Clive Hamilton on the War on Science

Clive Hamilton has written a five part series on the attacks on climate science in Australia:

Bullying, lies and the rise of right-wing climate denial. I already mentioned this one

Who is orchestrating the cyber-bullying?. Andrew Bolt gets a special mention for his hate mongering.

Think tanks, oil money and black ops. The think tanks in Australia promoting denial and delay are Lavoisier, the IPA, the CIS and now the Brisbane Institute.

Manufacturing a scientific scandal. Jonathan Leake’s concoctions are well covered.

Who’s defending science?. The Australian’s War on Science and how the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and The Australian Academy of Science are missing in action.

Comments

  1. #1 Lotharsson
    February 26, 2010

    Some of the comments are … well, you really have to see for yourself.

  2. #2 John
    February 26, 2010

    Some of the comments are … well, you really have to see for yourself.

    Thoughtful or enlightening?

  3. #3 John
    February 26, 2010

    Actually, on reading the last article it’s pleasing to see most of the hardcore, obsessive Andrew Bolt reading denialists seem to have given up. There’s one or two negative comments but for the most part it’s positive. I suppose since Bolt is refusing to link to the articles he’s so keen to criticise his followers can’t be bothered reading them.

  4. #4 BlueGreen
    February 26, 2010

    [Andrew Bolt gets it all completely wrong again, falsely accusing and making defamatory claims against Gore in the process.](http://andrewboltliesdeceptionsonagw.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/gore%e2%80%99s-katrina-con-exposed/)

    A growing catalogue of his recent scientific misadventures [here](http://andrewboltliesdeceptionsonagw.wordpress.com/).

  5. #5 Fran Barlow
    February 26, 2010

    I’d encourage those who want to support the mainstream science to add your voice to the commentary there. Sadly, perception is reality for some and the spammers from the filth merchant lobby have been up to their usual disinformation tricks there. We should not allow them to dominate the discussion.

  6. #6 Stu
    February 26, 2010

    The thing is, a lot of the comments seem to be defending the antics of the denialist machine. Is it so hard to be a sceptic whilst roundly condemning such disgusting behaviour? I don’t understand, it’s as if these people don’t see the yawning chasm between simply being unconvinced by the science of AGW and actually harassing and threatening the scientists!

  7. #7 sailrick
    February 26, 2010

    Wow! And I thought American denialism was the worst in the world. Like Stu said, its one thing to remain unconvinced, but when these folks go into their rants, reciting a bogus littany of denier talking points, all of which they apparently believe it is definitely far beyond skepticism. Often they believe conflicting memes at the same time.

    Here’s what an actual honest to goodness skeptic has to say.
    Mark Boslough is a physicist at Sandia National Laboratories and adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico. Here’s an exerpt of a post by him, at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website.

    “Denialists have attempted to call the science into question by writing articles that include fabricated data. They’ve improperly graphed data using tricks to hide evidence that contradicts their beliefs. They chronically misrepresent the careful published work of scientists, distorting all logic and meaning in an organized misinformation campaign. To an uncritical media and gullible non-scientists, this ongoing conflict has had the intended effect: it gives the appearance of a scientific controversy and seems to contradict climate researchers who have stated that the scientific debate over the reality of human-caused climate change is over (statements that have been distorted by denialists to imply the ridiculous claim that in all respects the science is settled).

  8. #8 el gordo
    February 26, 2010

    The science is not settled, that’s why there is so much heat being generated on the blogosphere.

    If you want to win this battle of minds, then Tim will have to refocus on climate and not morph this space into a political science blog.

  9. #9 Michael
    February 26, 2010

    CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and The Australian Academy of Science have all learnt that “science”, “facts” and “evidence” are only to be spoken of with the permission of their political paymasters.

  10. #10 Rixaeton
    February 26, 2010

    #8 el gordo: The science is settled (to 90% certainty, which is, how shall I put it, very certain) so the reason so much heat is being generated in the blogosphere is because of differences of opinion, driven by desire to fix the problem on one side, and deny the problem exists on the other. (There is a 3rd side; inactivism: get what you can before the inevitable forces fixing the problem). Politics is the use, application, distribution and regulation of resources, one of those resources being “the environment.” So it is a political issue.

    Without the inactivism and the denialism, the problem would be well on the way to being fixed, rather than just starting now. The problem is not the science; it is the politics, so it is quite appropriate to continue to point out the fabrications and misrepresentations that are being done to the science. This is the winning of minds. It involves pointing out continually the misrepresentations and falsehoods that are being put about, and the reasons why their assertions are incorrect. It helps to point out the motives of those that misrepresent, omit, fabricate, obfuscate, lie, impune and generally behave in what is really an un-scientific manner, so that the minds can be won by not only by explaining the reasoning why AGW is the correct conclusion to draw, but also that the “anti-AGW conclusion” people do not have the general public’s best interest in mind.

