Monckton Lambert debate blog round up

A couple of blog posts from people who were there

And lucia and co did a chat while watching the live feed.

Update: James Annan thought estimating sensitivity from the last Ice Age was a good idea. Not surprisingly since I got the idea from him.

And Andrew Bolt responds to the debate by defaming me, calling me “vituperative, deceptive, a cherrypicker, an ideologue, a misrepresenter and a Manichean conspiracist only too keen to smear a sceptic as a crook who lies for Exxon’s dollars”.

Update 2: There seems to be a shortage of bloggers who think Monckton, won, but Denial Depot steps up to make the case.

Comments

  1. #1 Nils Ross
    February 13, 2010

    The point made in the second linked blog should make you proud, Tim: at least someone had the impression that you were standing up for good science, rather than pushing an agenda. That’s something that scientists really have to stress on this point: the separation between identification of the problem scientifically and the advocacy of a particular solution or solutions politically.

  2. #2 WotWot
    February 13, 2010

    “deceptive, a cherrypicker,… a misrepresenter”

    Damn, that’s getting close to being actionable.

    You must have really got under his skin this time. :)

  3. #3 Free Lunch
    February 13, 2010

    How much does Mr. Bolt get from ExxonMobil?

  4. #4 Ezzthetic
    February 13, 2010

    And the money quote:

    Don’t ask me to adjudicate on the Lambert-Monckton stoush. Many of these issues are over my head…

    That quote again:

    Many of these issues are over my head…

  5. #5 PS
    February 13, 2010

    Here’s an interesting exercise – try and parody Andrew Bolt. I don’t think it can be done, at least not in a way that it’s distinguishable from the real thing.

  6. #6 theblob
    February 13, 2010

    In other news, scientists have been caught red-handed adjusting station data downward to hide the warming.

    http://climatewtf.blogspot.com/2010/02/smoky-fools.html

  7. #7 TrueSceptic
    February 13, 2010

    5 PS,

    Agreed. You are up against Poe’s Law. BTW do you know [Denial Depot](http://denialdepot.blogspot.com/)?

  8. #8 TrueSceptic
    February 13, 2010

    6 theblob,

    Good one, and a blog new to me. Thanks.:)

  9. #9 Bud
    February 13, 2010

    And Andrew Bolt responds to the debate by defaming me, calling me “vituperative, deceptive, a cherrypicker, an ideologue, a misrepresenter and a Manichean conspiracist only too keen to smear a sceptic as a crook who lies for Exxon’s dollars”.

    Well Tim, maybe you should have concentrated on some of the science – maybe for example on climate sensitivity – instead of banging on about Exxon at every opportunity.

    And if you insist on smearing Her Majesty’s esteemed representative Lord Viscount Christopher Monckton the Third, couldn’t you do better than ‘crook’. I mean, take a lesson from Bolt. “Vituperative, deceptive, a cherrypicker, an ideologue, a misrepresenter and a Manichean conspiracist”. That’s twenty-nine learned syllables of perspicacious poison right there. Compared to your puny “crook”, that’s nothing. You’ve got a lot of catching up to do, mate.

  10. #10 Monkeywrench
    February 13, 2010

    That’s hilarious. Every one of Bolt’s adjectives fits him like a glove. And Bud @9, I don’t know if the irony icon was missing, but I hope it was. “Her Majesty’s esteemed representative”?? He has no official capacity as a representative of the Queen, and even if he did, he’s still a crook, not a “Lord”. Are you still sore from tugging your forelock? Try Voltaren.

  11. #11 Nick
    February 13, 2010

    Devastating photo of the Basking Narcissus on Carmen’s blog,Tim,and the complete list of ingredients as well…

  12. #13 Mercurius
    February 13, 2010

    Bolt is correct – “many of these issues are over my head”.

    So he needs to stop writing about them.

    You now have the perfect reply to everything Bolt has ever said or written about AGW:

    “…many of these issues are over my head.”

    By his own admission, he simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And anybody who follows the lead of somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about is a fool.

    There’s an awful lot of fools out there…

  13. #14 Mike
    February 13, 2010

    It must’ve taken Andrew Bolt quite some time to look those words up in the dictionary and thesaurus.

    Bolt gives the phrase “just plain dumb” some serious meaning in a way that provides entertainment for all and would probably even give Glenn Beck a run for his money, but his remark that many of the issues were over his head is unusually honest by his standards.

