The Australian‘s War on Science XIX

The latest volley from the Australian is an article by John McLean. You might remember him as the guy who kept steering Andrew Bolt into brick walls. He’s now styling himself as a “climate data analyst and a member of the Australian Climate Science Coalition”, which might sound impressive if you didn’t know that the only qualification he holds is a Bachelor of Architecture and that the Australian Climate Science Coalition doesn’t contain any climate scientists.

Anyway, his article is just a rehash of his earlier one where he accused the IPCC of lying about the scientific support for his reports. McLean claims that:


We are also led to believe that chapter nine [of the AR4 WG1 report] was widely supported by hundreds of reviewers, but just 62 IPCC reviewers commented on its penultimate draft. Only five of those reviewers endorsed it but four of the five appear to have vested interests and the other made just one comment for the entire 11-chapter WG1 contribution.

The trick McLean is using is to only count explicit endorsements of one particular draft, when in fact if any of the hundreds of reviewers disagreed with the conlusions of chapter 9, they could have said so in a comment. Also, McLean counts someone as having a vested interest if they were an IPCC author, or an IPCC author of a previous assessment, or if any of their work was cited by the report, or if they worked for a government, or if they work for an organization that gets government funding, or if they have a “possible commercial vested interest in the claim of man-made warming”.

Barry Brook also commented on McLean’s piece.

Comments

  1. #1 bi -- IJI
    September 9, 2008

    Some facts that conclusively show that McLean has a clear vested interest against the global warming theory:

    1. He writes for the Australian. If he stops preaching inactivism, he won’t get any more writing gigs from there.
    2. He probably hates Josef Stalin, Maximilien Robespierre, and Tōjō Hideki; this will cause him to be unfairly biased against the global warming theory.
    3. He has the exact same name as a fictitious character I just invented. This fictitious character happens to be a solar energy tycoon.
    4. He’s a Steve — more precisely, a secret Steve.

  2. #2 bi -- IJI
    September 9, 2008

    solar energy coal energy

  3. #3 John Mashey
    September 9, 2008

    Speaking of steering Andrew Bolt into brick walls, I see he just recently noticed Syun-ichi Akasofu’s comments from a year ago…

    Is there a time-warp in info getting to Oz?

  4. #4 Phila
    September 9, 2008

    the only qualification he holds is a Bachelor of Architecture

    That’s a good thing, though; it means doesn’t have any vested interests. If I’ve learned anything from reading The Australian, it’s that climate science is such a maelstrom of corruption that only people who know nothing about it can be trusted to report its findings accurately.

    I just asked a Christian folksinger on the corner if AGW is real, and he said no. A bum nearby agreed. QED!

  5. #5 Chris Noble
    September 9, 2008

    A bum nearby agreed. QED!

    I was waiting at a bus stop in Brisbane a few weeks ago when I started having a conversation with a guy who was sleeping rough. Initially it was about the weather, we were having a few cold nights, but then it turned to the article he had read in the Australian about how AGW was all a load of bullshit. He was a nice guy. He obviously had a drinking problem but he had also read and understood the paper. He wasn’t stupid and he hadn’t destroyed his brain yet. The main problem was that he had gotten all of his information from the Australian and the tall-poppy-scientists-are-wrong style of story appealed to him.

    I suggested that he shouldn’t believe everything he reads in the paper but this didn’t seem to sway him at all.

  6. #6 Chris McGrath
    September 9, 2008

    On Sunday I submitted an op-ed for publication in The Australian criticising the lack of ambition in the Garnaut draft supplementary report. It was rejected by The Australian but published yesterday in The Courier Mail: http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,24312553-27197,00.html.

    Obviously I am biased in this matter, but to me it seems illuminating in the editorial direction taken by The Australian that it rejected my op-ed for yesterday’s paper to instead choose John McLean’s positively weird and poorly written attack against the IPCC: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24315169-7583,00.html.

