Stewart Brand disappoints

In an earlier post

So George Monbiot challenged Brand to notice and announce that he’s wrong about DDT. So far it hasn’t happened. Unless it does, I think we should be skeptical about the rest of Brand’s thesis.

Well, as Monbiot relates, it still hasn’t happened. It seems increasingly likely that Brand will destroy his own credibility rather than admit to a significant error.

Comments

  1. #1 Hank Roberts
    November 11, 2010

    I’ll wait to see what SB puts in his web page for references for that chapter of his book. That’s the permanent record. I think Monbiot’s pushing unproductively at this point.

    I suggested Monbiot compare Brand’s response to his own, e.g.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=monbiot+phil+jones

    (that is — take a while, then make a vague correction)

    Following up with the Malaria Foundation folks would be most interesting — where else besides the US was DDT being manufactured? Who else was shipping it? Was the aid money from the US entailed so it couldn’t be used for vector control with DDT bought elsewhere? Details.

  2. #2 SC (Salty Current)
    November 11, 2010

    Monbiot:

    I fear you are running the most insidious and subtle exercise in corporate propaganda I have yet encountered. As a result, no one, until now, has called you out on it. With this response, that changes.

    A serious charge, but it appears there’s something to it.

    ***

    Brand (in email to Monbiot, whose link doesn’t work but someone put the correct one in the comments):

    Concerning Greens in Africa, the reliable book is Starved for Science, by Robert Paarlberg, from Harvard University Press.

    Yeah, sure, it is. Here (with a couple of questionable sources) is [some information on Paarlberg](http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/Robert_Paarlberg). The parts of his book I’ve read are pure corporate-boosting ideology.

  3. #3 jakerman
    November 11, 2010

    There is an [interesting podcast](http://www.ecoshock.net/eshock10/ES_101008_Show.mp3) of Brand’s new views.

    Interesting to listen to this in light of Monbiot’s summation:
    >*I fear you are running the most insidious and subtle exercise in corporate propaganda I have yet encountered. As a result, no one, until now, has called you out on it.*

  4. #4 jakerman
    November 11, 2010

    Alex Smith gives a critique of Brand’s arguments (from previous podcast, at the beginning of [this mp3](http://www.archive.org/download/TopDownBottomUp/ES_101015_Show.mp3).

  5. #5 Marion Delgado
    November 11, 2010

    Yay! Seriously, this is not someone’s credibility bank account being exhausted, this is a long-standing condition.

    Cyberselfish: a critical romp through the terribly libertarian culture of High Tech remarks on Kevin Kelly’s transmission of the high-tech libertarian credo from Stewart Brand to a wider audience.

    If Stewart Brand had GRADUALLY discovered environmentalists were impractical and self-defeating, as he’s claiming, that would be one thing. But it’s a flat out lie.

    As early as the 1970s – more than 30 years ago – he published an essay in one of his magazines that said that capitalism and the free market were nature “like a forest” and socialism was controlled like “a corn field.” And therefore any environmentalist who wasn’t a free-market capitalist was already discredited, but environmentalists were clueless and dogmatic.

    He’s kept this perspective the whole time, so he should, first, acknowledge that he’s been a market fundamentalist and laissez-faire booster for most of his public career. Second, he should acknowledge he’s not an objective evaluator for the environmental soundness of non-capitalist environmentalists. This is the bare minimum for him to HAVE any credibility to lose. Therefore, it’s my take that he hasn’t got any, except with people who don’t probe too deeply into his ideological history.

    In fact, the debates he’s had lately are with other market-oriented people like Amory Lovins. He’s so radical, and so careless of facts, he’s too extreme even for them. And that’s Stewart Brand.

  6. #6 Marion Delgado
    November 11, 2010

    Hank Roberts: Obviously, Monbiot means no one of PROMINENCE has called Stewart Brand out, since hundreds of us have, in fact done so. And since the 1980s, at least. But that is an artifact of the fact that you’re assured of endless reinforcement in an ideological society of economic ideology if you’re propping up the dominant paradigm. I

    That said, there’s really no comparison between Monbiot’s performance re Phil Jones, however terrible, and Stewart Brand currently. If Monbiot’s second column on Phil Jones and CRU had been his first, and his first had never been written at all, he’d have been fine.

    It really is apples to oranges. Brand has an agenda – market fundamentalism – and he will say anything that supports that agenda. This is no different whatsoever from the Freakonomics people, or from Nathan Myrhvold.

  7. #7 David Irving (no relation)
    November 11, 2010

    I used to have a lot of respect for Stewart Brand, back in the Whole Earth Catalog days. Unfortunately, a lot of hippies turned into glibertarians, and I suspect it’s because there were always glibertarian undertones in their beliefs. (“Hey, man, markets just wanna be free, ya know.”)

  8. #8 Steve L
    November 11, 2010

    Hi Tim,
    I read Monbiot, then I clicked to read you and Quiggin in Prospect, and then I clicked to read Roger Bate’s reply. And I’ve read at the bathtub a few times and also at bug girl. Some things Bate says seem reasonable…. I’m just wondering if there’s a one stop shop somewhere for the ~100% full story, with citations and everything. I bought a nice hardcover version of Silent Spring, but a lot of the detail in the argument revolves around what governments and agencies have done, promoted, etc since then.
    In your Prospect piece, you suggested that journalism wasn’t doing its job in fact checking. Apparently the Prospect didn’t fact check either. And maybe it’s because it’s hard. And because it’s hard I’m asking for more help. Thanks,

  9. #9 Tim Lambert
    November 11, 2010

    Steve, [DDT ban myth bingo](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2005/12/ddt-ban-myth-bingo.php) covers a lot of the points.

    [This post](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/10/roger_bates_false_history.php) corrects some of the falshoods in Bate’s response.

  10. #10 Steve L
    November 12, 2010

    Tim, you are a blogger and a gentleman. Bate appears to be the worst kind of lying prostitute, spreading contagious disease. That Prospect went to him to “balance” your article, and then allowed the publication of his many falsehoods (without an effort to check them? — did they ever follow up later?) is a perfect example of how “balance” doesn’t work and the decline of journalism/fall of traditional media.

  11. #11 Keith Kloor
    November 12, 2010

    Agreed that Brand disappoints, but so does Monbiot, by overreaching at the end of his column.

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/11/12/monbiot-vs-brand-contd/

  12. #12 Tim Lambert
    November 12, 2010

    My emails to Patrick Moore

    On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 1:59 AM, Patrick Moore wrote:
    > Doug,
    > The introduction to your email implies that it is somehow beneath you to
    > respond to a reasoned and researched effort to set the record straight.
    > No one said there was a “legal” ban on DDT. There was a “de facto” ban, a
    > ban “in fact” . This is an historical reality.

    This is not true. If there was a “de facto” ban, how is it that DDT
    continued to be used?

    > I believe the more than 8,000
    > scientists, humanitarians, doctors and world leaders who signed the Kill
    > Malarial Mosquitos NOW! petition with Bishop Desmond Tutu over Greenpeace
    > revisionism any day. Why does no one in the environmental universe ever
    > recognize the existence of this petition?

    The policies advocated in that petition would kill African children by
    preventing the use of insecticide-treated nets, [a proven and effective
    means of fighting malaria](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2005/11/kmmn.php)
    Will you retract your support for these terrible policies? Or is your
    crusade against Greenpeace more important to you than the lives of
    African children?

    > It was the primary force that
    > brought about the exemption for DDT in the Stockholm Convention.

    The petition was created in 2005. The DDT exemption was negotiated in
    2000. The petition even refers to the DDT exemption in the Stockholm
    Convention. Why should we place credence in the rest of your claims
    when you can’t get something this simple correct?

    > I have provided ample evidence, including a UN media release, that the WHO
    > and USAID had a policy against using DDT for malaria and then reversed that
    > policy in ’06.

    Not true. The only evidence you have is a press release, which got its
    facts wrong. If you look at the WHO’s actual policies you find that
    the pre 2006 policy was that ITNs should be used in areas of stable
    transmission because there wasn’t the infrastructure to support IRS.
    And the new 2006 policy is that IRS should be used in areas of stable
    transmission provided that there is sufficient infrastructure. In
    practice this seems to amount to almost no difference.

