Remember how David Bellamy claimed that his TV career was ended (something that happened in 1994) because of an article he wrote in 2004? Now Johnny Ball is making similar dubious claims of persecution:

But his bookings have dropped by 90 per cent over the past year and the 72-year-old has blamed this on harassment by extreme environmentalists who object to his dismissal of climate change as “alarmist nonsense”.

Mr Ball, father of TV and radio presenter Zoe, told The TES a website featuring pornographic images was posted online bearing his name, while another blogger stated he “should not be allowed near children”.

Since the former presenter of Think of a Number, Johnny Ball Reveals All and Think Again contacted police last week, both items have been taken offline.

On his blog Ball has a slightly different story:

Anyone Googling “JOHNNYBALL” (without the gap) may have found a sponsored direct link to “Johnny Ball/Paul Raymond” which when clicked on immediately opens up on a collection of explicit nude pictures of females. I had obviously opened this link and contacted the Paul Raymond organisation. Before they could act, the link had been removed, – 9/2/11 – so it is clear that I am being monitored.

So rather than porn website bearing his name, there was a link to porn among the results when he did an ego google. I really don’t think this was due to persecution from environmentalists, but rather to porn sites using search engine optimization techniques to attract traffic. Ball continues:

Also on a Northern Ireland Blog, The Family Voyage, which prides itself on winning some Blog Award, flagged JohnnyBall and featured the statement, “Johnny Ball should not be allowed near children.” Being near to children has been my career for over 50 years. As yet I cannot contact them, as their site is only open to known members?? (Their flagged Johnny Ball link has now miraculously disappeared)

It hasn’t disappeared at all and the author is easy to contact. She links to a rant by Ball, where Ball spouts this:

Carbon dioxide is half as heavy as air again. It falls to the ground and it feeds the plants.

Shades of Ken Ring. Ball is obviously wrong — how do plants up on mountains get carbon dioxide? Why aren’t people at sea level suffocated when all the CO2 sinks down there? The fact is that that the CO2 in the atmosphere is well mixed. Do you really want someone as ignorant of basic science as Ball teaching science to school children?

The statement that Ball claimed was a “smear” was a comment on the blog post which said:

I just went on Johnny Ball’s site to send him an email asking him not to damage himself in this way. I then read his blog and it’s all come clear. He’s a religious nut. Should of been clear before. That’s why he tied scientists to eugenics. Something religious people do. Suggesting that science caused the holocaust. Heard it before, again and again from these people. Johnny is not a man who should go anywhere near children with his ideas. He is not a man of reason and evidence but a ranting old lunatic. Guess the reason he disappeared from our screens is a mystery no more. Sad.

Note that Ball misquoted the comment, turning

Johnny is not a man who should go anywhere near children with his ideas.

into

Johnny Ball should not be allowed near children.

Naturally this was then embellished by folks like Andrew Bolt into

“Pedophile!”, the warmists argued

How else is Ball supposedly being harassed by environmentalists?

An imposter also attempted to cancel Mr Ball’s booking at a training day for maths teachers in Northampton next month.

OK, so someone made a prank call. That’s stupid and wrong, but what evidence is there that it was made by one of those evil environmentalists?

What else is there?

But his bookings have dropped by 90 per cent over the past year and the 72-year-old has blamed this on harassment by extreme environmentalists who object to his dismissal of climate change as “alarmist nonsense”.

I think a more plausible explanation is that people don’t want to pay you to talk about science if you are going to spout rubbish like this:

Carbon dioxide is half as heavy as air again. It falls to the ground and it feeds the plants.

What else?

Mr Ball, who has also written books on maths and produced five educational stage musicals, hit the headlines in 2009 when he was reportedly booed off stage after hitting out at the “bad science” of man-made global warming at an event at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre organised by comedian Robin Ince.

According to Richard Wiseman who was also performing there:

It seemed to me that the main issue was one of timing not content. The Godless shows involve lots of performers and everyone is given a small amount of time. Johnny had already used up his time BEFORE starting his climate speech. Obviously many people there did not think that Johnny had the evidence to support his position, but nevertheless sat through what must have seemed like an eternity of his climate-related material in polite silence. Johnny then said a race-related line that many perceived as offensive and this, combined with a sense of boredom, started the slow hand clap (I didn’t hear any booing but might have missed it because it was tricky to hear in the wings).