    Even leaving aside the fact that McLean’s argument is so weird and weak it would fall over in the wind on a dead calm day, it is old news – it is not a contribution of new material to the public debate. It is a rehash of old, tired arguments about the IPCC using Garnaut as an excuse for the regurgitation. The reason for publishing it simply appears to be The Australian’s editorial stance of promoting climate change sceptics/deniers/contrarians.

    It is a very strange and schizophrenic newspaper – it has some of the best reporting in the country and some of the worst.

  7. #7 Barry Brook
    September 9, 2008

    John McLean decided to put his two-bob’s worth in as a comment over at my BNC posting. Feel free to come and enjoy the party…

  8. #8 david
    September 9, 2008

    >”climate data analyst and a member of the Australian Climate Science Coalition”

    The website for this group sits in Arizona, on the same IP address as the New Zealand Climate Coalition. It is hosted by the same service provider as the International Climate Science Coalition.

    Of course, this is all a coincidence.

  9. #9 David
    September 9, 2008

    I heard recently that even Sydney taxi drivers think that global warming is nonsense.

    And if you can’t trust the Centre for Independant Studies via Our ABC (or taxi drivers, for that matter), who can you trust?

  10. #10 Dvaid
    September 10, 2008

    Uh, oh! Multiple Daves again. I’m the one with the chicken.

  11. #11 DavidK
    September 10, 2008

    I came 1st, I’m the one with the egg.

    Hey Dave, Dave, Dave and Dave … why don’t we all go over to Barry’s site and give the architect a house party? We couldn’t confuse him more than he is now , could we?

  12. #12 Bernard J.
    September 10, 2008

    DavidK at #11.

    It seems that the architect took his vodka cruisers and ran home, because the rest of the party asked to see his working.

    Apparently he didn’t even have batteries in his calculator…

  13. #13 Chris McGrath
    September 11, 2008

    In today’s Courier Mail geologist Bob Carter is very concerned about the threat of natural climate change and considers that “the hypothesis that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous global warming has failed the tests to which it has been subjected”: http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,24325021-27197,00.html.

    It reminded me of the funny post on RealClimate a couple of weeks ago, “Are geologists different?” in which Bob featured: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/are-geologists-different/

  14. #14 El Cid
    September 14, 2008

    I also have a non-science degree.

    Therefore I wish to found the American Gravitational Studies Association in order to fight the oppressive Newtonian / Galilean / Einstienian orthodoxy, which will not consider new ideas such as gravity being the result of ripening fruits.

    I would appreciate advice.

  15. #15 Hank Roberts
    September 16, 2008

    Has this misstatement shown up in the Australian papers yet?
    Seems like a litmus test has been invented for newspapers that are willing to flat out lie about the science.

    As noted over at RC, first here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/north-pole-notes-continued/langswitch_lang/tk#comment-98548

    and cite found here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/north-pole-notes-continued/langswitch_lang/tk#comment-98583

    pointing to this, rather revealing, rather wonderful story:

    Don’t let the facts spoil a good story
    by Ben Goldacre
    The Guardian, Saturday September 13 2008
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/13/1

  16. #16 Bernard J.
    September 16, 2008

    El Cid.

    You might have to compete with Marohasy’s non-degreed scientists, who have variously realised that gravity actually pushes at billions of times the speed of light, or that is does not in fact exist at all…

  17. #17 Goldenwood
    September 16, 2008

    Hank at #15.

    I know that Marohasy picked it up, but not much was made of it on her blog.

    I don’t know about the tabloid press though – in spite of my morbid fascination with Jen’s efforts, I avoid that lot!

  18. #18 Bernard J.
    September 17, 2008

    I’ve tried to post the Guardian link on Marohasy’s post on the ships’ logs story, but I cannot seem to get past the censor.

    In fact, any post I submit with a link is refused, as is any bigger than about a paragraph.

    If I was a more cynical person I would suspect that I wasn’t welcome there. Of course, it is probably just the result of a simple hold-up in ‘moderation’…

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