If you think his misrepresentations about what climate scientists told him were bad, check out what Jonathan Leake did to Richard Dawkins:

Top Scientist Gives Backing to Astrology

However, Seymour’s theories won qualified support from an unexpected source. Richard Dawkins, professor for the public understanding of science at Oxford University, who once suggested that astrologers be prosecuted under the trades descriptions act, said that although he had not read the book Seymour’s ideas sounded interesting.

Dawkins responded

“No. I most emphatically did NOT give my support to Percy Seymour. I was telephoned by a journalist called Jonathan Leake from the Sunday Times who asked me for a comment on Seymour’s book. I said I hadn’t read it, and therefore could not comment. Leake then read me part of the jacket blurb, which said something about magnetic fields before birth having an influence. I said something sarcastic like, “Well, that’s very interesting, no doubt, but what the hell has it got to do with astrology?” The next thing I knew, the newspaper quoted me as ‘supporting’ Seymour by saying his work was ‘interesting’. I am furious about this gross misrepresentation, and you may publish my disclaimer, if you wish.”

Hat tip: MikeH.


  1. #1 JasonW
    February 16, 2010

    Leakegate is getting totally out of hand. I demand an official inquiry into Jonathan Leake. The man shouldn’t be let near a PC!

  2. #2 JasonW
    February 16, 2010

    Also Tim, little typo in the first sentence. Should probably read: “If you _think_ his misrepresentations about what climate scientists told him were bad[…]” 😉

  3. #3 Tim Lambert
    February 16, 2010

    Thanks, I fixed it. Glad I got to it before Leake wrote a story about this totally discredits me.

  4. #4 Lars Karlsson
    February 16, 2010

    The following string was generated by a simple program using random mutation and selection:


  5. #5 Mercurius
    February 16, 2010

    The Leakegate scandal proves that journalism does not exist!

    The game is up now for journalists. The Leakegate scandal is an epochal event, the greatest scam in history, the scale and proportion of which is unprecedented in the annals of infamy. The wheels have now totally fallen off the Good Ship Journalism, and their cooked goose clearly has two left feet. This will be the last nail in the coffin that puts journalism to bed. For many journalism skeptics who have always smelt a rat, this latest fishy episode is the icing on the cake. They have mixed up one too many quotes in the punch bowl, metaphorically speaking.

    It is only a matter of time before the public wakes up to the fact that they are being lied to, and then the great journalism swindle will be over for good, because the public will never read anything again once they realise the extent of this fraud.


  6. #6 t_p_hamilton
    February 16, 2010

    Lars, you win one internets!

  7. #7 JamesA
    February 16, 2010

    > Thanks, I fixed it. Glad I got to it before Leake wrote a story about this totally discredits me.

    You have to watch it with those typos. 😉

  8. #8 Bruce Sharp
    February 16, 2010

    Tim, it looks like there is another typo in your comment. Shouldn’t that say “wrote a story about HOW this totally discredits me”?

    In the wake of this second typo, I’m afraid it’s too late. You’re already discredited. Damn, why did this have to happen just when our AGW scam was on the verge of success??

  9. #9 Deep Climate
    February 16, 2010

    Some more on Leake (and teh Daily Mail):


    Get ready. Lies originating in the U.K. over the weekend in newspaper stories by Jonathan Leake of the Times and Jonathan Petre of the Mail on Sunday, are about to hit the contrarian echo chamber. As usual, Marc Morano is on the case, with his Climate Depot science fabrication clearinghouse claiming that “World may not be warming, say scientists” and “Phil Jones admits: There has been no global warming since 1995″.

    But a cursory examination of the actual articles shows that not only are both claims false, but the articles themselves are chock full of other misleading statements. And reborn skeptic evangelist Jonathan Leake of the Times has not only selected highly dubious research, but has glossed over the fossil fuel industry ties of the researchers, especially those of economist Ross McKitrick. So, for the benefit of Leake and other journalists, I’ll also go over a few unsavoury facts about McKitrick that I didn’t get to last time.

    Not that any of that matters to the contrarian blogosphere and the right-wing U.S. press who will no doubt embrace these latest supposedly fatal blows to climate science in the days to come.

    In particular, check out how Leake describes McKitrick’s evolution as a skeptic, glossing over his long history of complaisance with oil industry linked PR firmsand think tanks.

    And be sure to take the polls, guessing which North American media will be the first to propage the latest lies.. (I invite Tim to run similar polls for ANZA, but it may be too late).

  10. #10 Chris O'Neill
    February 16, 2010

    I was telephoned by a journalist

    Now that means you’ll need to say “Just a minute, I’ll get my voice recorder”.

  11. #11 MarkB
    February 16, 2010

    Leake’s columns are verifiably tabloid trash.