  14. #15 Paul Williams
    February 13, 2010

    Don’t be so thin-skinned Tim!

    Andrew was complimenting you. He was saying that despite you being all those nasty things (at least you know he reads your blog), that you conducted yourself well in the debate. That’s a good thing.

  15. #16 Ron Broberg
    February 13, 2010

    “vituperative, deceptive, a cherrypicker, an ideologue, a misrepresenter and a Manichean conspiracist only too keen to smear a sceptic as a crook who lies for Exxon’s dollars”.

    Wow. Haven’t seen the debate yet, but you must have gored Bolt’s ox. Well done!

  16. #17 MikeH
    February 13, 2010

    The anti-AGW movement are desperately seeking a credible spokesperson that pollies like Tony Abbott can point to as their authority on the science. I suspect that if Monckton was going to fill that role, judging by Bolt’s reaction, Tim has put an end to it.

    Both [Andrew Bolt]( http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/media_watch_grills_not_the_media_but_the_sceptic/)
    and [Janet Albrechtsen](http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/heated-moments-mar-monckton/story-e6frg6zo-1225821369435)
    had previously indicated some nervousness about his tendency to “hyperbole” i.e. [make things up](http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-sceptic-clouds-the-weather-issue-20100201-n8y3.html).

    Nevertheless as Albrechtsen opined “When Monckton talks about the science he is powerful”. Well not any more – as Tim demonstrated he did not even know the gender of the scientist he was basing his major claim on let alone understand the science.

    In addition, Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce described Monckton as “on the fringe”. Hardly surprising as [Joyce]( http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2006/s1655718.htm)
    (like [George W Bush]( http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/jan/24/energy.usnews)) is a keen supporter of biofuels. Monckton’s biofuels claim is really an own goal given the almost exclusively conservative composition of the anti-AGW support base.

  17. #18 Revolution9
    February 13, 2010

    Congrats Tim, isn’t it funny how a few well placed facts seems to rattle him. Maybe you should challenge Bolt to a debate.

    Mercurius, Bolt has often claimed expertise in Climate Science, having studied it deeply or so he says. I find it more than amusing that he now claims “…many of these issues are over my head.” He never had a clue about any of the topics, just relying on the smug “we know it all” arrogance of his fan club supporting his “facts”.

    You only have to read any topic on his blog to realise the collective IQ of his admirers is less than your average golf handicap.

  18. #19 Dave
    February 13, 2010

    @Monkeywrench

    Bud was joking.

  19. #20 jakerman
    February 13, 2010

    >*vituperative, deceptive, a cherrypicker, an ideologue, a misrepresenter and a Manichean conspiracist only too keen to smear*

    How many times can one person ‘jump the shark’?

    Bolt’s not just wrong, but an arch-hypocrite.

    Keep diminishing your integrity with your privileged platform Andrew.

  20. #21 Rob Taylor
    February 13, 2010

    Having just watched the opening video, Tim, I have to ask why you gave Mockton so much respect? He’s not a colleague, a student or an interested member of the public, he’s a dangerous charlatan trying to swindle our kids out of their inheritance.
    IMHO, you let him off the hook over Pinker, when you had him on the ropes should have gone for the knock-out by shaming him as a complete bullshitter.
    His supporters will ignore the Pinker error, as you let him gloss over it as a technical disagreement amonst experts.
    This should have been a knife fight, not a seminar – to deal properly to this creep needs a scientist-turned-politician who knows how to move a crowd.

    Anyway, thanks for rattling his cage…

  21. #22 Eli Rabett
    February 13, 2010

    “…many of these issues are over my head.”

    perfectly summarizes what has to be done in such a debate. There is no point in emphasizing the science. What the audience is looking for is whom they can trust.

  22. #23 Connor
    February 13, 2010

    Sir Lord Viscount Monckton won the debate before it began apparently. That’ll show them warmists!

    http://denialdepot.blogspot.com/2010/02/honorable-sir-lord-viscount-monckton.html

  23. #24 Grim
    February 13, 2010

    Naah, Mike @14, he just got ‘em straight out of this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Big-Book-Being-Rude-Insults/dp/0304355143

    There’s an education in there for every troll and member of the commentariat.

