Our old friend John Brignell has uncovered “The greatest conspiracy in human history”. According to Brignell that’s what global warming is, and:

It is not that the proponents are simply mistaken—that would be forgivable. They know that they are lying: otherwise there would be no need for all the manufactured and selective evidence, the appeal to a claimed consensus (the like of which has never had a place within the scientific method), the gross attempts to censor any contrary argument, the abandonment of the essential scepticism of science, the vilification of doubters, the direction of huge quantities of taxpayers money into acquiescent “research” groups, the barrage of angled news-stories, the drama documentaries, irrelevant interpolations into editorial commentaries and on and on.

The evidence for the global warming disaster theory does not stand up to the most cursory examination, like the global cooling disaster theory that preceded it. Yet, a majority of simple souls accept that it is true, because it has been drummed into their brains by incessant repetition.

(And no, he doesn’t offer any support for his claim that the evidence does not stand up to examination.)

So what proof does Brignell have that it’s a plot? Well, he’s managed to get his hands on a “secret letter” from the Royal Society that says completely evil stuff like:

We are appealing to all parts of the UK media to be vigilant against attempts to present a distorted view of the scientific evidence about climate change and its potential effects on people and their environments around the world. I hope that we can count on your support.

Apparently this secret letter was sent to all major media outlets in the UK. This is obviously some usage of the word “secret” with which I am unfamiliar.

Brignell then formulates his law of scientific consensus:

From Galileo, through Darwin to Einstein, there is a clear law of scientific consensus;

The law of scientific consensus:

At times of scientific contention the consensus is always wrong.

So Darwin overturned the scientific consensus of his day. Brignell’s law says he was right. Cool. Except that now the scientific consensus is that Darwin was right, so Brignell’s law say he was wrong. I think Brignell needs to formulate some new rules of logic where statements can be true and false at the same time to go with his scientific consensus law.

Comments

  1. #1 wolf
    June 8, 2005

    The wind blows in many directions but a tree only falls once.

  2. #2 Meyrick
    June 8, 2005

    I thought the “Oil for food scandal” was “The greatest conspiracy in human history”.

  3. #3 Dano
    June 8, 2005

    I’m a Murrican. Is this guy seen over there as a crank, crackpot, clown, joke, what? Does anyone read this guy?

    Best,

    D<p.

  4. #4 Paul Crowley
    June 8, 2005

    His “law” is a clever bit of rhetoric. It seems appealing, because of course the only times when the consensus is challenged and the challenge is well remembered is when the consensus is wrong and the challenge is right. The many more numerous times when a consensus has been challenged and it turned out that it was the consensus that was right aren’t so often taught, because they’re not so important or exciting.

  5. #5 frankis
    June 8, 2005

    Don’t you deserve vilification if you refer to honest people whose scientific work you “doubt” as “liars”? The more so the less your own expertise in their field of research?

  6. #6 Ian Gould
    June 8, 2005

    N-rays, anyone? Protowater? Pentaquarks? Lysenkoism?

  7. #7 Steve E
    June 8, 2005

    He’s got big problems then if his position ever becomes concensus.

  8. #8 Brian J
    June 8, 2005

    Brignell’s reaction is typical of pseudoscientific cranks when confronted with mainstream scientific opinion- dismiss it as a conspiracy, claim that those with differing views are being persecuted, and use the Galileo gambit. I think anybody who has looked at things like creationism or anti-vaccination quackery would recognize the arguments and rhetoric used here. Perhaps one can formulate a new law, which states:

    “Any claim that invokes conspiracy theories and the Galileo gambit to explain why it hasn’t been embraced by the scientific community is most probably bullshit.”

  9. #9 Brian J
    June 8, 2005

    Brignell’s reaction is typical of pseudoscientific cranks when confronted with mainstream scientific opinion- dismiss it as a conspiracy, claim that those with differing views are being persecuted, and use the Galileo gambit. I think anybody who has looked at things like creationism or anti-vaccination quackery would recognize the arguments and rhetoric used here. Perhaps one can formulate a new law, which states:

    “Any claim that invokes conspiracy theories and the Galileo gambit to explain why it hasn’t been embraced by the scientific community is most probably bullshit.”

  10. #10 George
    June 8, 2005

    OK enough already. Can we just start dividing up the world between the fruit cakes like this and those that want to believe this non-sense and those that truly beleive in science truth and pragmatism. It’s not about countries anymore. How about they take the Southern hemisphere and we take the north…East and west?? …whatever…I really don’t care if I have to move just get me away from these nuts and lets let evolution do its thing on them.

  11. #11 Eli Rabett
    June 9, 2005

    Fruitcake as in: they laughed at Einstein, they laugh at me, therefore I am Einstein.

  12. #12 David Tiley
    June 9, 2005

    Yes, give them their own bit. The Falkland Islands.

  13. #13 Disputo
    June 9, 2005

    As much as it pains me to say it, relocation costs would be minimized if we just gave the cranks North America.

  14. #14 Ian Gould
    June 9, 2005

    Eli, to quote someone whose name escapes me: “They laughed at Galileo. The laughed at Einstein. then again they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

  15. #15 Carleton Wu
    June 9, 2005

    “…otherwise there would be no need for all the manufactured and selective evidence…. The evidence for the global warming disaster theory does not stand up to the most cursory examination…”

    I guess that makes sense (in a Bizarro-World way)- once he discards the mountains of faked evidence, the remainder doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

  16. #16 The Dark Avenger
    June 10, 2005

    In the book “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science”, one frequently runs into the Galileo defense, even though Galileo wasn’t laughed at, he was basically told to stay put(house arrest) and don’t open his mouth about the solar system in his lifetime.

    I had to tell someone on a thread at Talkleft that when invoking the Galileo defense that 94.65% of folks who do that are basically loonies, but he wouldn’t hear of it.

  17. #17 Aaron Swartz
    June 11, 2005

    CORRECTION: Your logical problems which seemed compelling on first glance, actually don’t apply. According to the law, both Darwinism and Creationism were wrong. The law implies that science, or at least scientific consensus, can never be right.

  18. #18 Patrick Taylor
    June 11, 2005

    Ian,

    The “also laughed at Bozo” quote is usually attributed without a source to Carl Sagan, but I also saw it in the late 1980s on a Mr. Boffo comic strip. It has to be one of my all time favourite quotes no matter who said it.