In a piece ironically titled “Be prudent with climate claims” (behind The Australian‘s paywall, search for the title if you want to read it) George Pell declares that, unlike him,

“many politicians have never investigated the primary evidence.”

However, if you look at the sources he cites, you’ll find that by “primary evidence” he means claims made by Monckton and Plimer, not peer-reviewed work by climate scientists. He only manages one cite to the IPCC reports and that is just to quote an out of context sentence to make it look like the IPCC as saying that climate is no more predictable than weather. That’s not what they say at all. It’s unclear whether Pell misrepresented the IPCC by stripping that sentence from its context or whether he just copied from someone like Monckton.

It is unfortunate that Pell has failed to learn from The Bureau of Meteorology Greg Ayer and repeated claims already shown to be false.

The Australian, of course, simply does not care whether the material it prints is true or not.

Tim Stephens in the Jesuit’s Eureka Street comments:

Climate science is complex and not explainable in sound-bites. Of necessity the layperson must defer to the experts. If Pell had offered views on neuroscience, quantum computing, immunology, the geology of Mars or any of the other topics covered in the latest issue of Nature we would rightly be scratching our heads at his intervention, unless he truly were a polymath of Galilean standing.

But the discourse of climate change has become so debased and post-modern that any views, however bizarre, can be given an airing. Like homeopathy and astrology, Pell’s pseudo-science should be ignored, and the scientific method allowed to continue, however unpalatable the conclusions may be.

Robert Manne (who Pell bizarrely accuses of making a “category error” for suggesting that we should be guided by the scientific consensus) writes:

Cardinal Pell apparently believes that someone like himself – without scientific training; without scientific publications; without the capacity to read and understand academic scientific literature – is in a position to disregard the conclusions of 97 per cent of climate scientists actively publishing in peer-reviewed journals which have been supported by the world’s major scientific academies. In denying the existence of a consensus among the climate scientists on core questions, and in arguing that laypeople without scientific understanding or expertise can come to their own conclusions on global warming, as if it were all merely a matter of opinion, Pell has committed what he might call a category error but which I prefer to call a cardinal mistake.

Comments

  1. #1 Jeremy C
    November 7, 2011

    For every George Pell type christian there is a John Houghton type christian.

  2. #2 Alan
    November 7, 2011

    “As fact and opinion blur together, the very idea of factual truth falls away. And increasingly the belief in and aspiration for factual truth is being expunged from political argument.”

    http://www.hannaharendtcenter.org/?page_id=2309

  3. #3 Lionel A
    November 7, 2011

    Cardinal Error Pell bow to Bishop Ussher, Bishop Ussher welcomes you to his illustrious group of ecclesiastical ignoramuses. Hell Pell you should fit in well.

  4. #4 Jeffrey Davis
    November 7, 2011

    Sorry to intrude my anti-clericalism here, but I’ve never found religious factotums of whatever belief to be anything but neurotics, humbugs, and sponges.

  5. #5 Tony O'Brien
    November 7, 2011

    I would hardly compare the archbishop with Ussher. Ussher worked with what he had and applied logic, in the then absence of contrary information. Now there is substantial contrary information so to hang onto Ussher’s analysis is pigheadedness.

    George Pell makes his analysis against mountains of contrary evidence. Where as Ussher was logical, but wrong George Pell (snip)

  6. #6 MikeH
    November 7, 2011

    It all comes together at [Connor Court Publishing](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connor_Court_Publishing) based in Ballan, Victoria. It is probably no coincidence that DLP Senator [John Madigan](http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/dlp-senator-sees-links-with-liberals-and-labor/story-fn59niix-1226150193216) lives just up the road.

    Current state DLP president Mark Farrell lives a few Km in the opposite direction. His property in Bacchus Marsh sits on a brown coal resource currently being explored by Mantle Mining – and [Farrell is not happy](http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-18/bacchus-marsh-coal-drill-exceeds-expectations/3576464) – oh cruel irony.