In short, in my opinion this wasn’t about curtailing free speech. The organisers could have asked Johnny to leave the stage because of the timing issue. Instead gave him as long as he wanted. It’s just that the audience were not sympathetic to Johnny’s evidence, got bored and decided that enough was enough.

Update: The line was a pun on crustaceans as ‘crushed Asians’ and a reference to illegal immigrants.

Leo Hickman comments:

Let’s join Johnny Ball in condemning extremists in the climate debate

No matter which side of the climate debate you’re on, no one deserves the treatment experienced by children’s presenter Johnny Ball

Nobody deserves the treatment Ball claims to have received. It’s just that it doesn’t seem to have actually happened.

Update: Ball denies that he blamed environmentalists.

Comments

  1. #1 Ricardo
    February 19, 2011

    I was actually at the Godless show and Mr. Ball certainly was not booed off stage, or even booed with much enthusiasm. From where I sat I certainly couldn’t hear any booing. What I did(n’t) hear was stoney silence and nervous laughter which was as much about his off-colour humour as his anti-climate change ranting.

    Storm in a tea cup, really, but the Tabloids took off with the story obviously can’t have been present at the time.

  2. #2 SC (Salty Current)
    February 19, 2011
    Naturally this was then embellished by folks like Andrew Bolt into

    “Pedophile!”, the warmists argued

    Is it possible for these people to be more dishonest and wrong? I don’t see how.

  3. #3 Sou
    February 19, 2011

    I’ve never heard of the man before, which doesn’t mean much because I don’t keep up with popular culture. But I do wonder if he is well-known in Australia?

    If not, then why is Andrew Bolt writing about him at all if not to have another misplaced crack at the despicable commie pinko tree-hugging greenie leftist nazi environmental alarmists?

  4. #4 Brian Schmidt
    February 19, 2011

    “Johnny Ball” sounds a bit like a porn name. Turns out that it is:

    http://www.iafd.com/person.rme/perfid=JohnnyBall/gender=m/johnny-ball.htm

    (some NSFW images there)

    That explains the egosearch result.

  5. #5 Neil craig
    February 19, 2011

    You know perfectly well that he is telling the truth. You know perfectly well that it is actually only among you eco-Nazis that you will find people, like the 10:10 crowd who abuse children. You know perfectly well tgat anybody, knowing the facts, who had the remotest shtred of human decency would have to denounce eco-Nazis when they deliberately lie let alone when they stoop to tactics like that. And you know that there is not a single leading supporrter of the warming scam who has doneounced such animals and is not,, thus, themselves, proven to be obscene, corrupt, henocidal, parasitic Nazi anuimals who would murder innocent people for money (indeed who do exactly that).

    Or is there 1 – lets see.

  6. #6 lord_sidcup
    February 19, 2011

    In this youtube clip filmed backstage at the Goldless show, J Ball admits he overran by 12-13 minutes, went to far, and was to blame:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLMUX6ePRnw

  7. #7 Trikeabout
    February 19, 2011

    Johnny Ball was awesome when I was a kid growing up in the UK – his TV shows “Think of a Number” and “Think Again” were great pop science for kids. But like so many, thinking becomes harder and science that has unpleasant implications becomes easier to just explain away rather than deal with. It’s a shame to see someone that got me into science (as David Bellamy did) descend into woo.

  8. #8 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    February 19, 2011

    What? Booing people off-stage is now considered “extremist”?

  9. #9 feralboy12
    February 19, 2011

    I would never google anything like “Johnny Ball” and expect anything good to come up. You might as well google “Miles Long” or “Dick Booth” or something.
    Also, as an old musician, I can say that audiences are not required to like you. They certainly weren’t always enamored of me, although heckling me was usually a bad idea.
    Johnny Ball should grow some skin over his dingle.

  10. #10 clippo UK
    February 19, 2011

    Of course, Delingpole has now joined the chorus and also Eric Heffer, another Libertarian-crazed journalist on the Daily Bellylaugh.

