not in itself prove those models wrong, by any means) - to climate change. Can you not see that?

In disagreeing with him/her, I'm recognising the truth of your rather obvious point that it's impossible to blame short term events on climate change, as models can only account for longer term trends.

Obvious to some, anyway. Polly Toynbee takes a similar tack:

"Standpipes are likely this summer, with aquifers at their driest in memory. Yet none of this was unpredictable: Thames Water cannot claim to be surprised. If in 1987 the prudent designers of the Thames barrier built in expectation of global warming, allowing for up to an 8mm annual rise in river levels, then the private water companies should have been planning on precisely the same calculation."

Again, the aquifers are low because of low winter rainfall, which climate change models do not predict. Yet Ms. Toynbee makes the connection anyway.

So, you see, I'm not debunking scientists, or mathematicians, but FoE "campaigners" and journalists, who are - if not directly claiming - strongly implying that global warming is a causal factor in the current shortage, when in fact what caused the shortage is low winter rainfall.

Finally, you said that my statement that " the water shortages in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains - but precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models." was representative of "the substantive factual assertions made in Scott's statement, which just don't correlate with reality"

Are you prepared to admit that my statement is, in actuality, factually correct? Yes or No?

Posted by: Scott at Jul 25, 2006 5:31:58 PM

Dave, feel free to raise your next criticism the next time an appropriate entry is posted (please try to keep it on topic).

Nobody is reading this anyway, and I think it's best to address one issue at a time. But I will do so next time the subject comes up, provided your comment is on topic.

Over and out, for this thread - see you later.

Posted by: Scott at Jul 25, 2006 5:38:05 PM

Dave I can understand how this :-
"how climate modellers anticipate both heavier winter rains +and+ drought, a process your commnters also seemed to find hard to understand."
could be true.
However is there any evidence that that is what is happening ? Are you saying that the drought in the UK is because we had heavier winter rain than normal last year which ran into the sea very quickly because it was so heavy without increasing ground water levels ?
If so please provide evidence because I have not seen that in the media. Does the Independent say that ?

Posted by: polishexile at Jul 25, 2006 5:39:23 PM

Typical pseudo-science. The theory must be true because someone said so. The evidence can't falsify the theory because the theory is infinitely flexible. A new religion.

Talking about basic facts, "Did Dave gain a starred First in Geography or did he get a 2:1 in Philosophy? Or did he cut & paste his degree as well?"

Posted by: sfthpo at Jul 25, 2006 5:52:53 PM

Dave

You clearly still don't understand the ad hominem fallacy.

It is not necessarily simply "...saying [someone] is a shitty person, or stupid, or a "douche bag"..." (and no, it doesn't sound familiar, except as a typical American childish insult. Not sure why you suggest it should be). It is attacking the person on any grounds, rather than addressing the arguments he makes. Had Scott simply asserted without structured argument, on his own authority that the Independent was lying then his qualifications in environmental sciences would be a relevant ad hominem argument. Since he clearly shows the evidence they are not.

You are therefore using the ad hominem fallacy, and have now admitted it, saying your argument was simply to show that Scott was not an expert on environment.

Scott's expertise in that area is entirely irrelevant. The argument he makes in this case should be the point to whch you refer. I do have some learning in the sciences, with much of that in areas relating to the environment. I can assure you that, regardless of your opinion of Scott's knowledge in that area (not a point I concede to you*, just one that is irrelevant as a logical fallacy) I can tell you that his analysis of this story as the Independent grossly misrepresenting the science is justified as far as I can analyse without further information. I have a degree from Cambridge in Natural Sciences, a reasonable scientific education.

You have not addressed this point.

You spout an incredible amount of words, seemingly smokescreen to try and attack Scott, hiding the fact that as far as I have scanned since in your verbose arguments that still fail to address the point in question.

Interesting that this has lead to a lot of information coming out that allows you to be attacked ad hominem, but not with fallacy (note as Wikipedia says that ad hominem is not always a fallacy). The fact of your close conections with the Independent (possibly the most ill-titled publication ever) is valid to the dicussion, as is the suggestion that you support climate change as a political, rather than scientific idea.

So what are your credentials for environmental sciences? Your philosophy is clearly rater poor

*I do not address it, as others have already shown you to be lying when attacking Scott and it is off topic so I cannot be bothered.

Posted by: Richard at Jul 25, 2006 5:58:14 PM

I got a starred first in geography, as I explained. I don't know where the philosophy thing came from.

Scott, I don't think it's true nobody is reading. I've been getting lots of positive e-mails.

Do you accept (a) climate modellers have successfully predicted broad trends which were ridiculed - literally ridiculed - by people just like you a decade ago, but have now come to pass?