  7. #7 jason
    November 7, 2011

    Cardinal Pell has joined the denialists? From one faith-based ideology to another.

  8. #8 Donald Oats
    November 7, 2011

    Cardinal Pell has been at this for a long time now, pushing this debauched notion that he has the inside track on “real” climate science, as opposed to the actual professionals—you know, those men and women who do field work and modelling work on past and present climate.

    He may be a cardinal but he ain’t the sharpest tack in the pin box. Gotta hand it to ideological warriors on the right though, of which Pell is a card-carrying member: they’ve managed to gain access to vast tracts of the media in which to trumpet their fact-deprived opinions about pretty much everything, climate science especially so, and then they get all upset when people (rightly) criticise the airing of stupidity as though it is a valuable substitute to reason and empirical evidence.

    This ties in with the media inquiry various politicians are pushing for in Australia. One question I hope is asked: “How does having a media which is currently unaccountable with regards to truth-in-reporting, assist democracy and its practice?” It is a loaded question but consider the following: “A free media is essential for democracy” is the statement usually made (by those who want to keep the status-quo of unfettered lying and deceptive reporting), the tacit part of that statement being the assumption that a free media is one that will report truthfully. Currently that assumption is false, and tellingly so.

    Unless accountability towards truth-in-reporting can be brought to the fore, the media we have is a mere pretender to freedom. The statement should be “A free and truthful media is essential for democracy.” Instead, we act as though the “and truthful” part is merely a desired trait, not a necessary one.

  9. #9 John
    November 8, 2011

    I’m sure Pell will then be donating to the IPA, as directed to by St. Plimer.

    The climate always changes. It must be magic or something.

  10. #10 mandas
    November 8, 2011

    “Christian relies on book rather than evidence for his ideology”

    News at 11!

  11. #11 Aidan
    November 8, 2011

    Check out the [comments thread in Tim Stephen's piece](http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=28882)

    I really do wonder if there is just an army of bots out there, as they clearly didn’t read what was written.

    “They will never learn. No. You can’t teach a Sneetch!”

    Unfortunately, there is no kicker, you really can’t.

  12. #12 Mulga Mumblebrain
    November 9, 2011

    ‘Big George’, as his little mates knew him, would not have written this screed. No doubt it was penned by some slightly more gifted hard Right ideologue. It bears repeating that Pell’s desire to serve his ideological mates on the Right contradicts the Vatican’s own position, let alone that of real science. Pell is, in my opinion, an embarrassment to the Church and to humanity, but a stout-hearted fighter for all that is Right.

  13. #13 Scribe
    November 10, 2011

    The Australian is useful in these respects: plant mulch, and on the nail in the khazi. I console myself that its online incarnation will shortly become locked behind a paywall that few will cross.

  14. #14 Scribe
    November 10, 2011

    The Tim Stephens paper, open access at ABC

  15. #15 ianam
    November 11, 2011

    I really do wonder if there is just an army of bots out there

    There certainly is:

    This is the true purpose of the gathering: providing a forum for die-hard denialists to collect the rhetorical baseball bats with which they will club environmentalists and climate scientists in the weeks and months to come. The talking points first tested here will jam the comment sections beneath every article and YouTube video that contains the phrase “climate change” or “global warming.” They will also exit the mouths of hundreds of right-wing commentators and politicians—from Republican presidential candidates like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann all the way down to county commissioners like Richard Rothschild. In an interview outside the sessions, Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, proudly takes credit for “thousands of articles and op-eds and speeches…that were informed by or motivated by somebody attending one of these conferences.”

    This is an important piece that should be read in its entirety if you want to go beyond just being right about the science.

  16. #16 SteveC
    November 11, 2011

    @ Scribe

    The Australian is useful in these respects: plant mulch, and on the nail in the khazi.

    I beg to differ. In the first instance it’s too toxic, and in the second already too full of $hit to be of any use.

    Y(Media Outlet)MV

  17. #17 Matthew
    November 11, 2011

    My first post here.