  11. #11 'Tis Himself
    February 19, 2011

    But his bookings have dropped by 90 per cent over the past year and the 72-year-old has blamed this on harassment by extreme environmentalists who object to his dismissal of climate change as “alarmist nonsense”.

    People who book speakers for science oriented presentations generally have a science background. It’s not unreasonable they should dismiss Ball from consideration because of his denial of actual science. They probably wouldn’t book a young-earth-creationist or a flat-earther either.

  12. #12 pough
    February 19, 2011

    Anyone who does a search for “Johnny Ball” and is surprised and alarmed by porn coming back as a result needs to be warned that they will continually find the internet confusing and alarming and may want to consider never using it.

  13. #13 lord_sidcup
    February 19, 2011

    That should be Godless, not Goldless, in my #5.

    A lot of standup comedians perform at Godless. Heckling and booing are pretty common at standup shows. Considering the trash Ball coming out, with I would say he got off very lightly.

  14. #14 chek
    February 19, 2011

    Anybody who misleads children with guff like “CO2 is heavier than air so it falls to the ground where it becomes plant food”, deserves to be extraordinarily renditioned with extreme prejudice, not mildly heckled at an entertainment venue.

    Has Johnny “nobody luvs me no more” Ball any idea how long it’s taken even the existing current percentage of humanity to emerge from a geological era of ignorance?

  15. #15 DavidCOG
    February 19, 2011

    Excellent evisceration, Tim. Another tempest in the deniers’ teacup. Although, quite depressing for those of us who grew up with and were inspired by Ball.

    [Note: you've got a 'Bell' in place of 'Ball' in a couple of places]

    Leo Hickman adds a comment to his credulous, environmentalist-smearing article:

    > …I have now just heard back from Ball about the matter of the “several films” he said are being shown in schools. The response is extraordinary, but I have to consult with the Guardian’s lawyers first about whether we can publish it in full.

    Sounds like Ball has unloaded both barrels in to his feet now….

  16. #16 Fran Barlow
    February 19, 2011

    And in any event, as has been noted umpteen times, the principle of free speech gives nobody an immunity card to say what you like without suffering hostility from people who find you offensive.

    Providing your legal rights are not transgressed, one has to accept that when one opens one’s mouth not everyone may look as fondly upon you as they did before and may even choose not to want to have anything to do with you.

    Not the least of the stupidities uttered by the enemies of adequate public policy in this area is the attempt to blur the lines between the right to speak freely and the obligation of everyone using it to accept the consequences of their acts.

    In this respect, one can see the common thread. The delusionals hailed by the murdochracy reject the idea that actions have consequences — whether it’s speaking or polluting.

  17. #17 MikeB
    February 19, 2011

    Think of a number….of reasons not to listen to ravings of such a sad character. When I was a kid Johnny Ball was a Tv maths god, now he’s just a bit pathetic.

  18. #18 DavidCOG
    February 19, 2011

    Oh, dear. [Ball really has lost the plot](http://www.johnnyball.co.uk/html/johnnysblog.html):

    > The IPPC themselves have stated clearly that “There must be no more exaggeration” which shows that they accept that every aspect of the threat of endangering climate change has been exaggerated.

    Someone has stolen his logic chip….

  19. #19 Colin Lawson
    February 19, 2011

    [Leo Hickman, posted Guardian web site 18th Feb] (http://bit.ly/hFUF2d): “But it might be interesting if readers could also supply their own experiences. Which specific films are being shown in your local schools? More generally, how is the subject of climate change being raised in your schools? Teachers, governors, parents, pupils – all views and experiences are welcome.”

    Is it just me or does this last paragraph of Leo Hickman’s “Johnny Ball Victimised” article in the Guardian smell just very slightly of the beginnings of a McCarthy style witch hunt aimed at science teachers who dare to raise the issue of climate change in the classroom. I am sure this is an exaggeration but I suspect many science teachers will be steering well clear of this debate for fear of being the next day’s Daily Mail headline (or perhaps even the subject of a Leo Hickman article).

  20. #20 Donald Oats
    February 19, 2011

    Some days these jokers make me laugh, other times I realise they are no laughing matter. On this one Tim, I’ll take your word for it, but won’t follow the links.