(b) When Friends of the Earth say that global warming will cause drought in England, that is in line with the best evidence - climate modelling - we have? It is silly to link specific events, but the broad trend is clear?

So let me get this clear - your criticism is that although man-made global warming is happening, although there is a scientific consensus that it will cause drought in England in the long-term, you are angry that one of the few groups trying to do something about it overstepped the mark by linking a specific drought to global warming, even though it is a real trend?

Alex Higgins called your criticisms "frivilous". I think that's a good word in the context of an on-going global emergency.

It's very revealing that the best you can do when attempting to debunk global warming is to quote an anonymous spokesman as quoted in the Daily Mail, a low-rent tabloid newspaper not known for its veracity or scientific ballast. And even that debunking is done using graphs from scientists who say +precisely the opposite+ of what you say!

It's also interesting that you are now declaring you are backing out of the argument yet again. Scott, having commented on one of dozens of charges of intellectual fraud against you and being proven wrong, you now say you won't comment on any more... Unsurprising but disappointing.

And still you claim the authority to fact-check others...

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 6:06:32 PM

">...While trying to defunk Friends of the Earth ..<

What the funk does that mean?"


Hey - it does what it says on the tin!!!

Green is widely known to be the base colour of funk in it's elemental form. Some kinds of funk ore are known to be shades of purple, ocassionally running through the red part of the spectrum to vivid oranges, but once extracted from ore, pure funk is ALWAYS green.

Now Friends of the Earth are about as green as you can get, so by definition to 'defunk' them is to attempt to show imperfections in their green credentials.

Unfortunately I think you'll find that even if you were to slice through FotE you'd encounter the brightest hues of funk permeate to the core.

***LEGAL DISCLAIMER - In no way do I advocate taking a chainsaw to FotE activists to discover how funky they are***

Posted by: M-RES at Jul 25, 2006 6:07:44 PM

Richard, you say, "It is attacking the person on any grounds, rather than addressing the arguments he makes."

I am addressing the arguments he makes, by showing them to be based on false assertions nad garbled half-facts. if you demonstrate a large quantity of misunderstood or misrepresented facts coming from a single source, it reaches a point where a source cannot be considered reliable.

It's not ad hominem for me to say, "I've investigated ten stories from the National Enquirer and they were all false, so the National Enquirer clearly has poor reporting standards." (Or do you think so? If so, explain why.) It's a summation of the factual veracity of a source based on detailed factual investigation.

The same applies to Scott. When there is a sheer quantity of misrepresentation and error on the part of one person, it's not a question of whether they are an expert or not; it's simply a sign that the source is not reliable when handling facts, and therefore any arguments built on those facts cannot be taken seriously.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 6:11:09 PM

"Do you accept (a) climate modellers have successfully predicted broad trends which were ridiculed - literally ridiculed - by people just like you a decade ago, but have now come to pass?"

No. I do not, for the simple reason that climate modellers have not existed for long enough to have predicted "broad trends". Do you think that a decade or two constitutes a "broad trend", in climatological terms?

"(b) When Friends of the Earth say that global warming will cause drought in England, that is in line with the best evidence - climate modelling - we have? It is silly to link specific events, but the broad trend is clear?"

Which "broad trend" concerning droughts in England? As the Times reports, "Two dry winters in succession cropped up in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as 1933-34". Now it has happened again. How does this represent a "broad trend"?

"So let me get this clear - your criticism is that although man-made global warming is happening, although there is a scientific consensus that it will cause drought in England in the long-term, you are angry that one of the few groups trying to do something about it overstepped the mark by linking a specific drought to global warming, even though it is a real trend?"

Not angry, simply pointing out that they did so.

"Alex Higgins called your criticisms "frivilous". I think that's a good word in the context of an on-going global emergency."

Why have you, Hari and Higgins spent so much effort addressing a "frivilous" argument?

"It's very revealing that the best you can do when attempting to debunk global warming is to quote an anonymous spokesman as quoted in the Daily Mail, a low-rent tabloid newspaper not known for its veracity or scientific ballast."

I do not "attempt to debunk global warming", which, as I've repeated many times, I believe is occurring (possibly due to a variety of factors).

It's irrelevant whether the FoE person is quoted in the Daily Mail, the Independent or anywhere else, unless you believe that the Mail simply made up the quote. Do you believe that?

" And even that debunking is done using graphs from scientists who say +precisely the opposite+ of what you say!"

Nope. The chart is part of a different post, which I will address later, if you express the criticism as part of an on topic comment to a future post.