  12. #12 Joel
    February 16, 2010

    Creationists could learn a thing or two from Jonathan Leake.

  13. #13 Nick
    February 16, 2010

    Too late ,Tim. “Making a foray into discussion of Dawkins’ allegations,commentator Tim Lambert said the story ‘totally discredits me’.” ;)…to think that Leake has been “Science Editor” of his rag for at least five years! In a few short weeks he has manufactured more errors than he has found. A fat dossier will be on its way to the UK press council,I hope.

    Another furphy is kicking around confusing the message on hurricane activity and smearing Kevin Trenberth,courtesy of Andrew Orlowski at The Register,if you’re interested.

  14. #14 Paul UK
    February 16, 2010

    Leake sounds like a spiv.

  15. #15 Dave Andrews
    February 16, 2010


    Distraction, distraction! Like ‘Comical Ali’ you will say anything to try and divert attention from the fact that the house of cards is falling all around you.

  16. #16 jakerman
    February 16, 2010

    Shorter Dave Andrews,

    >Don’t show me the systematic egregious lies and wide-spread, repeated errors used continuously by my side, that is just distraction from the tiny amount of errors on your side.

  17. #17 Neil
    February 16, 2010

    This house of cards is falling so slowly, it actually appears to be growing.

  18. #18 Mark N
    February 16, 2010

    With thanks to Lars, may I present:

    Generation    1: [PLEASE ASSESS JONATHAN LEAKE] 558
    Generation    2: [PLEASE PSSESGMJONATHAN LEAKE] 490
    Generation   11: [SLZAJTKPESWGKXJOWIE A VDELKI] 215
    Generation   12: [SLZAJTKPESWGKXJOFIE A VDELKI] 204
    Generation   13: [SLZAJNKPEHWGSXJOFIE A VDELKI] 197
    Generation   14: [SLZLJNKPEHWGSUJOFIE A VDEUKI] 186
    Generation   15: [SLZLJNKPEHWGSU OIIE V VDEUKI] 162
    Generation   16: [SLGKJNKPEHWGSU OIIE A VDEUKI] 147
    Generation   17: [SLGKJNKPEHWGES OIIE A VDEUKI] 139
    Generation   18: [SLGKJNKPEHW ES OIIE A VDEUKI] 100
    Generation   19: [SLGKJNKPEHW ES OIIE A VDEUCI] 96
    Generation   20: [SLRKJNKPEHW ES OGIE A VDEUCI] 87
    Generation   21: [KLRIJNKPEHW ES OGIE A VDEUCI] 81
    Generation   22: [KHRIJNKPEHW ES OGIE A VDEUCI] 77
    Generation   23: [KHRIJNKPEHW IS OGIE A VDEUCI] 73
    Generation   24: [KHRIJNKP HW IS OGIE A VDEUCI] 36
    Generation   25: [LHRIJNKP HW IS OGIE A VDEUCI] 35
    Generation   26: [LHRIJNKP HT IS OGIE A VDEUCI] 32
    Generation   27: [LHRIJNKT HT IS OGIE A VDEUCI] 30
    Generation   28: [LHRIJNKT HT IS OGIE A VFEUCI] 30
    Generation   29: [LDRIJNKT HT IS OGIE A VFEUCI] 28
    Generation   30: [LDRIJNKT HT IS LGIE A VFEUCI] 25
    Generation   31: [LDRIJNKT HT IS LGIE A VFEUDI] 24
    Generation   32: [LDRIJNKT HT IS LGIE A VFEUDI] 24
    Generation   33: [LDRIINKT HT IS LGKE A VFEUDI] 21
    Generation   34: [LDRIINKT HT IS LGKE A VFETDI] 20
    Generation   35: [LDRIINKT HT IS LGKE A VFETDM] 18
    Generation   36: [LDRIINKT HT IS LGKE A VFCTDM] 16
    Generation   37: [LDRIINKT HT IS LGKE A VFCSDM] 15
    Generation   38: [LDRIINKT HT IS LGKE A VFASDM] 13
    Generation   39: [LDRIINKT HT IS LGKE A VFASDM] 13
    Generation   40: [LERIINKT HT IS LGKE A VFASDM] 12
    Generation   41: [LETIINKT HT IS LGKE A VFASDM] 10
    Generation   42: [METIINKT HT IS LGKE A VFASDM] 9
    Generation   43: [METIINKT HT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 8
    Generation   44: [METIINKT HT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 8
    Generation   45: [METIINKT HT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 8
    Generation   46: [METIINKT HT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 8
    Generation   47: [METIINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 7
    Generation   48: [METIINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 7
    Generation   49: [METIINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 7
    Generation   50: [METIINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 7
    Generation   51: [METIINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 7
    Generation   52: [METIINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 7
    Generation   53: [METIINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 7
    Generation   54: [METIINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 7
    Generation   55: [METHINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 6
    Generation   56: [METHINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASDM] 6
    Generation   57: [METHINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASEM] 5
    Generation   58: [METHINKT IT IS LGKE A WFASEM] 5
    Generation   59: [METHINKT IT IS LGKE A WEASEM] 4
    Generation   60: [METHINKT IT IS LGKE A WEASEM] 4
    Generation   61: [METHINKT IT IS LGKE A WEASEL] 3
    Generation   62: [METHINKT IT IS LGKE A WEASEL] 3
    Generation   63: [METHINKT IT IS LGKE A WEASEL] 3
    Generation   64: [METHINKT IT IS LGKE A WEASEL] 3
    Generation   65: [METHINKS IT IS LGKE A WEASEL] 2
    Generation   66: [METHINKS IT IS LGKE A WEASEL] 2
    Generation   67: [METHINKS IT IS LJKE A WEASEL] 1
    Generation   68: [METHINKS IT IS LJKE A WEASEL] 1
    Generation   69: [METHINKS IT IS LJKE A WEASEL] 1
    Generation   70: [METHINKS IT IS LJKE A WEASEL] 1
    Generation   71: [METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL] 0
  19. #19 JamesA
    February 16, 2010