    Still, from the tenor of The Dolt’s comments, it’s clear he thinks that Tim won the day handsomely.

  24. #25 carrot eater
    February 13, 2010

    >”What the audience is looking for is whom they can trust.”

    Nah, to a large extent, that audience is looking for who’ll tell them what they want to hear.

  25. #26 el gordo
    February 13, 2010

    Perhaps its time Andrew and Tim had a ‘proper’ debate, instead of slinging off at each other from afar.

    It would make good theatre, with a world wide audience, but I’m not sure the Bolter would do it. As we speak he is gathering the names of the most prominent ‘right’ leaning commentators in Australia.

    Hmmm….

  26. #27 Ezzthetic
    February 13, 2010

    First Dog on the Moon has a good commentary on Monckton:

    First Dog reveals Sample NAPLAN Questions

  27. #28 TrueSceptic
    February 13, 2010

    20 Rob,

    I don’t know if you read “sceptic” comments here or skim the “sceptic” blogs but anything like that would’ve reinforced their beliefs that “ad hom” and “personal attack” is all the “AGW lobby” has. Don’t give them an easy come-back.

  28. #29 Patrick Caldon
    February 13, 2010

    ” … why you gave Mockton so much respect … ”

    The vast majority of skeptics really believe what they’re saying. They do think that the AGW thing is a poorly thought out groupthink which has taken hold of the academy. They honestly believe that there’s some reasonably simple “gotcha” that will turn this whole AGW thing on its head.

    By a “gotcha” I mean a straightforward argument which can be explained in about 5 minutes which will show pretty conclusively that AGW is bunkum.

    That’s why they keep coming up with apparent gotchas. It’s not dishonesty – the chain of thought is:

    1) AGW is thoroughly supported by the left, by the environment movement, who are a base and corrupt bunch,
    2) Since these guys are not to be trusted and are always putting something on, anything they come up with is probably rubbish
    3) Since it’s rubbish it must have an obvious flaw – a gotcha
    4) If someone claims “X is an obvious flaw in AGW” they’re probably right

    Someone can be honest and have this mindset. And if you abuse and disrespect someone with this mindset, all you’re doing is reinforcing points (1) and (2) – essentially making your opponent’s argument stronger, not weaker.

    That’s also why things like climategate, paleo reconstructions, “how can the tiny fraction of CO2 have any effect”, “cooling for the last 5 or 10 years”, and “it snowed last Tuesday in Tallassee, Alabama” are so popular. Easy, five minutes to understand, and looks like a gotcha.

    Actually understanding the physics of how different gases emit and absorb energy and how clouds form at different heights/pressures, temperatures and humidities is a lot harder – it’s where the meat of the whole thing is – and it never gets brought up because it doesn’t fit into steps 1-4 above. It’s not considered because for a skeptic it’s just not possible for AGW to have a well thought out theory sitting behind it.

  29. #30 Monkeywrench
    February 13, 2010

    Tim, having read the Bolt mention of the debate, I think this is, in Bolt’s terms, an admission that you won hands down. Not that it reads that way, but he’s admitting it nonetheless, through gritted teeth and with the usual slather of insult and bullying boorishness.

  30. #31 jakerman
    February 13, 2010

    Bolt’s readers will be as well informed as usual. Bolt misinforms his readers telling them:

    >*Lambert’s claim[ed] that he “wiped the floor” with Monckton.*

    Does it matter if a scientist or two reviewing the debate made this assesssment rather than Tim himself?

    Give them what they want to read hey Andrew? Truth be damned.

  31. #32 Fran Barlow
    February 13, 2010

    The commentary from Blot asserting your enthusiasm for casting Monckton as the catspaw of Exxon Mobil is very revealing, given that you made no such claim.

    Blot pours into the subtext exactly the itnerests in this culural battle that he wants to defend.

    Need one accuse whne the Blot puts his hand up?

    Not really.

  32. #33 Tom R
    February 13, 2010

    I have been a long time follower of this site Tim, and I thank you for taking on the anti science band-wagon in such a forthright and open manner.

    I agree with most comments I have been reading regarding the outcome on all sites, ie, monckton won the polished performer side, (albeit with his ability to use dubious information without any qualms), but you nailed him with science. And, considering this is your first foray into this type of exchange (from my knowledge), you performed very well. And as a learning experience, it will be invaluable.