"It's also interesting that you are now declaring you are backing out of the argument yet again. Scott, having commented on one of dozens of charges of intellectual fraud against you and being proven wrong,

"Proven wrong"? Huh?


you now say you won't comment on any more... Unsurprising but disappointing."

I made no such statement - I clearly expressed a willingness to address your concerns in future threads:

"Dave, feel free to raise your next criticism the next time an appropriate entry is posted (please try to keep it on topic).

Nobody is reading this anyway, and I think it's best to address one issue at a time. But I will do so next time the subject comes up, provided your comment is on topic."

"Won't comment any more"! And you call me "dishonest"!

Oh, BTW:

"Finally, you said that my statement that " the water shortages in this country are blamed on insufficient winter rains - but precisely the opposite is predicted by the warming models." was representative of "the substantive factual assertions made in Scott's statement, which just don't correlate with reality"

Are you prepared to admit that my statement is, in actuality, factually correct? Yes or No?"

This really is my last comment on this thread. I'm happy to address similar issues on related future threads

Posted by: Scott at Jul 25, 2006 6:35:50 PM

Most trenchant point:

"Alex Higgins called your criticisms "frivilous". I think that's a good word in the context of an on-going global emergency."

Why have you, Hari and Higgins spent so much effort addressing a "frivilous" argument?

Posted by: at Jul 25, 2006 8:00:44 PM

You won't comment any more on Alex Higgins' critique of you, unless it comes up in some other post, some other time. That is clear. It is hardly "dishonest" to accuse you of backing off!

You will not address the criticisms systematically, in turn. I can only assume this is because you can't, Scott, since the evidence is overhwhelmingly against you.

Let's just deal with one of your statements above:

Responding to my statement, "And even that debunking is done using graphs from scientists who say +precisely the opposite+ of what you say!" you say, "Nope. The chart is part of a different post, which I will address later, if you express the criticism as part of an on topic comment to a future post."

So you admit there +are+ charts in your work that cite scientists who in fact say the opposite of what you claim, since you are distinguishing them from some other (presumably accurate) graph.

That's useful. At last, an admission. But still no correction. Why not correct the graphs you admit you used when the scientisists responsible say exactly the opposite of what you claimed?

Once you've done that, can we go through the other massive distortions in your work, Scott?

If you don't have the time or inclination, that's fine. But if so, don't ever demand corrections from others again without being exposed as a hypocrite, and don't expect anybody to consider you to have any intellectual integrity.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 25, 2006 8:05:13 PM

Scott, I really don't know why you bother. Dave isn't participating in a debate, he is alternately hyperventilating with righteousness or sermonizing like a don. The tone of his rhetoric is so overwrought, I'd have thought you would tire of this by now. Has it occured to you that this is all very deeringesque?

*Scott, you still don't understand

*So your 'clever' debunking of an argument was in fact against a total straw man.

*To give you the absolute basics of climate modelling, which you clearly don't understand:

*I feel like I'm explaining addition to somebody who sets themselves up as debunking a high-level

*Please, don't try to debunk people when you don't even understand the most basic elements of what they are discussing, Scott.
Do you want to move onto the dozens of other errors Alex Higgins alleged you have made

*Alex Higgins called your criticisms "frivilous". I think that's a good word in the context of an on-going global emergency.

*don't expect anybody to consider you to have any intellectual integrity.

Posted by: ap at Jul 25, 2006 8:30:29 PM

and by the way, he spelled frivolous wrong. which is kind of funny when you think about it.

Posted by: ap at Jul 25, 2006 8:33:51 PM

"Let's just deal with one of your statements above:"

What about the others?

Posted by: at Jul 25, 2006 9:01:12 PM

Dave,
I believe that climate change will happen. However that does not mean we should ignore the facts. Only 4 years ago the BBC said that global warming would make for wetter winters. Do you really think this happened last winter ?

Posted by: polishexile at Jul 25, 2006 9:13:16 PM

So, in reference to the original topic...

I can't help but wonder what those plastic panels did to the spectrum of the sunlight passing through them. Typically, transparent plastics will absorb ultraviolet and re-radiate it as infrared. Kind of like locking plants up in your car with the windows closed.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at Jul 25, 2006 9:20:13 PM

Yes, you do know where the Philosophy 2:1 thing came from, Dave.
It came from a posting by windowlicker, who also exposed you as working for the Independent and that a piece of disgusting pornography, written in your name, was sent from your web address. Although you say you didn't write that.

Your style of argument is reminiscent of a monkey masturbating in a zoo. "Look at me! Look at me!!" Followed by not very much.

You continue to evade the question of your qualifications. Possibly you got a First in Geography at Part 1 and then moved to the more rarified academic atmosphere of the Philosophy Department, where you descended to a Second.