  11. #11 Bud
    February 26, 2010

    Re: 8 and 10. The problem is, both “the science is settled” and “the science is not settled” are true, depending on how you wish to interpret the phrase. Unless absolutely unavoidable, phrases which add rhetorical ammunition to the other side should not be used, regardless of their accuracy in certain contexts. “The science is settled” is one such phrase, IMHO, particularly in the context of the recent RC post on the matter.

  12. #12 el gordo
    February 26, 2010

    Rixaeton

    Climate change has been a political issue for 30 years and you have 70% of the electorate on your side.

    If someone asked you what does this ‘snowicane’ in New York mean for global warming? Would you say it’s weather not climate or there is a lot more moisture in the air because of AGW and so there is more snow.

    Reality is, a weak El Nino and a negative AO/NAO brings more snow and ice to the continental US.

    We all want to preserve our earthly environment, but that’s entirely different to the government’s efforts to squeeze CO2 underground.

  13. #13 jakerman
    February 26, 2010

    El gordo stop [continuing the pointless points](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/open_thread_42.php#comment-2298598).

  14. #14 Jeff Harvey
    February 26, 2010

    el gordo,

    Your thesis falls apart when you realize most of the US and Canada have had little snow this winter. The Great Lakes region has been particularly dry. The heavy snow was confined, and only for a short period, to the east coast of the United States where of course it was well publicized. Nor- Easters have always been a threat to the region anyway, when low pressure systems travel up the coastline tapping into warm, moist Atlantic air and cold, Canadian air. This is nothing exceptional. What is exceptional has been the way above-normal temperatures over most of central and northern Canada. Remarkable is almost too strong a word for it.

  15. #15 Philip Machanick
    February 26, 2010

    The major lie behind all this is that science is a matter of opinion. It is not. It is about developing a theory based on observations, and verifying the theory by testing its predictions against other observations. If there really was a case against the mainstream, it should be made by finding evidence that doesn’t fit, or a theory that fits the evidence better.

    As I ask at my blog: [If climate science really is junk, why is it necessary to oppose it with vaudeville acts, personal attacks, stealing email and clear and obvious lies?](http://opinion-nation.blogspot.com/2010/02/replies-to-questions-about-climate.html)

    I set up a [petition](http://www.petitiononline.com/clim4tr/petition.html) to support the right of climate scientists to work without harassment. Sign and tell others if you agree.

  16. #16 Chris O'Neill
    February 26, 2010

    el credulous:

    The science is not settled, that’s why there is so much heat being generated on the blogosphere.

    After all, the blogoshpere is where most science is done.

  17. #17 el gordo
    February 26, 2010

    The Canadian winter of 2005-06 was on average close to 4 degrees above normal and went down in the books as the warmest on record. This winter might best it, but I’m still punting on natural variability over AGW.

  18. #18 jakerman
    February 26, 2010

    El gordo do you believe that if you [continuing repeating the pointless points](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/open_thread_42.php#comment-2298598) you will turn them into something more?

  19. #19 Lotharsson
    February 26, 2010

    After all, the blogoshpere is where most science is done.

    Ah, you’ve hit the nail on the head!

    When people say “the science is not settled”, they generally mean “the blog science is not settled”. See, it’s just shorthand for a completely accurate statement!

    And when other people say “the science is settled”, most of them mean “on the core questions the science is certain enough that we need to take the risks very seriously starting right now”. See, it’s also just shorthand for a completely accurate statement!

    So both are correct in a quantum post-modernist superpositiony kind of way where truth is in the mind of the beholder and thus no-one is ever wrong!

  20. #20 Lotharsson
    February 26, 2010

    I’ve posted a few comments on one of the articles. We’ll see if they turn up – but there are so many comments already it’s likely they’ll get lost in the noise.

    And there’s a *lot* of noise.

  21. #21 Bud
    February 26, 2010

    And there’s a lot of noise.

    So much that I really can’t be arsed to trawl through it all.

    And that, in a nutshell, is why blogs which aren’t dedicated trollbait producers use moderation. Can you imagine an unmoderated RC? No-one with brains bigger than their guts would ever dare venture below the line for fear of the mess they would find there.

  22. #22 John
    February 26, 2010

    Since El Gordo has comprehensively proven AGW to be a left-wing scam, the blogosphere scientists should now turn their attention to plate tectonics.