    Keep up the de-toxing of the MSM, you do good work Tim.

  21. #21 Steve Bloom
    February 19, 2011

    The news here isn’t Ball’s fantasies but Hickman’s reaction, exemplified by this statement in the comments:

    Can I make a respectful request that we keep this thread firmly on-topic, despite the obvious temptations to stray? Namely, let’s stick closely to the subjects of condemning extremists on both sides of the climate debate who choose to break the law or by resorting to extreme intimidation, and discussing how climate change is taught in schools, particularly through the use of films.

    Ah, yes, the old “extremists on both sides.” And journalists like Hickman claim they’re not part of the problem. Meh.

    As for the film business, did it occur to Leo that the responsible thing to do would have been to require Ball to provide evidence before publicizing the claim? I suppose that’s too much to expect from someone so innocent as to think it novel that porn links would turn up in a search for “Johnny Ball.” Meh^2.

  22. #22 Hal9000
    February 19, 2011

    The only people I know whose careers have been wrecked by speaking out on environmental issues have been, um, environmentalists. John Sinclair, for example, was sacked from his teaching job and run out of Queensland by right wing icon Joh Bjelke-Petersen for speaking out about sand mining on Fraser Island. But I doubt you’ll read much about that in the Murdoch press. It’s been a minor miracle that James Hansen has held onto his job with NASA given the pressure exerted by US legislators to silence him. The likes of Lomborg, however, now have lucrative careers trying to convince people that nothing should be done.

  23. #23 Lurker
    February 20, 2011

    Is this Johnny Ball related to Tim Ball?

  24. #24 Flying Binghi
    February 20, 2011

    .

    oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    via #13,

    “CO2 is heavier than air so it falls to the ground where it becomes plant food”

    oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    .

    Hmmm, never heard of that Ball chap before though methinks he got that CO2 is plant food thing right….ah guess from reading what other posters have described as his job he’s simplifying things fer children there…

    .

    For an interesting look-see at the benefits of CO2 here’s an interesting read –

    http://www.co2science.org/education/book/2011/55BenefitsofCO2Pamphlet.pdf

    or – http://www.co2science.org/

    .

    .

    .

  25. #25 frank -- Decoding SwiftHack
    February 20, 2011

    Great, now Lying Binghi has found a generic excuse for climate inactivist telling blatant lies:

    > he’s simplifying things fer children there…

    What a brainless troll.

  26. #26 Paul UK
    February 20, 2011

    Lets be clear here:

    1. I don’t know of any environmentalist that has Johnny Ball on their radar.

    2. He isn’t on most peoples radar.

    3. I think 1 and 2 are the reasons he hasn’t got any bookings.

    4. Maybe he needs a new agent.

  27. #27 Paul UK
    February 20, 2011

    Johnny Ball did UK children’s programmes in the 1980s, after that he pretty much disappeared from most peoples radar.

    Like a lot of ‘celebrities’ he self promotes himself, making lots of claims. I’m guessing this story is one of those ‘any publicity is good publicity’ scenarios, no matter how trivial it is.

    A lot of TV personalities inflate their importance once their career has ended. It’s not surprising given they were the centre of attention and then all that disappears. Some take it on the cheek and find other things to do, others try and get back in the lime light to see if anyone takes the bate.

  28. #28 Flying Binghi
    February 20, 2011

    .

    Apparently the matter is with the Police so i guess there will be a looking into of the claims…

    .

    “…the smears were a “criminal act aimed directly to damage me and my career. Since notifying the police of these acts aimed at damaging my name and reputation…”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8330836/Johnny-Ball-abused-by-environmentalists-over-climate-change-denial.html

    .

    .

    .

  29. #29 Marco
    February 20, 2011

    @Flying Binghi:
    expect that matter at the police to die a very silent death. A few policemen will laugh at Johnny Ball googling himself and getting on porn sites, will laugh even harder at the one comment, taken out of context, on a site that supposedly constitutes harassment, and will roll over laughing when they found out he abused his time slot and then complains when he’s booed for doing so (or perhaps it were the bad jokes).