    More [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/09/politically_based_medicine_at.php)

    and from a [scientific paper in Lancet Infectious Diseases](http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473309907702165/fulltext?rss=yes)
    “DDT was the main component of the WHO Global Malaria Eradication
    Program during the 1950-60s. The programme ended in 1969 following
    evidence of DDT resistance in mosquitoes and increased public concern
    about adverse health and environmental effects. From 1970 onwards,
    many countries banned the agricultural use of DDT. However, in 1971, an executive WHO board maintained that indoor spraying of DDT was still WHO policy.[2] During the following decades, the WHO Expert Committee on Malaria continued to order indoor spraying of DDT for malaria vector control, provided that the targeted mosquito species were vulnerable to the insecticide. In the 1990s, several reports linked DDT to human cancers[3] and [4] and the insecticide was found in breast milk;[5] however, WHO continued to promote DDT use.”

  13. #13 Tim Lambert
    November 12, 2010

    On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 3:28 AM, Patrick Moore wrote:

    > Didn’t you read the ’06 UNITED NATIONS media release I sent you titled
    > “Reversing its policy, UN agency promotes DDT to combat the scourge of
    > malaria”? What don’t you understand about the word “banned”? Would you be
    > happier with “eliminated”, “quit using,” “ceased to employ” or “stopped
    > spraying”?
    > Exactly which policy do you think WHO “reversed”? Could it possibly have
    > been the policy to “not use” DDT?

    No, because they had no such policy. Their 2005 FAQ on DDT stated:
    “WHO recommends indoor residual spraying of DDT for malaria vector control.”

    In 2004, WHO’s Alan Schapira wrote:

    “WHO has never given up in its efforts to ensure access to DDT where
    it is needed. At meetings of the intergovernmental negotiation
    committee on the Stockholm Convention—which seeks to control the
    spread of persistent organic pollutants—the WHO has successfully
    defended the right of countries to use DDT for disease-vector control,
    if no suitable alternative can be found.”

    The press release was in error.

    > Regarding the Prospect Magazine article you reference this was written
    > after-the-fact in ’08 and is an excellent example of the revisionism
    > practiced by the formerly anti-DDT crowd.

    As one of the authors of the article, I can tell you that you have got
    my former position wrong. My former position was “The
    environmentalists went too far on DDT, opposing its use when it was
    need to fight malaria.” I changed my mind when I investigated the
    facts and found out that I had been misled. I don’t consider myself a
    green or an environmentalist. I just don’t like being lied to.

    > All you need is to read the
    > rebuttal to this article by Roger Bate, also published in Prospect Magazine.

    I think you should also read the [rebuttal to Bates' rebuttal](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/10/roger_bates_false_history.php)

    Bate claimed:

    “By 1997, the World Health Assembly had bowed to this
    [environmentalist] pressure, passing a resolution to restrict the use
    of insecticides in public health, and the United Nations Environment
    Programme was beginning negotiations towards what would become the
    Stockholm convention to phase out global use of DDT and 11 other
    chemicals.”

    But look at what the 1997 World Health Assembly resolution actually
    said about DDT:

    “to ensure that the use of DDT is authorized by governments for public
    health purposes only, and that, in those instances, such use is
    limited to government-authorized programmes that take an integrated
    approach and that strong steps are taken to ensure that there is no
    diversion of DDT to entities in the private sector;”

    Do you think that it is accurate to for Bate to claim that this is
    bowing to environmentalist pressure for a total ban on DDT?

  14. #14 Tim Lambert
    November 12, 2010

    On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 4:01 AM, Patrick Moore wrote:
    > On 2010-11-11, at 7:58 AM, tim lambert wrote:
    > On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 1:59 AM, Patrick Moore

    >>> No one said there was a “legal” ban on DDT. There was a “de facto” ban, a
    >>> ban “in fact” . This is an historical reality.

    >> This is not true. If there was a “de facto” ban, how is it that DDT
    >> continued to be used?

    > Where did DDT “continue to be used”? Please provide documentation.

    I already did. Here it is again.
    http://www.treated-bednet.com/agro-chemical.htm

    “In the past several years, we supplied DDT 75% WDP to Madagascar,
    Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Africa, Namibia, Solomon Island, Papua
    New Guinea, Algeria, Thailand, Myanmar for Malaria Control project,
    and won a good reputation from WHO and relevant countries’
    government.”

    > The policies advocated in that petition would kill African children by
    > preventing the use of insecticide-treated nets, a proven and effective
    > means of fighting malaria.

    > That is a lie. The Declaration says no such thing.

    It most certainly does:
    “Ensure that at least 2/3 (two-thirds) of annual Congressional
    appropriations for malaria control are earmarked for insecticidal and
    medicinal commodities – with up to half of such monies targeted to the
    treatment and cure of infected patients.
    “Specifically direct such funds to the actual purchase and deployment
    of: (1) DDT, or any other proven, more cost-effective
    insecticide/repellent, for Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) in any given
    malarial locality; and (2) of ACTs, or other equally effective and
    durable drugs, for treatment of malaria patients and reduction in
    transmission rates.”

    2/3 of funds must be spent on IRS or drugs and hence cannot be used to
    purchase insecticide-treated nets. What do you have against
    insecticide-treated nets? Why don’t you want African children to be
    protected from malaria by them?

    >> The petition was created in 2005. The DDT exemption was negotiated in
    >> 2000. The petition even refers to the DDT exemption in the Stockholm
    >> Convention.

    > The revised version of the petition I referenced was written after the
    > exemption was negotiated in ’05 and after WHO and USAID reveresed their
    > policies.

    The petition was created in 2005. There were revisions in 2006 and
    2007, and these versions say “revised”. Feel free to provide evidence
    that there was a version of this petition before 2005.

    > The exemption was not negotiated in ’01. The debate went on for 5 years
    > before it was finally aredd in ’04 or ’05.

    To quote from the [Stockholm convention's website](http://chm.pops.int/Convention/tabid/54/language/en-US/Default.aspx)

    “The text of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
    was adopted 22 May 2001 and entered into force ninety days after the
    deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification, acceptance,
    approval or accession by a country to the Convention, 17 May 2004. ”

    If you go to their website at the link above, you can read the text
    that was adopted in 2001. It includes the exemption for DDT.

    Patrick, time and time again you have made claims that are not just
    false, but easily seen to be false if you check primary sources. And
    then rather admit to an error, you just repeat the claim as if mere
    repetition would make it true. I hope that all the folks copied in
    this email draw appropriate conclusions about your credibility.

  15. #15 Wow
    November 12, 2010

    Tim, Patrick is merely saying that when he says “WMO have killed millions by banning DDT” he doesn’t mean *exactly* those words. Just move them around and rearrange them and you’ll find that he’s right, just not in those words.

    Rather like Eric Morcambe’s rendition of Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The notes were right. Just not in the right order.

    So when Patrick says “WMO have killed millions by banning DDT”, just add “not” in there and his words are correct! The WMO have not killed millions by not banning DDT!

    See! Just six letters, only three of which are unique, so hardly any difference at all! COMPLETELY unlike the horrendous and devastating mistake of using “2035” rather than “2350” in “Glacier gate”. It’s like over three hundred years difference! ENORMOUS! So completely different from two nots. That’s not even three miles per hour!!!

    (did I really just write that…?)

  16. #16 Tim Lambert
    November 12, 2010

    On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 12:22 PM, Patrick Moore wrote:
    > You said that the petition would “prevent the use of insecticide-treated nets” which is not true as 1/3 of the funds would be available for that.

    No they would not, since that 1/3 has to pay for human resources,
    education, training, infrastructure and planning. I looked at the
    budget for the anti-malaria program in The Gambia being funded by the
    Global Fund and about 33% was on those things, with 25% on
    insecticide-treated nets and 40% on drugs. Your petition would not
    allow them to buy any nets.

    > Do you disagree that indoor spraying of DDT is the most cost-effective, efficacious method of preventing malaria?

    Yes. See, for example,
    [Malaria Journal 2008, 7:258](http://www.malariajournal.com/content/7/1/258)
    Costs and consequences of large-scale vector control for malaria

    The authors compared several large vector control programs to prevent
    malaria, including both insecticide-treated nets (ITN) and indoor
    residual spraying (IRS). The results:

    Method cost per child death averted
    Conventional ITNs $438-$2199
    Long-lasting ITNs $502-$692
    IRS $3933-$4357
    Even using IRS, DDT was not the most cost effective insecticide, which
    was deltamethrin. The authors conclude:

    “These findings confirm that large-scale delivery of ITNs and IRS in
    sub-Saharan Africa is feasible and highly cost-effective using a range
    of strategies. Delivery of LLINs through campaigns provides a highly
    cost-effective and achievable method for rapidly improving ITN
    coverage. However, many other options exist for ITN programming, some
    well suited to maintain coverage levels after campaigns. IRS, or a
    combination of ITNs and IRS, remain attractive and viable options in
    some settings. Given that sustainable high-level funding appears to be
    available in the long-term through new global financing mechanisms,
    every malaria endemic country should aim to upscale their vector
    control programmes as rapidly and sustainably as possible.”