    It did occur to me this morning though, that, as you have now fullfilled the invitation to a ‘debate’ on science (something I am not sure is even a correct term), perhaps you will be able to challenge him in turn to a debate in an environment more condusive to scientific endeavour, perhaps an online exchange of opinion, where facts presented in ones argument can be readily verified by all watchers? I would be interested to see his reaction to this.

    Without wanting to draw to many similarities between myself and dolt (ewwww), many of these issues are way over my head, but I at least do not try and influence people with lies and innuendo to push forward my specific ideology over the prevailing scietific research, in areas that I am not well versed in.

    Again, well done, and thank you for taking the time to present so much evidence in such an accessible manner for those of us being bombarded by rhetoric.

  33. #34 Robert Parson
    February 13, 2010

    Patrick Caldon (@29), I think you have nailed it perfectly.

  34. #35 Rob Taylor
    February 13, 2010

    Patrick, I don’t disagree with your analysis, but permit me to point out that neither do the anti-AGW crowd like rip-off merchants and people who lie for a living (lawyers, car salesmen, corporate spin doctors, etc).
    I believe it is possible to expose Monckton, Plimer et al as sleazy professional liars, if it is done with humour.
    Tim set Monckton up beautifully for this, and I’m disappointed that he pulled his punches once he’d made his point.
    For starters, Monckton is wide open to mockery – just look at the tiara and dungeon kit he puts on his slides, for crissakes. What is he, some kind of frog-eyed, cross-dressing, public school S&M freak? Or is that too politically incorrect to mention?

  35. #36 Eric L
    February 13, 2010

    Please tell me someone will upload a youtube or other on-demand video of this? Is it possible to get the rights from A-Pac?

  36. #37 Bud
    February 13, 2010

    @truesceptic (also further to Patrick’s subsequent comment)

    20 Rob,

    I don’t know if you read “sceptic” comments here or skim the “sceptic” blogs but anything like that would’ve reinforced their beliefs that “ad hom” and “personal attack” is all the “AGW lobby” has. Don’t give them an easy come-back.

    I think there is an even more pertinent reason for Tim to not have gone out an out to shame Monckton, and that is that Tim was already in a bit of a lion’s den situation wrt the make-up of the audience and the stance of the moderator. That the audience generally remained civil to him was I think due in a large part to the desire from the audience to be magnanimous to the enemy. Had Tim gone too far on the attack, I fear the atmosphere would have been well and truly poisoned and Tim would have made things harder for himself.

    jakerman – I was one of the people who said Tim wiped the floor with Monckton on the initial presentation, and though I reckon I’ve got a good handle on the issues raised I wouldn’t call myself a scientist (though I play one at uni). From memory though, I think I was echoing someone else who had said the same thing.

  37. #38 Carmen Lambert
    February 14, 2010

    Why did Tim give Monckton so much respect? Well, he’s a beginner, Monckton is a veteran so to play the underdog he had to be likeable and innocent and be himself. Tim had a big advantage since he was just Tim Lambert of Maroubra, vs this member of the nobility. Australians tend side with the underdog, and and with the Aussie rather than the Pom and they hate tall poppies, which is exactly what Monckton is. So although they were Monckton supporters, the people in the audience had to fight their natural instincts to be on Tim’s side. By being himself they couldn’t help but like him. When he made a devastating point he was gracious. People respect that. No one likes a bully.

    After the debate Monckton supporters came over and told us how much they appreciated that the debaters were respectful towards each other. They said they wished all debates were like this. They also liked the way Tim explained things and was respectful enough to the audience to give them the information they needed to make up their own mind.

    Personally I agree with these people. Women especially are turned off by signs of aggression. They want to be in a safe atmosphere so they can follow the argument and think things through for themselves without worrying about childish macho behaviour breaking out. We are not the least bit impressed by that and wish that men would just grow up and stop acting like children when it comes to serious topics like this.

    The organizers should be congratulated for insisting that civil behaviour ruled. It made for a good debate.

    So Good onya Tim. Aussie Aussie Aussie Oy Oy Oy!

    Oops….

  38. #39 Revolution9
    February 14, 2010

    Well put Carmen. To have a courteous debate was of great benefit to all.