    Good thing for Johnny is that he can then complain about a conspiracy even more. After all, he IS being smeared (so he says) and hence any conclusion to the contrary must be a cover-up. “Facts? We skeptics don’t do facts! We do appearances!”.

  30. #30 Billy Goats Gruff
    February 20, 2011

    Lambert

    Why not ask Ball yourself? After all you went to all the trouble of asking that woman at her blog. So why not ask the victim?

    Just wondering as there is a contact page for him.

    http://www.johnnyball.co.uk/

  31. #31 Heraclitus
    February 20, 2011

    Colin Lawson #18
    Leo Hickman is generally one of the better reporters on climate change. At worst he could be accused here of being overly sensitive towards accusations of bias from the sqeptics. I think his request for information about what’s being shown in schools is more about exposing Ball’s dodgy claims than encouraging some sort of McCarthyesque witch hunt.

  32. #32 lord_sidcup
    February 20, 2011

    Regarding the suggested police investigation, I am am expert on these matters but it isn’t immediately obvious to me clear what law has been broken. The link to the porn site? Is linking a fairly common name to pornography an offense? Not nice, but I don’t know if there is any law against it.

    Also, the TES article states that the matter is being investigated by “South Thames Police”, but there is no such body as South Thames Police. The Metropolitan Police cover London, and Thames Valley Police cover the Thames Valley west of London. The prankster committed their offense in Northampton, and so that is a matter for Northamptonshire Police, not the fictional South Thames Police. The whole thing just doesn’t ring true to me.

  33. #33 Dan R
    February 20, 2011

    When I type “johnny ball pedophile” into Google, there is indeed a blogger who seems to have used those words in a deceitful article about Mr. Ball. In fact, that blogger is in Australia!

    Shame.

  34. #34 TrueSceptic
    February 20, 2011

    17 DavidCOG,

    I have no idea who the “IPPC” are so I have no idea what these “exaggerations” might be. ;)

    Another nice one here

    The recent NASA claim that there is an increase of 0.7% in world temperatures in the past 50 years,

    I’m really convinced by someone who’s so well versed in science that they confuse percentages with degrees!

  35. #35 J Bowers
    February 20, 2011

    Leo Hickman’s posted that Ball will be offered a chance to reply at the Guardian. It’ll be interesting to see what Ball has to say should he take up the offer. Comments may be open, as happened with North’s response to Monbiot, and Montford’s response to Ward.

  36. #36 TrueSceptic
    February 20, 2011

    31 lord_sidcup,

    Have you read the comments at the [TES page](http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6070579&navcode=94)? How do people get to be this nutty? Or am I falling for a Poe?

  37. #37 Dave R
    February 20, 2011

    >Leo Hickman’s posted that Ball will be offered a chance to reply at the Guardian.

    A chance to “reply” to an article that uncritically parroted his delusions as if they were true? WTFF?

  38. #38 lord_sidcup
    February 20, 2011

    35 TrueSceptic

    The TES is primarily for school teachers – I hope those commenting aren’t school teachers!

  39. #39 TrueSceptic
    February 20, 2011

    37 lord_sidcup,

    I seem to remember seeing comments from ‘mememine’ elsewhere. I think he/she seeks out places to air his/her views on climate science.

    I wouldn’t rule out being a teacher, though. Is there anything that makes them proof against nuttiness, and isn’t E-G Beck a teacher?

  40. #40 Eli Rabett
    February 20, 2011

    Wasn’t Beck died about a year ago but his nonsense keeps blogging on.

  41. #41 J Bowers
    February 20, 2011

    @ 36 Dave R

    Dave, you need to read the comments thread to understand why. Unlike most other MSM outlets, the Guardian environment team regularly engage with their commenters. Some even get articles published, and the Guardian’s environment network includes Climate Progress and Skeptical Science; how many MSM outlets publish articles by G P Wayne, or John Cooke and Dana of Skeptical Science? Leo Hickman is far from one of the “bad guys” and regularly attracts lots of flak from the Climate Crazy Eddies.

  42. #42 TrueSceptic
    February 20, 2011

    39 Eli,

    Thanks. I didn’t know that but it appears he [died last September](http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/23/obituary-ernst-george-beck/). As you say, his nonsense will live on in the deniosphere.