  17. #17 karl
    November 12, 2010

    Tim,

    I think it may be illustrative to cite UNEP’s monograph on the “Global Status of DDT and Its Alternatives for Use in Vector Control to Prevent Disease”. This was published in EHP (here: http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.0900785 ), you can also find it on the website of the Stockholm Convention, and conveniently the relevant statistics from it are reproduced on wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoor_residual_spraying. It shows that in 2003–well before WHO’s alleged “reversal” of policy in 2006–at least 11 countries were using DDT. In 2005 there were 12, and in 2007 there were 8. And then in 2008, there were 15, according to the WHO’s world malaria report. Whatever WHO did to its DDT policy in 2006 (i.e. nothing), it doesn’t seem to have had much of an effect on DDT use.

    What has changed significantly in recent years is funding for malaria control. There’s way more money available now to fight the disease because of funding increases from USAID (via the President’s Malaria Initiative), Bill & Melinda Gates, and other large international donors. This means more money is going into DDT as well as bed nets, drugs, capacity building, etc now than ever before. So maybe there wasn’t much DDT being sprayed in Africa in the 1980s and 1990–I don’t know, I haven’t see statistics–but if true, I suspect it has a lot more to do with a general lack of funds for malaria control than a “de facto ban” on the chemical.

  18. #18 Majorajam
    November 13, 2010

    Holy public flogging batman! I’d take a Singapore-style 10 foot cane over the back a few hundred times before the trip behind the woodshed Patrick Moore just endured. Felt pangs of guilt just reading it. Ouch!!

  19. #19 Tim Lambert
    November 13, 2010

    On 2010-11-13, at 9:33 AM, George Monbiot wrote:
    > “I do not attack environmentalists, show me an example.”
    >
    > Patrick Moore, 12th November 2010.
    >
    > “you are a bunch of murdering bastards.”
    >
    > Patrick Moore, letter to GMWatch, 11th November 2010.

    On Sun, Nov 14, 2010 at 11:15 AM, Patrick Moore wrote:
    > I made an exception for murdering bastards.

    This from the man who signed that vile anti-bed net petition.

    Fortunately, WHO and USAID ignored it so you didn’t succeed in killing any African children.

  20. #20 Jeremy Poynton
    November 14, 2010

    Monbiot is a fraud. He has been issued at least two requests to debate AGW with the author of “Chill”, Peter Taylor, and has neither debated with or even responded to the author. This is classic Monbiotism.

    By the way, the man’s discipline is Geology, though his profession would seem to be self-appointed Evangelist. He is more and more discredited in the UK, indeed, seen more and more as a joke.

  21. #21 Jeremy Poynton
    November 14, 2010

    Monbiot is a fraud. He has been issued at least two requests to debate AGW with the author of “Chill”, Peter Taylor, and has neither debated with or even responded to the author. This is classic Monbiotism.

    By the way, the man’s discipline is Geology, though his profession would seem to be self-appointed Evangelist. He is more and more discredited in the UK, indeed, seen more and more as a joke.

  22. #22 Jeremy Poynton
    November 14, 2010

    Monbiot is a fraud. He has been issued at least two requests to debate AGW with the author of “Chill”, Peter Taylor, and has neither debated with or even responded to the author. This is classic Monbiotism.

    By the way, the man’s discipline is Geology, though his profession would seem to be self-appointed Evangelist. He is more and more discredited in the UK, indeed, seen more and more as a joke.

  23. #23 Jeremy Poynton
    November 14, 2010

    Monbiot is a fraud. He has been issued at least two requests to debate AGW with the author of “Chill”, Peter Taylor, and has neither debated with or even responded to the author. This is classic Monbiotism.

    By the way, the man’s discipline is Geology, though his profession would seem to be self-appointed Evangelist. He is more and more discredited in the UK, indeed, seen more and more as a joke.

  24. #24 Jeremy Poynton
    November 14, 2010

    Monbiot is a fraud. He has been issued at least two requests to debate AGW with the author of “Chill”, Peter Taylor, and has neither debated with or even responded to the author. This is classic Monbiotism.

    By the way, the man’s discipline is Geology, though his profession would seem to be self-appointed Evangelist. He is more and more discredited in the UK, indeed, seen more and more as a joke.

  25. #25 Jeremy Poynton
    November 14, 2010

    Monbiot is a fraud. He has been issued at least two requests to debate AGW with the author of “Chill”, Peter Taylor, and has neither debated with or even responded to the author. This is classic Monbiotism.

    By the way, the man’s discipline is Geology, though his profession would seem to be self-appointed Evangelist. He is more and more discredited in the UK, indeed, seen more and more as a joke.

  26. #26 Jeremy Poynton
    November 14, 2010

    Monbiot is a fraud. He has been issued at least two requests to debate AGW with the author of “Chill”, Peter Taylor, and has neither debated with or even responded to the author. This is classic Monbiotism.

    By the way, the man’s discipline is Geology, though his profession would seem to be self-appointed Evangelist. He is more and more discredited in the UK, indeed, seen more and more as a joke.

  27. #27 Jeremy Poynton
    November 14, 2010

    Monbiot is a fraud. He has been issued at least two requests to debate AGW with the author of “Chill”, Peter Taylor, and has neither debated with or even responded to the author. This is classic Monbiotism.

    By the way, the man’s discipline is Geology, though his profession would seem to be self-appointed Evangelist. He is more and more discredited in the UK, indeed, seen more and more as a joke.

  28. #28 Jeremy Poynton
    November 14, 2010

    Monbiot is a fraud. He has been issued at least two requests to debate AGW with the author of “Chill”, Peter Taylor, and has neither debated with or even responded to the author. This is classic Monbiotism.

    By the way, the man’s discipline is Geology, though his profession would seem to be self-appointed Evangelist. He is more and more discredited in the UK, indeed, seen more and more as a joke.

  29. #29 Tim Lambert
    November 14, 2010

    While Peter Taylor is something of a joke, there is no need to be mean about him Jeremy.

  30. #30 Hank Roberts
    November 14, 2010

    > recent science is supporting my assessment
    > – the sun is still spotless/oceanographic papers
    > are now supporting my 80/20 view of the percentage
    > natural/GHG drivers for ‘warming’/the latest models
    > show cooling for the next decade (and they are
    > still not modelling the whole system).
    –Peter Taylor, September 15th, 2009
    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=220#comment-27579
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/sunspot.gif

  31. #31 Chris S
    November 14, 2010

    Jeremy @#20.

    So George Monbiot is a fraud?

    At http://www.energybulletin.net/node/51375 there’s an excerpt from Peter Taylor’s autobiography “Shiva’s Rainbow”.

    “In truth, in the scientific realms in which I worked, and gained by now, some standing, I was an imposter. I am not a scientist. Apart from my brief survey of tree-hole communities when I successfully correlated insect larvae diversity with circumference and aspect of the hole to the sun, which, in any case, had been done many times before, I have never ‘done’ science. In my work I have relied certainly upon an understanding of scientific theory and a memory for facts and relationships, and upon an instinct for the hidden and not yet known, but fundamentally I have been a linguist and an actor. My scientific degrees were linguistic exercises in critical review. My performances on television, in public inquiries, on tribunals and commissions, those of an extremely well-briefed lawyer, the ultimate actor. Which is not to say there is no dedication to truth.”

    Maybe there’s someone out there who has this book and can confirm this?

    Apologies for straying off topic.

  32. #32 guthrie
    November 14, 2010

    Jeremy Poynton #20 – do you mean Monbiot or Taylor? Last I read, Monbiot’s degree was in zoology, something even Tim Worstall thinks is the case.
    Also, Monbiot has suffered not a bit and is not discredited in any way. Compared to other journalists and bloggers, he has admitted he is wrong on various things over the years.
    Also what is so wonderful about this book chill? Does it have any evidence for anything?