  23. #23 Marred
    February 26, 2010

    Philip Machanick

    hahahahaha. Have you stuck your head in the sand. Look at this blog and the number of perrsonal attacks on it. Then go to wattsupwiththat and see some actual science. The reason people aren’t speaking up anymore for climate change is because the gig is up. IPCC is in shreds. Wether AGW is as bad as they say or not. Their science is sad and falling apart at the seams.

    Maybe, you should look into how many billions government has put into AGW studies and compare it to the magical big oil money that you think is behind people questioning scientist that deny FOI requests, have numerous errors in their reports, have manipulated the peer review process, and on some of their most alarming claims have referenced non peer-reviewed sources. Read both sides.

    And only now is the main stream media picking up on this. You’ve had the backing of all the big names with reporting of alarmist events. It seems if i sneeze its AGW.

    I come here to find information for AGW, some sort of compelling arguement but i find nothing.

  24. #24 Marred
    February 26, 2010

    your blog is dead. just read the comments. laugh. shake head. face palm.

  25. #25 John
    February 26, 2010

    Wow.

  26. #26 chek
    February 26, 2010

    The trouble is, Marred, that you and your ilk spend so much time absorbing the nonsense and outright lies on your preferred denial sites that it comes as a shock to see elsewhere that it is you and your ilk that are creating a bubble far removed from the real world of empirical evidence.

    Which of course is what makes you ideal prey for the likes of Inhofe and Morano et al.

  27. #27 Bud
    February 26, 2010

    Guys, don’t feed the troll. It’s just spam for WUWT and should probably be treated as such.

  28. #28 RobM
    February 26, 2010

    Marred said:
    “Then go to wattsupwiththat and see some actual science.”

    BWAHAHAHA!!! Watt’s is the guy who thinks taking pictures trumps mathematical analysis. He said that he needed 75% of the station data in before he could do an analysis, yet is in the 80%’s now and still no analysis, yet he had the gall to condemn the US instrumental temp record after having done NO analysis at all. When someone actually did check the numbers, they found that the poorly sited stations actually produced a slight cooling effect, not warming.
    He didn’t know the difference between raw temps and anomalies. He made the ludicrous claim that stations in colder areas were being removed in order to make it look warmer when in fact it’s the anomalies that matter, not the raw temp. If one wanted to fake warming, the best way to do so would be to remove ALL the high latitude, cold stations, since they are showing the fastest warming. He had it completely backwards.
    Going to Watts for climate science is like going to Uncommon Descent for evolutionary biology info.

  29. #29 Marco
    February 26, 2010

    Wow. Just wow. Marred believes there is “actual science” on WUWT. Such amazing science like CO2 snow on Antarctica. Or pictures that are supposed to show artificial warming, but in an *actual scientific analysis* showing artificial cooling. Or the amazing graphs of Willis Eschenbach, who doesn’t understand where station corrections come from, and *thus claims fraud*. Or where the blog owner has no trouble in claiming deliberate removal of stations to obtain an artificial warming trend, while actual analysis shows it to be otherwise (see a pattern here?). Also quite recently, the wonderful analysis of cutting off a graph at a certain year to get a (still not significant) increasing snow cover trend in January and February (gee, where did December go?).

    Marred, I sincerely hope you never attended university. If you did, you better get your money back. They clearly never taught you anything.

  30. #30 Lotharsson
    February 26, 2010

    The reason people aren’t speaking up anymore for climate change is because the gig is up. IPCC is in shreds. Wether AGW is as bad as they say or not. Their science is sad and falling apart at the seams.

    Clap harder. Harder, I said! Clap, man, clap!

  31. #31 Bud
    February 26, 2010

    I stand by my, er, stance. But I gotta admit, some entertaining and very thorough takedowns by RobM and Marco.

  32. #32 Marred
    February 26, 2010

    Name calling and sling terms around like “denier” seems to be the comment response on this blog. I referenced WUWT because the vast difference in intelligence responses compared to here.

    RobM

    You seem to be suffering from the same issues that you claim Watt’s has. You are making claims and providing no source material for said clames. You say Watt’s “condemn the US instrumental temp record after doing no analysis” inferring he showed no support for the premise. Can you source this? your comment is sounding like an IPCC report.

    I am also confused about what you are inferring in regards to raw temp, Anom temp analysis and Watt’s claims. If you could source his article it might help.

    Because analysis based on anom temp does produce results that increase earlier cooling when compared to the results produced when you analyse raw temp.