  43. #43 J Bowers
    February 20, 2011

    Must read: Sir John Beddington goes on the offensive and lashes out at pseudo-science.

    http://www.researchresearch.com/index.php?option=com_news&template=rr_2col&view=article&articleId=1032320

    Dellingpole’s upset, so Beddington must be doing something right ;)

  44. #44 TrueSceptic
    February 20, 2011

    42 J Bowers,

    Thanks. That is superb stuff. Here’s the [link](http://www.researchresearch.com/index.php?option=com_news&template=rr_2col&view=article&articleId=1032320) again (yours is broken).

  45. #45 J Bowers
    February 20, 2011

    Thanks TS. Keep forgetting that thing you have to do.

  46. #46 pough
    February 20, 2011

    If that commenter, by saying that Ball shouldn’t be allowed to go near children with his ideas, is calling Ball a pedophile does that mean Ball is calling others pedophiles when he criticizes the ideas they’re expressing to children? As far as I can tell, the story has gone like this:

    Ball: those ideas should be kept away from children!

    Commenter: Ball’s ideas should be kept away from children.

    Ball: How dare you call me a pedophile!?

  47. #47 https://me.yahoo.com/a/_4KIfrwRxNWU8qEsAFrxolQ6Tw--#4599c
    February 20, 2011

    got that CO2 is plant food thing right

    Sunlight too, so how’s about you go outside naked and stare at it for a few days while chowing down on fertilizer.

  48. #48 Nick
    February 21, 2011

    The Australians War on Science #60 has appeared courtesy of one Marc Hendrickx’s eccentric view of Steig/O’Donnell.

  49. #49 Alex
    February 21, 2011

    I suspect flying binghi @23 is merely pulling a Poe with the moronic ‘co2 is plantfood’ meme. Just in case he isn’t, I suggest he looks here where idiotic right-wing drivel is dealt with.

  50. #50 andrew adams
    February 21, 2011

    Johnny Ball was a great kids TV presenter who did an awful lot to make maths and science appealing to my generation. To see him reduced to spouting such nonsense is genuinely sad.

  51. #51 JamesA
    February 21, 2011

    I remember being inspired by the likes of Jonny Ball and David Bellamy in the 80s and I ended up following a career in science, ending up working in atmospheric research. For me, seeing them both go off the rails is very disheartening.

  52. #52 P. Lewis
    February 21, 2011
  53. #53 dorlomin
    February 21, 2011

    Leo Hickman over at the Guardian has said he will shortly have a new blog on this issue.

  54. #54 lord_sidcup
    February 21, 2011

    # 42 and 43

    Sir John has contributed an article to New Scientist along similar lines, if not as strongly worded:

    [We need both scepticism and consensus](http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/thesword/2011/02/science-scepticism-and-consens.html)

  55. #55 Tim Lambert
    February 21, 2011

    **Update:** Ball [denies that he blamed environmentalists](http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/feb/21/johnny-ball-climate-smear-challenged).

  56. #56 Marco
    February 21, 2011

    Ball’s twisting and turning, but still blames people who disagree with his stance on climate change. Sigh.

    Of course, his views of climate change are unscientific, and thus I would agree that Ball needs to stay away from children with his ideas. (There, another person who called him a “pedophile”…)

  57. #57 TrueSceptic
    February 21, 2011

    This whole thing has made little sense from the off. Now Ball complains that the TES article misrepresented him but the TES editor and journo have received no complaint from him. I wonder what he’ll say on Neil’s programme on Thursday?

  58. #58 Dave R
    February 21, 2011

    ISTM that Johnny Balderdash has played the journos for fools in order to get a better platform for his crackpot views.

  59. #59 TrueSceptic
    February 21, 2011

    57 Dave R,

    Either that or he’s suffering some mental impairment.

  60. #60 Dave R
    February 22, 2011

    >Update: Ball denies that he blamed environmentalists.

    Then blames them again…

    >[Beware the global warming fascists: Johnny Ball on how he has been vilified for daring to question green orthodoxy](http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1359350/Zoe-Balls-father-Johnny-vilified-questioning-global-warming.html)

    And spews all his loony talking points again, of course.