    There is no doubt Monckton is a physically dominating presence on the stage and can hold the audience in the palm of his hand. This all comes from years of public speaking coupled with a photographic memory, and an unequalled command of the English language. He is able to collect his thoughts on the run and regardless of talking fact or fiction, can continue without a break, which to many gives the illusion of knowledge.

    Tim on the other hand is clearly unaccustomed to public speaking. His failure to remember some of the two or three part questions was evidence of this, but in my opinion made him more human against the robotic Monckton. We do cheer for the underdog and Tim certainly held that position.

    I found Monckton’s definition of a spade a little over the top, but it was an attempt to impress the audience. Unlike Monckton, Tim went to great lengths to explain some of the scientific issues involved, which will win him respect from all sides.

    Monckton had style, Tim had substance.

  39. #40 Mercurius
    February 14, 2010

    Also to give credit where it’s due, Alan Jones insisted at the outset that no questions of a personal nature or that were attempting to impugn the integrity of either debater would be permitted: ie. that all questions were to be pertinent to the scientific and/or economic dimensions of the question. The audience complied, and so we got a real discussion instead of a slag-fest.

    It would be nice (and would save an awful lot of time and angst) to see online behaviour emulate the courtesies that were observed in the room.

  40. #41 robert
    February 14, 2010

    Tim, you did very well and i was impressed that there was much agreement on many things – that allows people a good starting point of understanding. The points not agreed on , the forcing and the interpretation of data were outstanding enough for the divison line to be understood and those two things should now be the focus of attention to be beter understood by all. Untill these are understood we will have much division. Its too bad that a vexatious and ungracious person should expose their real selves and that will be to their detriment as most people are well adjusted and dont have to resort to personal attacks to be real thinking people. They rely on logic, understanding and agreeing to disagree when the first two fail. The arena is better off without the villifying type.

  41. #42 TrueSceptic
    February 14, 2010

    37 Bud,

    Yes. It would have back-fired on Tim both during the debate and also in “sceptic” blogs reporting on it afterwards. Thanks for expanding what I meant.

  42. #43 Rob Taylor
    February 14, 2010

    “To have a courteous debate was of great benefit to all.”
    Except that it wasn’t a courteous debate; every reference Monckton made to the IPCC oozed a withering contempt, masked by humour.

    By this means, he succeeded in his goal of smearing that body, despite having his main support (Pinker) shot out from under him, and despite himself being the odd man out; a pretentious Pommie twit, lying through his teeth in front of an Ocker audience.

    BTW, since when did Oz have a “nobility” and/or recognise English hereditary titles?

  43. #44 codex
    February 14, 2010

    > And Andrew Bolt responds to the debate by defaming me, calling me “vituperative, deceptive, a cherrypicker, an ideologue, a misrepresenter and a Manichean conspiracist only too keen to smear a sceptic as a crook who lies for Exxon’s dollars”.

    You are stretching the truth. He says those are the adjectives that one would normally use but that they did not characterize you in the debate.

    He concedes that you scored some points in the debate based on second hand reports but makes it clear he wasn’t there himself and so cannot confirm or deny.

    Overall it seemed at worst neutral and at best generous.

    Pinker was well done. You failed on the IPCC graph though, you supported his argument by talking about the unreliability of smaller data periods. Although I suspect most of the audience weren’t following that discussion anyway (and to be honest, I didn’t get the impression you were either :p).

    Personally I believe it was good to see this issue debated and it would appear a lot more scientific if the public saw more debates. There are real scientists who don’t toe the party line. The stand of either side to ridicule the other is quite appalling.

  44. #45 Lotharsson
    February 14, 2010

    Rob@43, that is exactly why debates with … er, “double-talkers” are double-edged swords. We might think the debate is intended to assess the two sides of the issue on their merits, but those trained in PR and propaganda view it differently. They realise that a debate, even where what they believe to be their substantive points are shown to be folly, are opportunities to subtly (and not so subtly) influence the (largish) subset of the audience who really want to be reassured that they are more perceptive than the average dog and on the right side of history, even if that means ignoring facts that are staring them in the face.

    This is one reason why evolutionary scientists rarely accept challenges to debate creationists. (Plimer used to do that decades ago – not sure that he changed many minds though.)