  33. #33 Tim Lambert
    November 14, 2010

    Peter Taylor has the rare distinction of managing to be [more wrong than Monckton](http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/debates/copenhagen_article/8979/):
    >That period of 25 years, from around 1980 to 2005, coincided with changes in the ocean and cloud cover – that is, there was less cloud and more sunlight getting through to the ocean. And this can be seen in the satellite data on the kind of energy that’s coming through (short-wave energy, which is the only energy that heats water – infra-red energy coming from CO2 cannot heat water). So when you look at the real-world data, the warming of that entire period seems to be due to additional sunlight reaching the oceans.

    Yes, it’s the same incorrect interpretation of Pinker, with the added claim that “infra-red energy coming from CO2 cannot heat water”

  34. #34 Marion Delgado
    November 14, 2010

    Bates and Moore are both off the map – proven, paid liars. Like Marc Morano, they should be pointed out as what they are first and foremost. And yes, any media outlet that uses them should be shamed.

    Also, frankly, only one of two things can be true:

    EITHER:

    Darwinian evolution via mostly random mutation and natural selection works

    OR:

    Bates and Moore are correct.

    Because their position is anti-evolution from beginning to end. That flaw, coupled with their straight-up lying which equates using DDT for crops to fighting malaria means we’re entirely on the crazy train at this point.

    Without money and power behind them, they’d have no more prominence than Brainbeau or the Time Cube guy.

  35. #35 Wow
    November 15, 2010

    > Also, Monbiot has suffered not a bit and is not discredited in any way.

    Except that he still hasn’t apologised for condemning the CRU without reading the evidence.

    > Compared to other journalists and bloggers, he has admitted he is wrong on various things over the years.

    Except that he still hasn’t acknowledged his part in the witch hunt that was called climategate.

  36. #36 guthrie
    November 15, 2010

    He managed a form of apology over CRU. I’m sure it wasn’t the rending his clothes and saying he’d never write anything on the topic again without consulting you that you would prefer him to have written, as well as apologising for accepting the claims of what he aught to have known were liars, but he managed to backpedal from his original claims a bit.
    If you’re looking for perfection you are never going to get it.

  37. #37 Wow
    November 15, 2010

    > He managed a form of apology over CRU

    “A form of apology”? That’s not an apology, then, is it.

    He’s said that there was nothing wrong with the “climategate” but he didn’t actually apologise for HIS actions within it.

    > If you’re looking for perfection you are never going to get it.

    I’m looking for an apology, not perfection.

    But you’re probably right: I’m not going to get that apology.

  38. #38 Tim Lambert
    November 15, 2010

    Patrick Moore has been calling for help from Roger Bate and Paul Driessen.

    On Sun, Nov 14, 2010 at 3:59 PM, Patrick Moore wrote:
    > Are you a bed net salesman or what? Everyone knows that people don’t go to bed when the mosquitos are most active, at dinner time, when the sun goes down, when children are not under bed nets. What do you want, people to live under bed nets all day?

    It is telling that you can’t conceive that someone could present their
    honest opinion without being paid to do so. I have no financial
    interests in the matter. You, on the other hand, seem to make your
    living by bashing environmentalists.

    Your use of the phrase “Everyone knows” is a give away. You are using
    it to try to hard the fact that you have no scientific evidence for
    your claim that bed nets are ineffective. I think that the fight
    against malaria should be based on scientific evidence. Here again,
    is just one of the scientific papers comparing bed nets and indoor
    residual spraying:

    Malaria Journal 2008, 7:258 Costs and consequences of large-scale
    vector control for malaria
    The authors compared several large vector control programs to prevent
    malaria, including both insecticide-treated nets (ITN) and indoor
    residual spraying (IRS). The results:

    Method cost per child death averted
    Conventional ITNs $438-$2199
    Long-lasting ITNs $502-$692
    IRS $3933-$4357

    Even using IRS, DDT was not the most cost effective insecticide, which
    was deltamethrin. The authors conclude:
    “These findings confirm that large-scale delivery of ITNs and IRS in
    sub-Saharan Africa is feasible and highly cost-effective using a range
    of strategies. Delivery of LLINs through campaigns provides a highly
    cost-effective and achievable method for rapidly improving ITN
    coverage. However, many other options exist for ITN programming, some
    well suited to maintain coverage levels after campaigns. IRS, or a
    combination of ITNs and IRS, remain attractive and viable options in
    some settings. Given that sustainable high-level funding appears to be
    available in the long-term through new global financing mechanisms,
    every malaria endemic country should aim to upscale their vector
    control programmes as rapidly and sustainably as possible.”

    > And everyone knows that indoor spraying of DDT is 90% effective whereas bed nets are not very effective because when the mosquitos are most active no one is under a bed net.

    Oh look you used “everybody knows” again, so we can tell that you
    don’t have any scientific evidence for your claim. The scientific
    evidence demonstrates that bed nets are effective (see above).

    > Surely you know this. I understand that you are a computer programmer from Australia. And you are obviously not a friend of Bishop Desmond Tutu and his allies who are actually involved in the humanitarian effort to save lives in the most effective way.
    > What exactly is your expertise on this subject?

    What’s Bishop Tutu’s? Bishop Tutu is a fine fellow, but his
    background is in theology, not science. And yet he is the prime
    authority you give for your position. I don’t claim to be an
    authority — that’s why I support everything I write with reference to
    scientific sources. Oh, and I’m not a computer programmer — your
    research skills aren’t good enough to figure what my job is.

    > To call Bishop Tutu’s Declaration an “anti-bed net petition” is downright disrespectful of the 1000s of scientists, doctors, humanitarians, and world leaders who signed it because they know the issue.

    Firstly, it’s not Bishop Tutu’s declaration — he did not write it,
    but merely signed it.
    I doubt that Tutu and the others realized that the petition would have
    prevented the funding of bed nets, so I don’t think that they are
    accountable. You, on the other hand, are accountable, so it seems that
    the term “murderous bastard” applies to you.

    > USAID and WHO changed their policies on DDT largely because of Bishop Tutu’s Declaration to Kill Malarial Mosquitos NOW! and you know it.

    You seem to have a habit of saying stuff that is no only false, but
    easily seen to be false
    Look at [USAID's Malaria Operational Plans for Fiscal Year 2010](http://www.fightingmalaria.gov/countries/mops/fy10/index.html)

    Picking Angola, the first country listed as an example, we see that
    USAID is spending $12 million on bed nets (one third of the budget),
    something your petition would forbid. It is fortunate that USAID
    bases its policies on scientific evidence, rather than your petition.
    As for DDT, they are not using it at all in Angola. They are using
    it in other places, but they were doing that before the petition as
    well.

    > Get lost.

    I take it from your cries of “help!” to Paul Driessen and Roger Bate
    that you have realized that the argument is not going well for you.

  39. #39 Steve L
    November 15, 2010

    Patrick Moore sure does come off as an obtuse jerk. Yes, “it’s Tim Lambert versus Desmond Tutu.” Appeal to authority (sort of) rather than facts. Well, Bill Gates thinks bednets are better! So whose petition is it? I wouldn’t be surprised to hear next that some pharmaceutical drafted it, or maybe Roger Bate.

  40. #40 frankis
    November 15, 2010

    And so Patrick Moore proves himself not the sharpest tool in the box, but definitely a tool.

  41. #41 Bernard J.
    November 15, 2010

    To my chagrin, I can’t find the link to Tim’s correspondence with Moore.

    Would someone please put me out of my misery?

  42. #42 jakerman
    November 15, 2010

    Moore reveals himself as one of those critics who revels in leveling outrageous allegations, but lacks the motiveation to substantiate his claims before hand.

    Moore is an ongoing example of the double standard of corporatist spin merchants. Moore’s goal is exposed as wanting to slig mud at Greens rather than get the best outcomes for people and our environment.

    Well exposed Tim, well done.

  43. #43 Tim Lambert
    November 15, 2010

    Bernard J, I’ve been posting it to this thread

  44. #44 Bernard J.
    November 16, 2010

    So, just to be clear, this is an email exchange between you and Moore (and Monbiot?)?! And Moore is coming up with those ridiculous statements?

    Surely not… No-one is that clueless!

    Anyway, it casts a whole new level of illumination on Moore and some of his notions.