  61. #61 Anne van der Bom
    February 22, 2011

    “Ball denies that he blamed environmentalists.”

    But will he recall the attack dogs?

    Thanks to WUWT, mr. ‘Interpreter Of Interpretations’ and others, we can be sure this gossip story will reverberate around the denialist echo chamber for years.

    I guess He needed the attention badly.

  62. #62 Marco
    February 22, 2011

    Dave R: list the deniosphere talking points in that piece, and you’d think he was a Wattsian.

  63. #63 Dunc
    February 22, 2011

    Johnny Ball’s still alive? Who knew?

  64. #64 Paul UK
    February 22, 2011

    Gaurdion blag:
    *italic*”But soon the original blog posting was isolated and it turned out that the full statement used – by a reader on a blog run by a woman with an autistic son – was that Ball, as a climate sceptic, “should [not] go anywhere near children with his ideas”. A very different message. “_italic_

    Well that is the exact interpretation I would have given.
    Woman had the idea in her head, wrote a summary of what she though, summary was read by others many of which re-interpreted the summary.

  65. #65 Paul UK
    February 22, 2011

    Or better…

    Gaurdion blag: _”But soon the original blog posting was isolated and it turned out that the full statement used – by a reader on a blog run by a woman with an autistic son – was that Ball, as a climate sceptic, “should [not] go anywhere near children with his ideas”. A very different message. “_

    Well that is the exact interpretation I would have given. Woman had the idea in her head, wrote a summary of what she though, summary was read by others many of which re-interpreted the summary.

  66. #66 Tim Lambert
    February 22, 2011

    Dave R, that’s a story in the *Daily Mail*, so it may be largely fabricated.

  67. #67 Dave R
    February 22, 2011

    True, but it says it’s written by him and it’s consistent with what he’s written on his own blog.

  68. #68 TrueSceptic
    February 22, 2011

    65 Tim,

    “that’s a story in the Daily Mail, so it may be largely fabricated.”

    QFT.

  69. #69 Bernard J.
    February 22, 2011

    Speaking of Old Country crackpots, [James Dellingpole had a bit of a ramble on Counterpoint](http://www.abc.net.au/rn/counterpoint/stories/2011/3141757.htm) this week.

  70. #70 Dave R
    February 22, 2011

    [This comment](http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/9679558) on _the Guardian_ details some of the exaggerations that denialists have developed from Ball’s original claims:

    Johnny Ball googled “Johnny Ball”, and a porn site came up among the Google listings. [...]

    In the Times Educational Supplement, this story became:

    Mr Ball, father of TV and radio presenter Zoe, told The TES a website featuring pornographic images was posted online bearing his name,

    For James Delingpole in the Telegraph this became:

    In a sinister twist, websites have also been set up in his name which contain pornographic images.

    …and for our prize-winner, Brendan O’Neill in the Telegraph, it became:

    as “extreme greens” have publicly ridiculed his views and even set up websites featuring him in photoshopped porno images.

  71. #71 TrueSceptic
    February 22, 2011

    Dave R,

    Wow, just wow! Can the Torygraph get any worse than that?

  72. #72 dorlomin
    February 22, 2011

    Dave R, that’s a story in the Daily Mail, so it may be largely fabricated.

    Posted by: Tim Lambert
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    Ghost written.

    Brief interview by the writer then he goes off and crack off the story with Ball getting the byline and a cheque. The Mail probibly had the story all but written before he had picked up the phone.
    He probibly thought it was a nice little earner.

  73. #73 Dave R
    February 22, 2011

    Leo Hickman’s 3rd article on this is up [here](http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/feb/22/brainwashing-climate-johnny-ball). This one deals with the results of his asking for evidence from Ball and the “sceptical” commenters to support the claims of children being brainwashed by alarmist propaganda in schools. Essentially no evidence was provided by any of them.

    Ball gets the chance for some more crazy:
    >the only possible way to stop the gulf stream happening, is to stop the Earth Spinning – remember your school science? Bath water in the Northern Hemisphere goes clockwise, in the south, anti clock.