    Putting it another way, the non-verbal messages – including demonstrating confidence and “joining” with the audience – are at least as important as the facts. If Tim’s going to make a habit of this, then these elements are the key things to work on. And if he gets good at those…then his influence level in a debate will go up quite a bit. (There’s always a core who are there to see their chosen authority figure do battle, and it’s very difficult to cleave them from their chosen authority…but even with them planting seeds that may not flower for years is still important.)

  45. #46 jakerman
    February 14, 2010

    Codex writes:

    >*You are stretching the truth. He says those are the adjectives that one would normally use but that they did not characterize you in the debate.*

    Codex, you are stretching the truth with your claims of Tim stretching the truth:

    Here is what bolt said:

    >*Computer scientist Tim Lambert may be vituperative, deceptive, a cherrypicker, an ideologue, a misrepresenter and a Manichean conspiracist only too keen to smear a sceptic as a crook who lies for Exxon’s dollars. Oddly enough, he seems to have restrained his worst and most suspect traits to offer Lord Monckton a genuine debate at last.*

    Here is what Tim said:

    >*Andrew Bolt responds to the debate by defaming me, calling me “vituperative, deceptive, a cherrypicker, an ideologue, a misrepresenter and a Manichean conspiracist only too keen to smear a sceptic as a crook who lies for Exxon’s dollars”.*

    No distortion there by Tim.

    Bolt responded to the debate: yes?

    By calling Tim names: yes?

    That Bolt says Tim “restrained his worst and most suspect traits” during the debate in no way contradicts Tim’s accurate report that Bolts response to the debate was to to defame Tim.

  46. #47 Bernard J.
    February 14, 2010

    [Codex](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/monckton_lambert_debate_blog_r.php#comment-2274557).

    Personally I believe it was good to see this issue debated and it would appear a lot more scientific if the public saw more debates.

    You seem to have no understanding of the scientific method.

    Public debates for lay audiences do nothing to inform the facts of science. The robustness of science cares not one whit for what lay people think, or how they interpret science as filtered through the biases of vested interests. Science stands on it’s own internal objectivity, using the scientific method, and lay debates do nothing to change the science.

    On the other hand, impartially moderated discussions focussing on objective deconstruction of the misrepresentation of science might be a good thing, but vested interests are hardly going to swarm to the front of the room to do that. They will always find a way to twist their message to suit themselves, rather than to engage properly with the science that they claim to refute. One only has to consider the behaviour of Denialists on blogs to see that.

    What continued challenge to Denialists might achieve is to eventually demonstrate that no matter the noise level of their message, it never stands scrutiny in a scientific arena. Perhaps sooner or later the non-biased lay public will then understand that the only conspiracy is that of the Denialists who are pushing their own barrow regardless, and generally in spite of, the facts.

  47. #48 Rob Taylor
    February 15, 2010

    Thanks, Lotharsson @ 43, that is exactly what meant; Monckton may have lost on the facts, but he won most of the other channels to the audiences “hearts & minds”.

    BTW, didn’t Plimer once write a book damming the creationists – I think the catcht title was “Telling Lies for God”?

    A shame to see him gone to the Dark Side…

  48. #49 Bart Verheggen
    February 15, 2010

    Carmen Lambert makes an excellent point: No one likes a bully. Be gracious in public (and in email too), even when faced with downright lies and deception.

    From the round-up last few minutes, you sure look like a gifted speaker, Tim. I hope you get to use that skill more often. Good onya indeed.

  49. #50 Anarchist606
    February 16, 2010

    I listened to the MP3s of the debate and here’s my take on the winner…

    You’ve seen the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, now it’s the ‘Smashing in Sydney’. Roll up, roll up for what should be been an easy denialist win. In the blue corner was Lord ‘of the dance’ Monkton and in the red corner was computer scientist Tim ‘Deltoid’ Lambert. Both were pitted against each other in a major debate. Prior to the debate the odds were against Deltoid; the referee host is very bias towards denial plus sympathetic towards Monkton, the crowd was organised by the said bias host, so, on the whole against Deltoid. In addition, for all his faults (and they are legion when it comes to science), Monkton was a very experienced political player and accomplished public speaker – whereas Deltoid had never done such a debate before.