    @Dave Andrews: Last I checked, the atmosphere still has more CO2 in it, the laws of physics haven’t changed and it’s still warmer than it used to be. In short, Arrhenius was right. People have been predicting the downfall of global warming for decades but instead, it just keeps getting more and more certain (at least within scientific circles). That should maybe tell you something.

  20. #20 chek
    February 16, 2010

    The question I keep wondering about is, how long can these fair-weather “sceptical types” can keep going, bringing one PR disaster after the other upon themselves.

  21. #21 Mercurius
    February 16, 2010

    Leakegate is final, irrefutable proof that journalism does not exist!

  22. #22 Joseph
    February 16, 2010

    The question I keep wondering about is, how long can these fair-weather “sceptical types” can keep going

    They’ll keep going until the Arctic is ice-free and Manhattan is under water. And who knows if they’ll even stop then.

  23. #23 Lotharsson
    February 16, 2010

    This house of cards is falling so slowly, it actually appears to be growing

    No, no, you got it all wrong – they’ll never understand that!

    Clearly the house of cards cannot grow so put it in terms they can understand – it is falling at a negative rate!


  24. #24 DavidCOG
    February 16, 2010

    Rosegate. Leakegate. It’s gone too far now. It clearly shows that the whole of journalism is a rotten facade. It needs to be entirely scrapped, the ringleaders prosecuted and preferably waterboarded first.


    Actually, I’m not sure that parody works as well as it should. It’s uncomfortably close to the truth. :/

  25. #25 m
    February 16, 2010

    Has Mr. Leake reported on Batboy’s admission that there has been no warming since 1992?

  26. #26 Keith Harwood
    February 16, 2010

    Andrew Denton interviewed Richard Dawkins. Dawkins found it difficult, saying he found it easier talking about science rather than himself. It ended up something like this.

    Denton: Just one last question. What’s your star sign?

    Very long pause.

    Dawkins: You’re kidding.

    Denton: Yes, I’m kidding.

  27. #27 Ezzthetic
    February 17, 2010

    Seth Shostak, a leading American astronomer, was also scathing, describing Seymour’s theory as “nonsensical”. He pointed out that even though large planets like Jupiter had magnetic and gravitational fields far greater than the Earth’s, they were massively diluted by distance.

    “Jupiter’s magnetic field is about a trillion times weaker than the Earth’s,” he said. “You would experience a far stronger field from your lights and washing machine.”

    Leading astromoner rejects astrology theory. Claims washing machines real cause of astrological phenomena.

  28. #28 Ajay
    February 17, 2010

    Leakegate is valid. Jurnos should not twist or take words out of context.

    Bit doesn’t the same apply to IPCC as well. One would expect IPCC to have magnitudes higher standards. Yet we have Amazongate and the fiasco of Denmark level, not to talk of the Himalayan blunder. Who knows how many more such “innocent mistakes” are in AR4 report.

    Tabloid jurnos and IPCC are both experts in creating issues out of thin air, and misrepresenting facts

  29. #29 jakerman
    February 17, 2010

    Ajay, The IPPC assessment re the Amazon [were correct](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/leakegate.php). Its Leake who held back information to beat up the issue and make it out to me more than a citation error.

    And unlike Leake, Rose, Bolt, Piers and Watts, The IPCC are self correcting. They admit and correct their mistakes and correct the record.

    Thats why serious people who want credible sources refer to the IPCC and not some shonk on WUWT.