    I accept the scientific consensus that man-made climate change is real and a serious threat to humanity. However I’m curious as to why, if the climate change sceptics arguments are so scientifically wrong, you don’t sue them for scientific fraud?

    There seems to be some ideological reluctance amongst scientists against litigation. Or have I missed something here?

    Litigation is the only hope that I (and others I speak to) can see for climatologists to regain their credibility.

    Am I missing something in our legal system?

  18. #18 ianam
    November 11, 2011

    I accept the scientific consensus that man-made climate change is real and a serious threat to humanity. However I’m curious as to why, if the climate change sceptics arguments are so scientifically wrong, you don’t sue them for scientific fraud?

    If you accept it and think there are grounds for such a suit, why haven’t you brought one?

    There seems to be some ideological reluctance amongst scientists against litigation.

    That’s a rather rash and irrational conclusion. Is your own failure to have sued people for scientific fraud a consequence of an “ideological reluctance” to do so? There are many things that I have not done, such as running a marathon or touring China for a year that I have no “ideological reluctance” to do.

    Litigation is the only hope that I (and others I speak to)

    You must speak to a very small or narrow group of people.

    can see for climatologists to regain their credibility

    Six commissions finding them innocent of fraud and scientific misconduct has not restored the credibility of the CRU scientists in the eyes of many of the public; what makes you think that a lawsuit would?

    Am I missing

    Yes, but I will politely refrain from elaborating.

  19. #19 Matthew
    November 12, 2011

    ianam wrote:
    If you accept it and think there are grounds for such a suit, why haven’t you brought one?

    Try checking facts before making such glib, arrogant, uninformed responses.

    I have taken legal advice on a class-action lawsuit against climate change sceptics for libel, slander, defamation, and scientific fraud. Only to be informed that you can’t sue on behalf of another person. The scientists must sue for themselves.

    Try apologising if you’re adult enough.

    I wrote:
    There seems to be some ideological reluctance amongst scientists against litigation.

    Ianam wrote:
    That’s a rather rash and irrational conclusion. Is your own failure to have sued people for scientific fraud a consequence of an “ideological reluctance” to do so? There are many things that I have not done, such as running a marathon or touring China for a year that I have no “ideological reluctance” to do.

    It is not a “rash and irrational” conclusion. And there is no failure on my behalf. You are the failure here. You really should check facts. Something you seem to claim others don’t do but manage to achieve yourself.

    First, I tried posting an earlier comment about this in these forums about this topic but it was not allowed through. Ironic since it was permitted elsewhere – even on sites hostile to climate science. It mentioned legal action against sceptics and quoted comments from others who agree with me on the need for litigation and it was not allowed.

    Second, those coming from a business background, understand that litigation is a normal course of events when there are allegations of libel, slander, and defamation. If there are not grounds for such a suit then I can only conclude that the climate change sceptics are right and that their arguments are sound. Otherwise climate scientists would have sued them by now.

    Third, how many non-scientists have you spoken to about climate change one-on-one? I count nearly a hundred – as I was considering a book on the subject and wanted to get some feedback from the public. In talking with the public the conclusion we have all reached is that if scientists had sued earlier it would not have come to this. Alternatively they won’t sue because they know they’re in the wrong and have no grounds for legal action. An opinion that I’m beginning to suspect might be true.

    I wrote:
    Litigation is the only hope that I (and others I speak to)

    Ianam wrote:
    You must speak to a very small or narrow group of people.

    All 100 or them. Wow. I’ll be sure to mention that to them all and inform them of this site so they can reply to you individually. Oh, that’s right you don’t post anything that you don’t like here, do you? And you wonder why science has lost its credibility. Its people like you attacking the public with genuine inquires who are tired of all this nonsense from scientists. The courts should decide these matters not forums. If climate scientists were so sure of themselves they would have sued by now.

    Ianam wrote:
    Six commissions finding them innocent of fraud and scientific misconduct has not restored the credibility of the CRU scientists in the eyes of many of the public; what makes you think that a lawsuit would?