    However the three things Deltoid had on his side were key in this battle:

    1. He was right.
    2. He is very smart.
    3. He was right.

    Did I also mention that he was right? That helps. So What was the outcome? In summary, in the second round of the fight Deltoid landed a severe blow against Monkton that can only be described as a Technical Knock-Out (TKO)…. [full story](http://anarchist606.blogspot.com/2010/02/denialist-vs-warmist-warmist-wins-by.html)

  50. #51 codex
    February 16, 2010

    @Bernard J

    >You seem to have no understanding of the scientific method.
    >
    > Public debates for lay audiences do nothing to inform the facts of science. The robustness of science cares not one whit for what lay people think, or how they interpret science as filtered through the biases of vested interests. Science stands on it’s own internal objectivity, using the scientific method, and lay debates do nothing to change the science.

    Your understanding of the scientific method appears to be somewhat confused.

    The scientific method cares not at all about whether literature is peer reviewed or the investigators are lay or professional.

    If you can find examples to falsify a theory that has been accepted as fact your level of education, current employment, gender … are irrelevant.

    The peer review process is a human invention to streamline the process of publication of material and whilst implemented with good intention it seems a lot of people have lost sight of the wood for the trees and the process itself has become the b-all and end-all.

  51. #52 Anonymous
    February 16, 2010

    codex writes:

    >*If you can find examples to falsify a theory that has been accepted as fact your level of education, current employment, gender … are irrelevant.*

    What if you convice people who don’t know any better that you have falsified a theory when you haven’t. *The scientific method cares* a little about that.

  52. #53 Joseph
    February 16, 2010

    Let’s not anthropomorphize the scientific method. It’s not a person who cares about this or that. It’s simply a method for accomplishing a goal, with its merits and limitations. The peer review process is also a method, which is used by journals to filter out substandard submissions. It’s also used by people as a heuristic to determine if a publication deserves further consideration. (It goes without saying that peer review does not guarantee a paper is good, nor does lack of peer review guarantee a finding is false.)

  53. #54 Lotharsson
    February 16, 2010

    codex, in reply to Bernard J:

    Your understanding of the scientific method appears to be somewhat confused.

    The scientific method cares not at all about whether literature is peer reviewed or the investigators are lay or professional.

    Au contraire, your understanding of what Bernard J wrote appears to be somewhat confused.

    Firstly, there was no mention of peer review. And your objection is faintly ridiculous – any important scientific result that is reported outside of peer review will generally be replicated and published in a peer-reviewed journal in due course.

    Secondly, a careful reading shows that Bernard’s comments did not preclude “investigators” being non-professionals as long as they follow scientific process and produce quality scientific results. Unfortunately the vast majority of non-professionals do not even know what that means, let alone how to go about it – or even (and this is the key point about debates for lay audiences) how to assess the merits of any particular scientific sounding claim.

  54. #55 Ian Musgrave
    February 17, 2010

    My take on Moncktons’ use of Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth is here http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/2010/02/snowballs-snowjobs-and-lambert-monckton.html

  55. #56 codex
    February 17, 2010

    @Lotharsson
    >
    > Firstly, there was no mention of peer review. And your objection is faintly ridiculous – any important scientific result that is reported outside of peer review will generally be replicated and published in a peer-reviewed journal in due course.
    >

    No, peer review was not explicitly mentioned. But his post was quite clear in distinguishing between acceptable professional statements and unacceptable comment by the unwashed and obviously ignorant masses.

    This could go on forever. Frankly I think arguing it does you a disservice. The committed scientist is more concerned with the veracity and robustness of his results rather than where the criticisms come from. If a criticism has merit, it has merit and completely refusing to entertain debate on a topic of vast importance is not scientific.

    > Secondly, a careful reading shows that Bernard’s comments did not preclude “investigators” being non-professionals as long as they follow scientific process and produce quality scientific results. Unfortunately the vast majority of non-professionals do not even know what that means, let alone how to go about it – or even (and this is the key point about debates for lay audiences) how to assess the merits of any particular scientific sounding claim.

    I disagree. Read it again. Their is a clear and absolute dismissal of dissection of ideas in a) public and b) by lay people and sadly c) the climate gate email, regardless of whether they show anything else, at least show a clear and refusal to blindly ignore ideas opposed to their own, merit of the argument was not an option. If you haven’t read them, I encourage you to.

    The scientific method not only cares not whether supporting or dissenting evidence is professional or lay, but it also cares not as to the forum the discovery is made in.

    >Public debates for lay audiences do nothing to inform the facts of science. The robustness of science cares not one whit for what lay people think, or how they interpret science as filtered through the biases of vested interests. Science stands on it’s own internal objectivity, using the scientific method, and lay debates do nothing to change the science.