    And it is true that removing High Alt. records from Anon temp data would increase warming but was watts talking about Raw temp data or Anom Temp data when you quote him as saying “colder areas were being removed”.

    Its all very intermingled in your argument and i can’t figure out what you are actually claiming.

  33. #33 RobM
    February 26, 2010

    “You say Watt’s “condemn the US instrumental temp record after doing no analysis” inferring he showed no support for the premise. Can you source this?”

    Sure. He’s not actually looked at the temp data of any of the stations he has condemned as being poorly sited and likely to give a warming bias, yet he had the gall to claim that taking pictures of the stations was enough to state:

    “The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable.”

    http://www.heartland.org/books/SurfaceStations.html

    Well, real scientists actually DID look at the temp data, and what do ya know? The bad sites actually introduced a slight cooling bias.
    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-etal2010.pdf

    Watts is not a scientist, and it shows.

  34. #34 Chris O'Neill
    February 26, 2010

    Marred:

    Its all very intermingled in your argument and i can’t figure out what you are actually claiming.

    If you really want to start working through some of the mathematical lies and garbage published by Watts then you only need to google watts at tamino or just look at the latest few articles by mathematician tamino. Going through Watts’ lies and garbage will keep you busy for months.

  35. #35 Deen
    February 26, 2010

    @Lotharsson in #20:
    Some of that noise is highly entertaining. Many of the comments also very thoroughly confirm Hamilton’s point that it is mostly an ideological issue: lots of accusations that Hamilton is writing propaganda and of course the usual conspiracy-mongering.

  36. #37 Deen
    February 26, 2010

    @Marred in #32:

    Name calling and sling terms around like “denier” seems to be the comment response on this blog. I referenced WUWT because the vast difference in intelligence responses compared to here.

    Sure, stuff like that never happens at WUWT. Riiigth. The very first thread at WUWT I happened to look at after reading your comment had the moderators accusing someone of being a “warmist advocate”, instead of responding to the criticism that they apparently couldn’t be bothered to research their own data. I’m sure more examples could be found without much difficulty.

  37. #38 jakerman
    February 26, 2010

    Deen writes:

    >I’m sure more examples could be found without much difficulty.

    Deen, I didn’t bother looking after reading Marred’s self contradictions in [his opening sentences](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/clive_hamilton_on_the_war_on_s.php#comment-2304821):

    >*Philip Machanick hahahahaha. Have you stuck your head in the sand. Look at this blog and the number of perrsonal attacks on it. Then go to wattsupwiththat and see some actual science.*

    Marcus and Rob demonstrate what Marred must mean by “*go to wattsupwiththat and see some actual science.”*

    Its the sort of ‘science’ you goto for confirmation of your prejudice and don’t have time to understand the scientific process or validity of the claims.

  38. #39 Fran Barlow
    February 26, 2010

    Apparently, in an attempt to show “balance” ABC’s “the drum” website is going to have a week of contributions from the filth merchant spruiking side of the commentariat. — people like Switzer, Moran, Jo Nova etc …

    On your marks … flex those Deltoids …

  39. #40 David Irving (no relation)
    February 28, 2010

    The truly awful thing is, Bud, that those ABC blogs are moderated.

  40. #41 Lotharsson
    February 28, 2010

    The truly awful thing is, Bud, that those ABC blogs are moderated.

    Maybe by Andrew Denton. Because the moderator is certainly giving some commenter enough rope…

  41. #42 Lotharsson
    March 1, 2010

    The encouraging thing is a whole bunch of comments came from many different people about how mendacious the post by Alan Moran was today…

  42. #43 V. infernalis
    March 1, 2010

    So, I just heard today that my wife (a scientist who does research on coral reefs and patch dynamics) is going to be interviewed by the Weekend Australian as part of a series on promising young researchers.

    I wonder if I should suggest that she express her dismay – either off-the-cuff or formally – at the Australian’s piss-poor science reporting?

    Either way, I’m curious about how this interview will be conducted and what the end product will look like after editorial mangling.

  43. #44 Tim Lambert
    March 1, 2010

    I would suggest that she records the interview and researches the previous writings by the interviewer. The stuff on climate science in the *Weekend Australian* is particularly bad — I would imagine that the *Weekend Australian* staff think the weekday *Australian* is written by greenies.

  44. #45 V. infernalis
    March 2, 2010

    Tim,

    Thanks – e-mail incoming.

  45. #46 Lotharsson
    March 3, 2010

    Well, I had a heavy comment splurge on the last two Clive Hamilton articles, and the first couple this week. Hopefully it made some difference :-) There was quite a lot of crap being posted, so some cleaning up was warranted.