    I wonder how soon Michael Duffy will have him on Counterpoint again to bluster about DDT, and AGW, and…

  45. #45 Tim Lambert
    November 16, 2010

    I sent Brand a copy of my first post. He replied with an email CC’d to Monbiot and several other people who I assume had also tried to get him to correct his error. He also CC’d Moore who then took up the cudgels to defend Brand’s position. I’ve just been posting the emails I’ve sent to all the people on the CC list. Moore has been adding people to the CC, looking for support from Roger Bate and Paul Driessen.

  46. #46 Tim Lambert
    November 16, 2010

    Keith Kloor [calls Monbiot a "thug"](http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/11/15/monbiot-the-gentleman-thug/) for trying to get Brand to make a correction and dismisses the whole vexing question of whether environmentalists killed 20 million children or not as a “semantic molehill”.

  47. #47 Wow
    November 16, 2010

    Maybe when they complain that greenies have done bad things, we can call that a “semantic molehill” too…

  48. #48 Bernard J.
    November 16, 2010

    Ah, so that’s how it progressed. Thanks for the clarification Tim.

    If it is actually possible, I am now even more astonished at Brand and Moore’s stances on the matter, in light of this. Trying to comprehend the cognitive dissonance that must be percolating through their subconscious processes makes my own mind twist into a pretzel of disbelief.

  49. #49 Keith Kloor
    November 16, 2010

    Tim,

    I actually called Monbiot a gentleman thug, since he goes about the mugging so politely. But hey, that would be nitpicking.

    As anyone who reads my two related posts on this can see for himself, I clearly think that Brand is wrong about his DDT claim and is being stubborn for not owning up to it.

    Where I think Monbiot goes off the rails is when he employs ad hominems to discredit Brand’s character. It’s really obvious and it’s too bad because I think Monbiot forfeited the high ground with the thrust of his second column on Brand.

  50. #50 Wow
    November 16, 2010

    > Where I think Monbiot goes off the rails is when he employs ad hominems

    Self-awareness fail of Homeric proportion, there, keef.

    Unless you’re going to turn round and proclaim that, yes, you have frequently gone off the rails.

  51. #51 Keith Kloor
    November 16, 2010

    So I got it wrong there, wowzie? Can you explain where I go off the rails? Am I wrong that Monbiot has grossly overreached with his depiction of Brand as a corporate pawn? Have I used ad homs?

    Please enlighten me.

    I’ve been waiting for Tim to do so, but so far all he’s doing is seizing on a comment I made in the comment thread of my main post. Anyone on this thread is welcome to set me straight.

  52. #52 Wow
    November 16, 2010

    Where you called Monbiot a thug, keef.

    If it wasn’t meant as an ad-hom, why did you say it at all?

    Either you’re unaware or your brain is broke.

  53. #53 Keith Kloor
    November 16, 2010

    Okay wow, first things first: is that all you’re taking exception to? Does this mean you agree with my contention: that Monbiot is guilty of ad homs and overreaching?

    Secondly, I’m not calling Monbiot a thug in all aspects of his professional career. It should be clear that I’m describing his behavior as thuggish (but remember, ever so polite) with respect to Brand, and at that, I’m using colorful language, because, well, when you try to smear somebody’s character with ad homs, well, that strikes me as the literary/journalistic equivalent of a mugging.

  54. #54 Wow
    November 16, 2010

    > is that all you’re taking exception to?

    One could ask you the same question, keef.

    Where IS the beef? Why is it when YOU are running ad-homs it’s “is that all” but when Monbiot does it, it’s all “off the rails”.

    Two standards.

    One for you, one for everyone you don’t like.

    How hypocritical of you, but what would be expected, hmm?

    > Secondly, I’m not calling Monbiot a thug in all aspects…

    That isn’t a requirement for ad hominem attacks, keef.

    Seems like your brain IS broken.

    That wasn’t porridge you had for brekkie this morning…

  55. #55 Keith Kloor
    November 16, 2010

    Additionally, Tim Lambert in comment 38 conflates two separate quotes to make it sound like I’m shrugging off the “whole vexing question of whether environmentalists killed 20 million children.”

    That was not Brand saying that, but him supposedly quoting quoting Robert Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health in a 2007 National Geographic article: ‘The ban on DDT may have killed 20m children.’

    I’m not disputing that this is wrong. Nor am I disputing that Brand is wrong to cling to his semantic explanation for getting this wrong. What I’m saying is that Monbiot has blown up this molehill (Brand being stubborn) into a mountain to advance ad hominim-laden argument against Brand: that all his actions and positions are merely to advance corporate interests.

  56. #56 Keith Kloor
    November 16, 2010

    Wow,

    I can see you’re still skirting the assertions made in my argument and would prefer to engage in childish, histrionic games.

    No sense wasting my time with those antics. Meanwhile, I’ll try and repair my broken brain.

  57. #57 Marco
    November 16, 2010

    Wow, take some cool-aid, mate! You’ve been mightily easily upset these days.

    Keith points to a valid issue: Monbiot made an unnecessary (and largely unproven) claim that Brand is defending vested interest, and implied (at least to some readers) that *that* is the reason Brand’s argumentation should be dismissed. This is an ad hominem, and a very unnecessary one, as Brand already was talking himself into a corner.

    Calling Monbiot’s actions “thuggish” may not be nice, but it’s more of a qualification of his actions than a dismissal of his argumentation. Now, if Keith would have argued that Monbiot’s argumentation should be dismissed because he is a thug, it WOULD be an ad hominem. But he didn’t.

  58. #58 Wow
    November 16, 2010

    > I can see you’re still skirting the assertions made in my argument

    Uh, your argument has been “Monbiot is off the rails when he ad-homs” while busy ignoring you ad-homing.

    Actually, not so much “argument” as “ignorant” as in “ignore what I say, listen to what I say!”.

    > Calling Monbiot’s actions “thuggish” may not be nice

    I’ve not weighed in on nice or not. I’ve weighed in on it’s an ad hom and this doesn’t gel with keef’s complaint that Monbiot is “off the rails” when he does it, but keef, when he does it is all “so what?”.

    Seriously, Marco, you need to get your brain cells lined up before adding your 2c (less 2c cover charge) in.

  59. #59 Vince Whirlwind
    November 16, 2010

    But Keith, Mnobiot’s point is very clear and simple: Brand presented an anti-environmentalist polemic and stated that he wished environmentalists would admit it when they got things wrong.

    Brand was wrong in his polemic and he has not admitted it yet.

    This is hypocrisy that is worth pursuing.

  60. #60 Keith Kloor
    November 16, 2010

    Vince,

    I have no problem with Monbiot pursuing that hypocrisy, and indeed, as Marco (49) points out, Brand was “talking himself into a corner” as a result of that pursuit.

    My argument is that Monbiot went well beyond this in an attempt to go for the knockout (to use the metaphor in my post). But in employing the ad homs, Monbiot swung wildly and missed. That’s all I’m saying. Not sure why others besides Marco don’t see this, for it’s as clear as day. And I say this as someone who generally admires Monbiot. That’s why I said in my first comment on this thread (11) that both Brand and Monbiot disappoint.

  61. #61 Hank Roberts
    November 16, 2010

    Meanwhile, DDT keeps coming back:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/16/science/16condors.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=science

    “… other birds in the region that feed higher on the food chain, like bald eagles, continue to suffer from DDT-induced eggshell thinning.”

  62. #62 Tim Lambert
    November 16, 2010

    KK:
    >all he’s doing is seizing on a comment I made in the comment thread of my main post

    You call him a “thug” in the title of the post. Putting “gentleman” in front of it doesn’t soften the ad hominem and hence by your logic you have lost the moral high ground.

    And why aren’t journalists allowed to ask questions about whether someone is being to advance corporate interests? Such people do exist (eg Patrick Moore, Roger Bate), so it seems that this should be subject to journalistic enquiry.

    While you have said that Brand was wrong, by calling it a “semantic molehill” you have greatly downplayed the significance of his error. Firstly, because the error was not semantic – Brand didn’t just use the wrong word because the restrictions on the agricultural use of malaria have probably prevented malaria deaths. Secondly, it’s not a trivial issue. The matter of 20 million dead children (and they are really dead – the question is who is to blame) is not trivial. And it’s not just about history. The notion that Brand promotes, that all you have to do to deal with malaria is spray DDT is hindering the fight against malaria, by creating opposition to the use of more effective measures.

  63. #63 Keith Kloor
    November 16, 2010

    Tim,

    I suggest you reread Marco’s comment (49). You’re a pretty smart guy, so you should understand what a true ad hom is.