    That would be the nearly 100 members of the public you have been speaking to, is it? Or are you accusing me of lying on top of everything else? People have little faith in investigations but much more in the judicial system where they can go in and listen to testimony and draw their own conclusions.

    I wrote:
    Am I missing something in our legal system?

    Ianam wrote:
    Am I missing
    Yes, but I will politely refrain from elaborating.

    You deliberately took part of what I wrote and misapplied it. How hypocritical considering the whining from climate scientists about climate change sceptics doing exactly the same thing.

    Amazing. I have posted on climate change sceptics sites to hear their side of the “debate” and never been so aggressively attacked.

  20. #20 Matthew
    November 12, 2011

    There seems to some confusion with my posts here so I’ll try and clear it up.

    I wrote:
    First, I tried posting an earlier comment about this in these forums about this topic but it was not allowed through. Ironic since it was permitted elsewhere – even on sites hostile to climate science. It mentioned legal action against sceptics and quoted comments from others who agree with me on the need for litigation and it was not allowed.

    I just got an email from Tim Lambert.

    Tim Lambert wrote:
    The spam filter decided it was spam. I have released it from the spam filter.

    Actually there were two posts I made here that had been held up by the spam filter. I thought I had been censored and they would not be published. As such I was more than a little irritated. So I’ll try again and rephrase my reply.

    ianam wrote:
    If you accept it and think there are grounds for such a suit, why haven’t you brought one?

    I have taken legal advice on a class-action lawsuit against climate change sceptics for libel, slander, defamation, and scientific fraud. Climate change is considered a hot potato and it was very hard to get a definite answer. The initial responses were that you can’t sue on behalf of another person. The scientists must sue for themselves.

    I’m intending to investigate this further. If this is so (that I can’t sue on behalf of climate scientists) I would like to see changes in the law. In future third parties should be able to sue on behalf of others if there is a clear public interest in so doing and a clear public risk for delay. Vested interests must not again be allowed to cause delays that will knowingly result in the loss of property, investments and/or life.

    As I mentioned earlier I have spoken to a lot of people about global warming – as I’m researching for a book (hopefully). Most people are very confused about whom to believe. “Which scientists should I believe?” and “Who is telling the truth in all this?” you hear over and over. From the feedback I get, and from what I have read that others are saying, we need to clear the air with a full and open debate – some sort of Royal Commission – or just sue for libel etc.

    I understand that climate scientists don’t want to discuss the complexities of their field on talkback radio or in a televised debate. They are right that these are not appropriate venues for conveying the complexities of a difficult subject to the public and James Hansen’s comment that “scientists are poor communicators” is spot on.

    However a full investigation, lasting 6 months or more, would allow the airing of a lot of these complexities and enable the public to understand the topic a lot better. We are after all talking about trillions of dollars in new investments and changing the future of how we generate electricity for over 7 billion people. This was always going to be a bun fight and was bound to end in litigation (IMHO).

    ianam wrote:
    Six commissions finding them innocent of fraud and scientific misconduct has not restored the credibility of the CRU scientists in the eyes of many of the public; what makes you think that a lawsuit would?

    What makes you so certain it wouldn’t?

    Most people don’t even know of these investigations anyway or are confused about what they investigated or concluded. Go out and ask them if you don’t believe me.

    As evidence that it’s not just me who thinks this way take Mezzum’s comments from 18 months ago:

    “Can’t these scientists club together and take people like Monckton to court for libel/slander/defamation or something?

    If he is using the names of respected scientists, and the organisations they represent, to support falsification, distortion and outright lies, then surely this is a legal matter for the courts?

    As mentioned previously, few people are fighting for the scientists, so they’re going to have to adapt and fight for themselves, tooth and nail.

    For now there is little other choice it seems.”