  30. #30 johnmacmot
    February 17, 2010

    Ajay, there is a subtle difference between a report of 2800 pages, involving many sources and papers, and one newspaper article.

    The IPCC can be criticised legitimately for one actual error. The other supposed “errors” are spin and bullshit by journalists, as detailed in other threads here and elsewhere.

    How do you manage to compare that with deliberate lies written by a journalist in one article? There are more confirmed inaccuracies in this one article than in the IPCC report.

  31. #31 jakerman
    February 17, 2010

    BTW Ajay,

    Notice how easy it was for you to add errors about Denmark to the IPCC supposed list of crimes. I think you meant [Netherlands](http://www.stwr.org/climate-change-environment/ipcc-errors-facts-and-spin.html).

    But unlike the IPCC denialst arn’t accountable, yet their proclamations spread like Chinese whispers.

    (Oh did you hear that the IPCC got Denmark wrong too! Add that to the list along with the other false claims against them).

  32. #32 JasonW
    February 17, 2010

    Ajay, I’m going out on a massive limb here and say that you haven’t read the IPCC report. Huge assumption, I know – but am I right? The same would apply to David Rose, Jonathan Leake, Anthony Watts, or any of the other goofs going about their merry disinforming ways. You could do worse than downloading the AR4 Synthesis Report, leafing through it and trying to make your own judgement. For your convenience, here it is: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf

    Did you hear about how the info on the >> Netherlands << got into the report? It was wrong information from a Dutch government agency, who should know best - the IPCC can hardly be blamed for that.

  33. #33 Marco
    February 17, 2010

    The error about the Netherlands is even with the correction not much less alarming:

    26% below sea level, an additional 29% endangered by flooding (=55%, if anyone wonders…).

    The 55% would actually be endangered if there is another tidal surge flood, as has happened a few times before in Dutch history (the latest in 1953). Fortunately, the Dutch have been rich enough to spend quite a few billions (tens of billions actually) on protective measures. The annual costs for improvements and maintenance runs into the many hundreds of millions a year.

  34. #34 Dave Andrews
    February 17, 2010


    Arrhenius also didn’t think there was a particular problem with rising levels of CO2.

  35. #35 MapleLeaf
    February 17, 2010

    Ajay has been posting at Eli Rabett. Cut and paste.

  36. #36 Daniel J. Andrews
    February 17, 2010

    Dave (34); So? How does Arrhenius’s lack of understanding of ecology repudiate physics and math calculations? These calculations that have been redone and refined a multitude of times since then, each time with similar results. In fact, you can even do some of the basic calculations yourself. See Dr. David Archer’s climate lectures for undergrads:


    You want the lectures in Chapter 3, and parts of Chapter 4. If those are too difficult, then you need to watch the previous chapters for background first. And since you’re watching them, why not watch them all–it is like taking a climate course for free (his book is also good and if you email him, he will send you a pdf of the answers to the exercises).

    Yes, it is a bit of work to learn this material, but if you want to comment on global warming surely it isn’t too much to ask that you learn the first-year undergrad basics…especially if you want to contradict pretty much every major scientific organization around the world who have issued statements saying global warming is happening and that humans likely have something to do with it.

    Unless, of course, you’d prefer to take the easy route, continue to make things up, and be a troll–that may work on people just as scientifically illiterate as you, but you’re not fooling anyone here.
    –dan (not dave) andrews

  37. #37 TrueSceptic
    February 17, 2010

    23 Lotharsson,

    Just like so-called “gravity” is really Intelligent Falling? 😉

  38. #38 TrueSceptic
    February 17, 2010

    34 Dave Andrews,

    That is just, err, astounding. Would you like to tell us why he thought that?

    I’m sure that Tim has not banned you for a reason. Can you guess what that reason might be?

  39. #39 TrueSceptic
    February 17, 2010

    33 Marco,

    26% of the land area might be below (current) sea level, but 2/3 of the population is. When it comes to impact, should we consider area or people?

  40. #40 David Irving (no relation)
    February 17, 2010

    “Leake sounds like a spiv.”

    That’s a bit too complimentary, Paul. After all, a spiv is someone who lives on his wits. Leake seems to be more like a standover man.

  41. #41 Lotharsson
    February 17, 2010

    TrueSceptic, yes! Also just like flying is easy – you just need to throw yourself at the ground…and miss! If you miss just right you can even get into orbit!


  42. #42 Peter Principle
    February 18, 2010

    Anyone know if the Daily Mail is Murdoch owned? Just asking, because Newscorp (Times of London, Wall Street Journal, Fox News) appears to have emerged lately as climate denialism world HQ.

  43. #43 P. Lewis
    February 18, 2010

    No. It’s published by Associated Newspapers, part of A&N Media, which is part of Daily Mail & General Trust plc.

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