    Until then, you’re in wow-land.

  64. #64 jakerman
    November 16, 2010

    Keith, I suggest you read the second and third paragraphs of Tim’s post, your also a smart guy and will recongise the substance of this critique.

  65. #65 Keith Kloor
    November 16, 2010

    Jakerman,

    I’m simply astounded that people can’t call a spade a spade here. Is it some sort of Monbiot worship?

    I’m not making my argument by calling Monbiot a thug. Read my post and tell me if I’m arguing via ad hom.

    Furthermore, I never said that journalists shouldn’t be allowed to inquire about someone’s motives. (Tim is putting words in my mouth. Again, read my post.) Anyway,if Monbiot had done that–simply inquiring– maybe I wouldn’t be calling him out on this. But he goes way beyond that–which should be clear from his own column.

  66. #66 jakerman
    November 16, 2010

    Keith re read my post, I didn’t refer to any “thug” I refered to (par 2 and 3 of post #54).

    Monbiot raises concerns about both Brand’s actions re his DDT claims, and his links with corporatist (valid questions arise even if the answers can’t not be yet determined).

    Brand’s subsequent calls help by Bates and Moore add further qeustions around the concerns that Monbiot wishes readers to consider.

    I linked to [other's critiqung](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/11/stewart_brand_disappoints.php#comment-2919566) Brand’s Brand of claims.

    Brand’s links to big money, and now their apologists (Moore Bates etc) and Brand’s behaviour re his DDT claims are relevent issues that readers should consider when weighing further claims by Brand.

    Keith please address Tim’s critique of your downplaying the significance of Brand’s error in parr 3 of #54 .

  67. #67 jakerman
    November 16, 2010

    Marco writes:

    >*[Monbiot] implied (at least to some readers) that that is the reason Brand’s argumentation should be dismissed. This is an ad hominem.*

    That would be ad hom, but that is not what Monbiot did. He did the opposite, Monbiot argued with persistant reference to facts and evidnece why Brand was wrong, then after showing Brand was wrong Monbiot[at the end](http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2010/nov/10/ddt-monbiot-stewart-brand) drew attention to the relevnet pattern of Brand’s link to the Corporations his busness represents.

  68. #68 Tim Lambert
    November 16, 2010

    KK:
    >I’m not making my argument by calling Monbiot a thug.

    Yes. And Monbiot wasn’t making his argument by questioning whether Brand was doing it for the money.

    >Anyway,if Monbiot had done that–simply inquiring– maybe I wouldn’t be calling him out on this

    That is what he did.

  69. #69 Vince Whirlwind
    November 16, 2010

    I think it might be helpful to refresh our memories of the sequence of events.

    4 Nov.: Channel 4 prepares to broadcast a Brand-inspired polemic against environmentalists. In it some specific assertions provided by Brand are demonstrably wrong and are therefore cut at the last minute, although the general thrust of the programme remains in line with those assertions. The programme also broadcasts Brand stating:”I would like to see an environmental movement that’s comfortable noticing when it’s wrong and announcing when it’s wrong.”

    5 Nov.: Monbiot calls on Brand to swallow his own medicine.

    10 Nov.: Monbiot writes 1,460 words explaining how wrong Brand is, and how Brand has had ample time to admit he is wrong. Monbiot follows this with 378 more words of speculative questions as to Brand’s motivations.

    Now, surely Keith and Marco can understand that Brand’s well-publicised and demonstratedly false disinformation is a massive concern to those of us who have seen disinformation used to halt or negate good public policy.
    By contrast, the rightness – or not – of Monbiot’s questions as to Brand’s motivation is clearly far less important to anyone other than those trying to sweep the first problem under the carpet.

  70. #70 jakerman
    November 16, 2010
  71. #71 Keith Kloor
    November 16, 2010

    jackerman,

    Monbiot in his column builds his whole argument around Brand’s stubborn refusal to admit that he falsely claimed that there was a worldwide ban on DDT. (look at the title and subtitle of the column.) Brand is being pigheaded here. No dispute there. Evidently, Brand calls on Patrick Moore for assistance, which is stupid. These two offenses, combined with a selective list of Brand’s corporate clients,somehow leads Monbiot to say this:

    “Like Moore, you attack the environment movement in ways that suit corporate interests: calling us, in effect, to drop our campaigns for regulation and democratic control in favour of techno-fixes.”

    Did you see evidence of that in Monbiot’s column? If so, please point out where Brand has “in effect,” (weasel words by Monbiot) called on environmentalists to drop their campaigns for regulation and democratic control…”

    Monbiot is just getting warmed up, though:

    “You seem to be seeking to shape the environmental debate to suit the businesses you work for. Our correspondence does nothing to dispel this impression. Can you disabuse me of my suspicions?”

    So the accusation is made (again without evidence) that Brand is “seeking to shape the environmental debate to suit” his corporate clients. This evidence-free impression is then somehow reinforced by Monbiot’s exchanges with Brand.

    The mugging is completed with this:
    “I fear you are running the most insidious and subtle exercise in corporate propaganda I have yet encountered.”

    I’d say fear has fired up Monbiot’s imagination in this case.

  72. #72 Keith Kloor
    November 16, 2010

    Tim writes (60):
    “And Monbiot wasn’t making his argument by questioning whether Brand was doing it for the money.”

    Huh? That’s absolutely what Monbiot was doing. Are we reading the same column?

    Are you serious?

  73. #73 Vince Whirlwind
    November 16, 2010

    It could be wrong, Keith, but it is a fair attempt at a partial analysis, when you consider the background material.

    Interesting that you think the somewhat reasonable personal criticism aimed at Brand is more sensational than Brand’s unreasonable corporate disinformation aimed at the public.

  74. #74 Vince Whirlwind
    November 16, 2010

    Keith #64 – yes, *we’ve* all read it and Monbiot’s argument as to Brand’s wrongness rests in no way whatsoever on Monbiot’s subsequent speculation as to Brand’s motivations.

    I’m actually quite confused by your interpretation of events. I’m having weird deja-vu feelings from reading your last post. How can people just forge ahead with publicly stating that black=white?

    I don’t get it. You don’t imagine you’ll get away with it, do you?

  75. #75 jakerman
    November 16, 2010

    Keith, we agree that Monbiot build his case round Brand’s DDT claims. It think we agree this was the central issue.

    As vince point out you are focusing on a small fraction and as Tim points out you are minimising the central issue. If I am wrong please address par 3 @54.

    You ask if I see evidence in Monbiot’s coloum for the claim:

    >*”Like Moore, you attack the environment movement in ways that suit corporate interests: calling us, in effect, to drop our campaigns for regulation and democratic control in favour of techno-fixes.”

    Not from mememory, but I don’t disagree with much of it. Monbiot may have background knowledge that support this outburst. I know that an anti-green movement is attacking greens, attacking regulation and making simialar false claims as Brand’s. Its clear that the political effect (if not the goal of all) is to resist a democractic movement which would harm the percieved interest of a small but powerful corporate elite.

    Brand has corporate client’s that he claims to have little or no knowledge of. That surprises me. I become more cynical in the context of Brand’s behavour re DDT, More and Bates.

    I support Monbiot proding Brand and asking him about the corporation’s for whom he is providing service.

    Trying to discredit the green movement is consistent with some of the patterns practiced by groups funded by Exxon (one of Brand’s clients). So I agree with Monbiot requsts to Brand:

    >*”You seem to be seeking to shape the environmental debate to suit the businesses you work for. Our correspondence does nothing to dispel this impression. Can you disabuse me of my suspicions”*

  76. #76 Keith Kloor
    November 16, 2010

    Well, we’re going around in circles here. I guess no evidence required to pronounce someone a corporate pawn.

    It’s getting late here on the east coast in U.S. So I’ll check back in the morning to see what other interesting defenses of Monbiot have been made.

  77. #77 Majorajam
    November 16, 2010

    I’d agree with Keith that the accusation is made, but I’d call it tentative and moderately justified. Tepid in that Monibot leaves the door open for a much more well supported explanation for Brand’s actions- that he has become quite close to the people whose agenda’s and interests the book supports. Moderately justified in that Brand promised to name his sources- he has withheld them- promised honest discourse- and gave mendacity. That is pretty dishonorable behavior and, frankly, suspicious.