  74. #74 John Mashey
    February 22, 2011

    And of course, Benny Peiser replicates this at GWPF, that fine UK educational charity.

  75. #75 TrueSceptic
    February 22, 2011

    72 Dave R,

    You really couldn’t make it up, could you? If we were to parody the belief of the credulous in urban myths in preference to science, the “bath water” myth would be high on the list, wouldn’t it? We’d be aware of Poe’s Law, of course, so we might have to try harder. ;)

  76. #76 Wow
    February 23, 2011

    > At worst he could be accused here of being overly sensitive towards accusations of bias from the sqeptics.

    No, he’s continuing a myth that there are “two sides” and that each side “is equally extreme”.

    Rather like saying that the Dalai Lama is as extreme as Abu Hamsa because they’re on opposite sides of some sort of median point.

  77. #77 You know it's hot hot hot
    February 24, 2011

    “Johnny then said a race-related line that many perceived as offensive”

    Sounds to me like you are now smearing Johnny as a racist.

    Hoist by your own petard.

  78. #78 Wow
    February 24, 2011

    So you’re smearing everyone here with your claims of smearing.

    Hoist by your own petard, “you know it’s hot hot hot”.

  79. #79 you know it's hot hot hot
    February 24, 2011

    No, I am accurately reporting what was written in the article. It’s not that difficult.

  80. #80 Wow
    February 24, 2011

    Yes, by smearing everyone with smearing JB.

    This sort of secondary smearing is, according to you, wrong.

    So why do you do it?

  81. #81 zoot
    February 24, 2011

    I’ll break it to you as gently as possible y-n-i-h-h-h.

    It’s not a smear if it’s true. Even if you choose to call it a smear.

  82. #82 you know it's hot hot hot
    February 24, 2011

    “smearing everyone with smearing JB”

    ROFL! I merely quoted the article at the top of the page, this cannot be called “smearing” let alone “everyone”.

    “It’s not a smear if it’s true”
    Aha, so Johnny Ball is indeed being called a racist.

    Let that be a warning to all deniers!

    This “science” blog seems to attract some rather extreme views.

  83. #83 lord_sidcup
    March 2, 2011

    Johnny Ball got a bit more exposure today courtesy of the Daily Politics show on the BBC. I didn’t watch, but the text of his short item is here:

    [Daily Politics Soapbox: Johnny Ball on climate fears](http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12609782)

    Basically, the massage is don’t be so gloomy, technology will solve everything, and there are a couple of very silly bits:

    We’ve been told the temperature of the Earth has increased in the last century. In the 1960s, there was a dip, and now scientists are talking about a new ice age.

    We are told that in the last 50 years, since that dip, it has increased by 0.7C.

    We know that every day the temperature changes by much more than that – up and down.

    And

    From my reading around the subject, only 4% of the CO2 that goes into the atmosphere is put there by man.

  84. #84 Vince whirlwind
    March 2, 2011

    Seeing as this is the “Open Thread”, I’ll ask my question here:

    What value for money do you think “Tara, Medium” gets from advertising “psychic readings” on this particular site?

  85. #85 Vince whirlwind
    March 2, 2011

    oops

  86. #86 lord_sidcup
    March 22, 2011

    “Educational” “charity” the Global Warming Policy Foundation are commissioning Johnny Ball to undertake an investigation of the teaching of climate science in schools:

    [Johnny Ball in talks with GWPF over teaching of climate change in schools](http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2011/03/johnny-ball-to-work-with-gwpf#)

    I assume the unnamed other researcher involved is there to keep a lid on Johnny’s more major scientific gaffs.

  87. #87 chek
    March 22, 2011

    @ lord_sidcup
    Knowing the drivel the GWPF outputs normally, it could well be that Ball is the least insane one :)

  88. #88 Dean Morrison
    March 22, 2011

    ‘Sharon’ – the lady who Johnny Ball accused of calling him a paedophile has only just become aware of this farrago, and has expressed her forthright view of Ball’s defamatory statements in a recent post:

    http://thefamilyvoyage.blogspot.com/2011/03/obscure-blogger-vilifies-johnny-ball-no.html

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