    Finally, to head off the expected knee jerk reaction to my reference to the cg email. I personally think the attitude displayed in the emails is understandable. They were also private/personal emails and one must expect people to speak frankly about people who are attacking them and frustrating them. The reality is people heavily involved in an area will have their own biases and agendas. All it does is emphasise the need for open honest discussion rather than the idea of political point scoring. There will always be an element of that, it is unavoidably human, but if the processes are not transparent, robust and open to scrutiny, people will start to doubt your cause.

  56. #57 TrueSceptic
    February 17, 2010

    51 codex,

    I think you should define the Scientific Method as you see it, so that we can avoid further unnecessary and irrelevant disagreement.

  57. #58 Lotharsson
    February 17, 2010

    …his post was quite clear in distinguishing between acceptable professional statements and unacceptable comment by the unwashed and obviously ignorant masses.

    Not so. Read it again. Especially the paragraph that begins:

    Public debates for lay audiences do nothing to inform the facts of science [my emphasis].

    It goes on to say (paraphrased) that science proceeds only through scientific process, not through debate. It does not refer to “unwashed or ignorant masses”, nor does it imply that a non-professional cannot take part in the scientific process. You can’t see the forest for the trees because you make a big strawman out of a corner case that was not addressed by that paragraph.

    I disagree. Read it again. If a criticism has merit, it has merit and completely refusing to entertain debate on a topic of vast importance is not scientific.

    You are conflating two issues.

    1) Can debates help lay audiences determine which claims about science (or to be good science) are correct, and which are misleading or outright fraudulent?

    2) Do scientists ignore valid criticisms because they don’t come from scientists?

    Bernard J’s comments are about issue (1) and not about issue (2). You’re critiquing them as if they are primarily about (2). Try dealing with them independently and things may become clearer.

    You could argue that scientists ignore valid arguments that don’t come through the scientific process – as I suspect you are trying to. If so, here’s an analogy:

    “They say he’s a terrorist, so torture him and then lock him up forever because it’s an issue of vast importance.”

    “But hang on a minute, how do we KNOW that he’s a terrorist in the first place? Isn’t that what requiring suitable standards of evidence and using evaluative processes such as trials are intended to find out?”

    So in science, just because a criticism is levied does not automatically mean it has merit. That’s what standards of evidence and evaluative processes such as peer review (prior to publication) and peer review (post-publication responses and further research) are for.

    Any lay person can participate in the scientific process. They can (for example) write an article and present it for a peer-reviewed conference or paper. If it meets minimum standards it will get published, and people will start to take notice. If they find it has merit, the ideas will have some impact.

    However scientists in a highly visible area these days see many more “criticisms” than most have time to deal with. But the vast majority are junk (and those creating them often know it). What to do? Spend all their time rebutting idiocies and mistakes in the hope of finding a 1-in-a-million gem, or apply a reasonable filtering process such as peer review to winnow out the worst of it?

    Their is a clear and absolute dismissal of dissection of ideas in a) public and b) by lay people …

    Yes, there is. And there is reasonable grounds for taking that position.

    But now you’ve moved the goalposts from scientists accepting criticism or scientific ideas from lay people to dissecting scientific ideas in front of lay people – i.e. (1) vs (2) above. Which argument are you trying to make? Which argument do you think Bernard J made? Which one do you object to?

    …the climate gate email, regardless of whether they show anything else, at least show a clear and refusal to blindly ignore ideas opposed to their own, merit of the argument was not an option.

    All it does is emphasise the need for open honest discussion rather than the idea of political point scoring.

    You do realise that discussion is part of the scientific process – and that the vast vast majority of lay people are not qualified to take part – which was kind of Bernard J’s original point? That’s the whole point of the scientific process – to find error, even when individuals have their own biases and blind spots?

  58. #59 TrueSceptic
    February 18, 2010

    Just spotted something in the audio of Munchkin’s opening statement.

    He said “If Pinker’s measurement is right…climate senstivity will be about a fifth of a Celsius degree…but the UN is saying it would be 3.26 Celsius degrees, 7.5 times too big”.

    How is that calculation made? 3.26/0.2 = 16.3, nothing like 7.5. Is he using an exponential or log relationship?