  78. #78 jakerman
    November 16, 2010

    >*I guess no evidence required to pronounce someone a corporate pawn.*

    I see that Keith has resorted to infering that asking to be disabused of a notion for which evidence mounts is the same as “pronoucing some a corporate pawn” without evidence.

    Keith I see you once again did not address par 3 of @54.

  79. #79 Tim Lambert
    November 17, 2010

    KK:
    >I guess no evidence required to pronounce someone a corporate pawn.

    There you go again. Monbiot did not pronounce him a corporate pawn and he did have evidence.

    You are not doing yourself any favours with this sort of rhetorical overreach.

  80. #80 Martin Vermeer
    November 17, 2010

    Keith doesn’t want to see the elephant in the room: the existence of a generously corporate funded science denial ecosystem. Perhaps Brand isn’t on the take; but he sure is playing their game. That makes ‘tobacco science’ part of the context, part of the story. Excellent journalists paint the full picture, tell the whole story. Mediocre journalists back off fearing the appearance of ad hominem.

    BTW I don’t take Monbiot seriously any more after his Phil Jones disaster, but, hey, …

  81. #81 Marco
    November 17, 2010

    If people think I’m defending Brand here, they would be wrong. Fact remains that Monbiot throws suspicions at Brand, and uses it as a way to discredit any arguments Brand may have. Keith does not do the same with Monbiot.

    However valid Monbiot’s argument may sometimes be (yes, Martin, there IS a corporated-funded deniomachine), it is stupid to use it as an argument, unless you have direct evidence that the person in question is saying what he does because he gets paid by the industry. Or when that person says “why should I defend the industry?”…”because you get paid by the industry”. But let’s remember there are also a large number of people that have been fooled by that deniomachine, sometimes willingly, and yet others that independently come to similar, but still wrong conclusions. Self-confirmatory bias is not uncommon.

  82. #82 jakerman
    November 17, 2010

    >*[Monbiot] uses it as a way to discredit any arguments Brand may have.*

    I’ve pointed out that Monbiot first discredits Brand’s argument with persistent attention to facts, and only aftern that goes further and asks about Brand’s corporate links. Like Monbiot I recognize a suspicious pattern and think Monbiot is correct to ask about Brand’s sponsor in relation to his activities.

  83. #83 Wow
    November 17, 2010

    Indded, jakerman. So far as I can tell (and I’m no fan of Monbiot), the argument goes something like this:

    Brand’s arguments are wrong.

    Here’s why and where.

    He’s also involved in this and that.

    And this may be why he’s lying.

    But denialidiots wail and moan “ad hom! ad hom!” like some sort of mind-controlled zombie. Why? Because they hope to shut down all discussion by casting their opponent as bad, evil and overall very, very naughty. Because they have nothing to argue, so the only way to win is to shut down all discussion.

  84. #84 Wow
    November 17, 2010

    keef, #64, are you really that stupid?

    An ad hom is saying

    > you’re a paid shill, so we shouldn’t listen to you

    it is NOT an ad hom to say

    > what you’re saying is wrong and you’re a paid shill

    But you continue to proclaim “Im-ho-tep”, uh, sorry, “ad homin em” to shut down discussion because you have failed in astupendous way to find any cogent or rational response (never mind argument or counterpoint).

  85. #85 Wow
    November 17, 2010

    > Fact remains that Monbiot throws suspicions at Brand,

    Fact is, that isn’t a fact.

    Unless stating that he DOES have commercial customers is throwing a suspicion.

    Or maybe it’s asking a question that is now throwing suspicions.

    I wonder how your wife manages when you throw suspicions about her not having done the cooking when you say “Have you done dinner?”…

  86. #86 jakerman
    November 17, 2010

    >*Fact remains that Monbiot throws suspicions at Brand*

    While holding Marco’s many valued contributions in great respect, I still disagree with the emphasis taken in this case.

    Monbiot raised his suspicions only after defeating Brand’s claims by factual agrument. And for mine Monbiot’s suspicions were answered in a less than satisfactory manner. by Brand. I think it still a relevant question, who are Brand’s corporate clients?

    Brand is using a dubious yet familiar argument, and unedifyingly won’t retract his demonstrably false claims, and suspiciously calls for aid from Moore, Bates etc. I found highly surprising when Brand claimed he didn’t know the identity of his clients.

    It seem appropriate for Monbiot to ask Brand to disabuse him of the notions to which these patterns might point.

    Keith doesn’t raise his suspicions in the same way, he just labels Monbiot a thug for having the temerity to raise these suspicions.

  87. #87 jakerman
    November 17, 2010

    I was just reminded that [Keith's](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/11/stewart_brand_disappoints.php#comment-2931532) choice of ignoring substance of the critique in paragraph 3 of [@54](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/11/stewart_brand_disappoints.php#comment-2931413) is part of [a pattern](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/08/arthur_smith_on_kloors_pattern.php):

    >*Kloor’s response in comments completes the case — he takes offence at the very first sentence and uses that as pretext for avoiding the criticism.*

  88. #88 Majorajam
    November 17, 2010

    Plotting the spectrum of opinions on Monibot’s recent accusations of Brand’s intents and motivations one finds:

    < ------------------------------------------------------->
    Kloor, Marco, Majorajam, Lambert, Wow

    Note that I’m in the middle, therefore it follows that I am the least biased, most credible and otherwise in the best position to assess the truth of the matter. Be forewarned that protests at this trite and fallacious rhetorical device will be construed as persecution which will only confirm my vain and self-serving belief in the nobility of this passive-aggressive concern-trolling modus operandi. Thank you. /Self-Aggrandizing Scheme Pioneered by Lomborg, Crook, Pielke and company

  89. #89 Keith Kloor
    November 17, 2010

    I feel like I’m in bizzaro world here. The denial some of you exhibit, including Lambert, is pretty impressive.

    Then, in Monbiot fashion, Jackerman links to a drive-by echo chamber post by Lambert, which links to a completely false charge made against me by Arthur Smith. I extensively rebutted that and included the link to my rebuttal in the comment thread of that Lambert drive-by post (which I put at Arthur’s site). It was so obvious he was wrong that he never bothered to challenge it. Neither did Tim. He was simply content to link to Arthur’s post and slap on a slanderous headline.

    Jackerman, with this display of behavior, aping Tim’s tactics, I find it worthless to continue engaging with you. The person who goes by “Wow,” of course, is in a league of his own.

    But it’s been an eye-opening experience for me, so much so that I’ll do another post focusing on the conversation in this thread. If the Monbiot defenders want to come over and constructively engage, by all means do so. Just know that I moderate for tone and nastiness.

    If you want to continue to reflexively circle wagons around Monbiot and hurl insults, then by all means stay in Tim’s cocoon.

  90. #90 Wow
    November 17, 2010

    > Note that I’m in the middle,

    Odd how that always happens, isn’t it!

    :-)

  91. #91 Majorajam
    November 17, 2010

    At the risk of absorbing more of the concern trolling persona that I just mocked, I think everyone would be better off climbing down here. For your part Keith, I’d be interested to hear what is it that Monibot has done that makes you so incensed.

    This is not a smear campaign conducted in the shadows by anonymous rumor spreading groups or the like. Monibot has made an accusation for which he doesn’t have what one would call an orgy of evidence. He doesn’t have what it would take to convict. He mightn’t even have what it would take to indict. But he does have probable cause.

    And Monibot has made that accusation in the light of day, to Brand’s face in a very public and open manner. He has published in full on his website Brand’s replies, including where Brand objected strongly to his initial insinuation of corporate sponsorship (btw, you mightn’t have noticed, but Brand’s denial there was a non-denial. Does that interest you?). And he has solicited still further opportunity for Brand to disclose the facts and clear his name.

    Contrast this with what Brand has done in his book. His slander of environmentalists was a million times worse, and a great deal more destructive for their credibility in the public. Where were his sources? He hasn’t revealed them. If you are to be outraged, it seems difficult for me to understand why Monibot is the person on whom this outrage should fall.

    Rather, you seem to see their exchange as an anodyne blog flame war. It is not. It is an exchange over an extraordinarily serious topic, and one in which Brand has done significant damage. People who do these kinds of things don’t get a shrug and a smile. There has to be accountability and I praise Monibot for striving for that.

  92. #92 Wow
    November 17, 2010

    Keef, isn’t what you’re doing “circling the wagons”?

    Watch out for that projection, keef. You don’t want to spill the beans on yourself like this in public!