Never mind that he can't spell frivolous, AP. He can't even spell Geography, although he must have studied the subject for at least a year.

"I graduated from Cambridge University with a starred first in Goegraphy specialising in .....(the higest possible.....
.....observing the effects of enthropogenic.... "

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 26, 2006 5:59:21 AM

I see I was the last person to even mention the Independent's misreporting of Dr Nepstad's research. Pity, I thought that was quite an interesting subject to discuss. All the fault of this Dave person. Did no one ever tell you that posting six thousand words in a comment thread is bad manners, Dave? Get your own blog.

Posted by: Natalie Solent at Jul 26, 2006 7:47:08 AM

I see I was wrong in my previous comment to say I was the last person to mention the original topic; "Cousin Dave" did so since I did. Sorry, scrolling past (non-Cousin) Dave's enormous comment confused me.

Posted by: Natalie Solent at Jul 26, 2006 8:25:43 AM

Natalie,
Youare quite right, we were drawn off the scent slightly. However, as in the course of our detour we discovered that Dave not only supports dishonest climatic reporting of the type espoused by the Independent, he was actually employed by that rag, it wasn't time totally wasted.
As you say, Dr Nepstad has every reason to be livid at the mangling and misrepresentation of his work in which the Independent indulged, and if he was of the same stamp as 'Dave', he would be reaching for his lawyers even now.

Posted by: at Jul 26, 2006 9:14:27 AM

must get my synapses checked.

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 26, 2006 9:16:02 AM

The best you can do, furrisky, after Scott has +admitted+ using information from scientists that say the very opposite of what he claimed, is to (a) falsely attribute paedophile porn to me and (b) gloat over an obvious typo.

I don't know what windowlicker has 'dug up'; I know what university I went to and what grade I got. Call the college and ask if you like, I'm sure admin will confirm it.

Do you want to engage with the facts now?

Posted by: Dave at Jul 26, 2006 3:56:11 PM

1. Yes. I asked you which college several posts ago.
2. Scott did no such thing, please stop lying.
3. I have not falsely attributed paedophile porn to you. What has been your ISP's response to your query?

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 26, 2006 4:16:39 PM

(1) Selwyn College.
(2) How am I lying? Read what the man said. even Scott hasn't challenged it.
(3) The website has not replied to any of my e-mails, which is very frustrating and annoying. If I don't hear back soon, I will make investigations into where they're based and get my girlfriend to send a lawyer's letter. (She is a lawyer - I'm not suggesting it would be libelling her to say I write gay incest porn except hey! I might have a case...)

Posted by: Dave at Jul 26, 2006 6:42:22 PM

"he was actually employed by that rag"

For about six shifts over a year ago. I have also worked at the Spectator, Reuters and CNN's website doing subbing. What does that reveal? It's extraordinary that confronted with actual facts, you guys scramble like hyenas for some scrap of personal information to use against me, even going to the point of retreiving sick porn from the web. Whatever makes you feel better...

Posted by: Dave at Jul 26, 2006 6:44:41 PM

"How am I lying? Read what the man said."

Anyone can see that you have distorted the natural and obvious meaning of Scott's words.

Posted by: sfthpo at Jul 26, 2006 9:35:59 PM

I will search the Selwyn links again. As I said, they produced nothing about you last time.
You are lying because you said that Scott had admitted using scientists' opinions incorrectly, when he had made no such admission.
I am astonished that an illiterate such as you have shown yourself to be could obtain employment as a sub-editor anywhere other than at the Guardian.
The only reason anyone has researched you on the Net is because you asked them to: 'David Rose. Look it up'. Well, someone did look it up and what came out was not to your advantage.
You appear to be a serial liar and unless you have something of interest to contribute to the debate, other than a suicide note, I suggest you shut up.

Posted by: at Jul 27, 2006 3:03:04 AM

That was me again

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 27, 2006 3:08:30 AM

Well, I've done anther search but nothing popped up about Dave or his qualifications, real or imagined, I'm afraid.

There was a marginally interesting link to Johann Hari's blog, which described Dave as a starred first in a scientific (spelt wrong) discipline and noting that the commenters on this site were "barely literate". Well, as Spotty Muldoon once observed, if Dave were to migrate from the Ablution to Hari's blog, the standard of literacy on each would rise exponentially.

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 27, 2006 4:03:27 AM

Better barely literate over here than barely sentient over there.

Could it be that this college is just trying to hide their shameful guilt in this matter?

Posted by: sfthpo at Jul 27, 2006 11:52:48 AM

What, Selwyn? Wouldn't have thought so.

Posted by: furriskey at Jul 27, 2006 12:20:44 PM