  93. #93 Bernard J.
    November 17, 2010

    Keith Kloor.

    Whilst you are posting about the excessive negative response that you perceive is being directed at alleged aspects of Brand’s ‘motivations’, are you also going to post about the enormous corpus of negative denialist claims of global scientific conspiracy, of global scientific fraud, and of global scientific incompetence?

    Are you also going to post about the excessive negativity that has now been [indisputably demonstrated](http://deepclimate.org/2010/11/16/replication-and-due-diligence-wegman-style/) in both M&M’s and Wegner’s et al scholastically-poor works?

    Are you going to post about Malcom Robert’s excessive negativity about [Ove Hoegh-Gulberg](http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/15/formal-complaints-against-professor-ove-hoegh-guldberg/) which, by almost anyone’s rational analysis, would constitute the blatherings of what is not so much a “corporate pawn”, as a corporate bishop?

    Are you… ah, fuck it…

    Let’s start with the above questions first, shall we?

    [Tim Lambert: feel free to moderate me for tone and nastiness...]

  94. #94 Keith Kloor
    November 17, 2010

    Majorjam (83):

    1) I am not incensed. I don’t see how you can read that into my comments or posts. I’m pretty perplexed and amazed, but definitely not incensed.

    2) I live in a big city and sometimes muggings happen in the light of day.

    3) Monbiot doesn’t even have “probable cause.” It’s a huge stretch on his part.

    4) I haven’t read this book by Brand. Have you? Is he slandering environmentalists elsewhere, or is this the sole crime (which has led Monbiot to accuse Brand of other unsubstantiated crimes)?

    All I am asking for is this: where is the evidence that Brand is a phony green, doing the bidding of corporations? That’s the charge by Monbiot. It’s not an inquiry, which Lambert inexplicably contends. It’s an accusation that is obvious for all to see. Where is the evidence?

  95. #95 Tim Lambert
    November 17, 2010

    KK:
    >drive-by echo chamber post by Lambert … circle wagons around Monbiot and hurl insults, then by all means stay in Tim’s cocoon.

    So in concentric rings from outside to inside we have wagons, and then a cocoon and then an echo chamber. And the whole thing can be driven around. My blog is awesome.

    I didn’t respond at length to your reply to Arthur Smith, because it was obvious that you were wrong.

    KK:
    >Just know that I moderate for tone and nastiness.

    So if you comment at KK’s, don’t call anyone a “thug”.

  96. #96 Marco
    November 17, 2010

    Janet, you said “Monbiot raised his suspicions only after defeating Brand’s claims by factual agrument.”

    The fact is, there was no reason to raise the suspicions. If you have already defeated the claims, coming with suspicions *weakens* the argument. I would not be surprised if Monbiot pissed several people off, who actually had accepted his initial factual argumentation. These people work for companies or with companies, and don’t like the suggestion that Brand is lying because he collaborates with industry, as they feel they are also being accused.

    Just my 2 cents, wow can throw it back where he found it.

  97. #97 Tim Lambert
    November 17, 2010

    My latest reply to Patrick Moore

    On Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 12:34 PM, Patrick Moore wrote:
    > I have never attacked Rachel Carson, even though she was wildly incorrect on a number of points.
    >
    > Here is what I say about Rachel Carson in my upcoming book “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout – The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist”:

    > If you search the Internet for “Rachel Carson, malaria,” you will find hundreds of recent websites accusing her of genocide and mass murder and comparing her to Hitler and Stalin. I’m thankful she is not alive to see this undeservedly harsh backlash. I hope her descendants and friends have thick skins.”

    Spare us your crocodile tears. You signed the anti-bednet petition that includes this dishonest attack on Carson:

    “To a large extent, Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring launched the modern environmental movement and inspired the U.S. EPA’s 1972 domestic ban of DDT. That U.S. ban has since then expanded into a de facto global ban on its use. Carson’s facts, however, were wrong.8″

    “8 For example, Carson claimed “exposure to DDT, even when doing no
    observable harm to birds, may seriously affect reproduction. Quail
    into whose diet DDT was introduced throughout the breeding season
    survived and even produced normal numbers of fertile eggs. But few of
    the eggs hatched.” In fact, the Journal of Agriculture and Food
    Chemistry study she cited actually determined that, when birds were
    fed high doses of DDT throughout their breeding season, 80% of the
    quail eggs hatched (compared with “control” birds that were fed no DDT
    and hatched 84% of their eggs), and more than 80% of pheasant eggs
    hatched (compared with “control” birds that hatched only 57% of their
    eggs). See Edwards, J. Gordon, “DDT: A case study in scientific
    fraud,” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol. 9, No. 3,
    Fall 2004;”

    This misquotes Carson and misrepresents what the Journal of Agriculture and Food
    Chemistry study found. What Carson actually wrote was this:

    “Dr. DeWitt’s now classic experiments on the effect of a series of insecticides on quail and pheasants have established the fact that exposure to DDT or related chemicals, even when doing no observable harm to the parent birds, may seriously affect reproduction. The way the effect is exerted may vary, but the end result is always the same. For example, quail into whose diet DDT was introduced throughout the breeding season survived and even produced normal numbers of fertile eggs. But few of the eggs hatched. “Many embryos appeared to develop normally during the early stages of incubation, but died during the hatching period,” Dr. DeWitt said. Of those that did hatch, more than half died within 5 days.”

    Your petition deleted the part where Carson wrote: “The way the effect is exerted may vary, but the end result is always the same. For example,”. The altered quote misrepresents Carson by making it appear that she is saying that DeWitt found that the effect of DDT was always to reduce hatchability. But that’s no what she said. She said that the effect varies and reducing hatchability is just one example of the effect. Carson cites two studies by DeWitt, published in 1955 and 1956. Her example is from the 1955 study, where Dewitt says:

    “Hatchability of fertile eggs was appreciably below that of eggs from the control group, and the difference approached significance (P = 0.08). Many embryos appeared to develop normally during the early stages of incubation, but died during the hatching period. Mortality among chicks from this group was extremely high, and more than 50% died within the first 5 days after hatching. ”

    Which is pretty much exactly what Carson said.

    The 80% hatchability for quail fed DDT comes from DeWitt’s 1956 study (where the DDT dose was smaller). By quoting just this figure, your petition tries to make it appear that DDT had no effect. But look at what DeWitt says about this group:

    “Viability of chicks from these birds was markedly reduced in the DDT groups, where 87% of the chicks died within the first 6 weeks.”

    So just as Carson stated, reproduction was affected and in a different way — by decreasing the viability of the chicks. So your petition was doubly dishonest — first by doctoring the quote from Carson to make it appear that she was saying that hatchability was decreased for this group, and second by selectively quoting the statistics to make it appear that reproduction was not affected when, in fact, it was.

    As for the pheasants, one group fed DDT did have higher hatchability than the controls, but you petition deliberately fails to mention that the DDT group had lower fertility and laid a much lower number of eggs. The net effect was that the control group averaged 24 chicks while the DDT group averaged just 11.

    Carson was correct when she wrote that DeWitt’s experiments showed that DDT adversely affected reproduction. Edwards was deceitful when he cherry-picked numbers from DeWitt to make it appear that DDT did not have that effect.

    Now I’m guessing that you never bothered to read DeWitt’s studies, but credulously believed the attack on Carson because it was convenient. Am I right?

  98. #98 Keith Kloor
    November 17, 2010

    Tim (87),

    Forget responding at length; you didn’t respond at all. Nice try.

    I can see that lots of things seem so obvious to you, like Monbiot not constructing an ad hom case case Brand.

    Again, I called Monbiot (who I generally admire) a “polite thug,” which is a big difference from the other nasty thug you admire so much. But in the end, of course, a mugging is a mugging.

  99. #99 Wow
    November 17, 2010

    > The fact is, there was no reason to raise the suspicions.

    So why shouldn’t he ask?

    Reporter: Minister, did you approve the building of the bypass because your brother lives in that town?

    Minister: There’s no need to raise that suspicion!

    Or aren’t journalists allowed to ask any more?

    No wonder journalism is failing if your expectations are, uh, expected.

  100. #100 Wow
    November 17, 2010

    > Again, I called Monbiot (who I generally admire) a “polite thug,”

    And that is an ad hom.

    Which is what you use to proclaim Monbiot is a thug for.

    So when are you going to call yourself a thug?

Current ye@r *