    Source:
    Mezzum 3 June 2010 3:55PM at
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/jun/03/monckton-us-climate-change-talk-denial

    “…Certainly if scientists were to approach their respective nation’s courts with this issue then they would have to consider deeply how it may be perceived in the wider public sphere with respect to freedom of speech.

    However from what I understand, Monckton has misrepresented the facts, he has distorted the work of professional scientists; scientists who are attached to academic institutions and private companies.

    Further, Monckton has sought to not just discredit the work of these men and women, but ridicule them and sully their professional reputation, and that of their sponsors in the process.

    That any individual or organisation should not have recourse to the law in these circumstances is madness.”

    Source:
    Mezzum 3 June 2010 8:59PM at
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/jun/03/monckton-us-climate-change-talk-denial

  21. #21 Lotharsson
    November 13, 2011

    > Second, those coming from a business background, understand that litigation is a normal course of events when there are allegations of libel, slander, and defamation. If there are not grounds for such a suit then I can only conclude that the climate change sceptics are right and that their arguments are sound. Otherwise climate scientists would have sued them by now.

    Read what you wrote again carefully. The second and third sentences are not a logical implication of the first. The fact that a lawsuit has not been undertaken does NOT imply that the claims made by those who might be the target of such a suit are correct. Even your **own earlier words** refute such a claim by giving an example of a different plausible reason for a lack of lawsuits:

    > There seems to be some ideological reluctance amongst scientists against litigation.

    And this is before many real-world examples of violations of rights and laws by entities in the business world that you speak of, which were NOT dealt with via lawsuits but rather by some other method – or even ignored because the cost of dealing with them outweighed the potential benefits.

    Oh, and when you say:

    > Otherwise climate scientists would have sued them by now.

    You realise that (IIRC) one Tim Ball is currently defending a lawsuit by a climate scientist in Canada as we speak? (Check back in a few years and see how it went. And then take a public opinion survey to see how much of an impact it had.)

    You might not also realise that Monckton et al brought suit in the UK seeking to have a “skeptic” documentary shown in schools to “balance” *An Inconvenient Truth*, which the suit alleged was heavily biased and full of unsupported claims. The court found that (a) *An Inconvenient Truth* was well supported by the evidence on the bulk of its claims, especially those about the core science, and (b) the “skeptic” documentary didn’t have an evidentiary leg to stand on.

    I’m quite happy for you to point me to data demonstrating the significant effect this legal finding had to reduce faux skepticism in public opinion, but I haven’t seen any such data to date.

    > The courts should decide these matters not forums.

    You mean they should decide whether the scientists are doing their work honestly, with high levels of diligence, and producing work that stands up to repeated scrutiny? Or some other “matters”?

    Because if you’re arguing the former, then you (and the people you are talking to) don’t seem to realise that **courts have no particular scientific expertise**, and rely on **scientific expert witnesses** to inform them. What do you think those witnesses would tell the court **that they haven’t already proclaimed in the literature, the IPCC reports and even – when they get a fair shake – the popular media**?

    > In future third parties should be able to sue on behalf of others if there is a clear public interest in so doing and a clear public risk for delay.

    I’m more or less with you there, but I suspect there are already laws on the books that allow for that because it’s a different *basis* for a suit than you previously cited. In addition, members of the public presumably have standing in cases where the public is the class at risk, so scientists do not *need* to take part in the lawsuit. Perhaps you might inquire with your legal consultants on that basis, rather than slander and libel against 3rd parties.

    > However a full investigation, lasting 6 months or more, would allow the airing of a lot of these complexities and enable the public to understand the topic a lot better.

    We’ve had a full investigation lasting 100 years or more *in the scientific literature*, and more specifically we’re on the 5th full investigation by the IPCC over the last 20-something years. The IPCC **has** aired a lot of the complexities, etc, and anyone can already read them in copious detail. I seriously doubt any sort of Royal Commission would make any difference to most of the public (e.g. see earlier comments about the Monckton lawsuit) – especially to the rusted-on “skeptics” for whom each new investigation that reaches a result they disagree with is merely further proof that the conspiracy extends wider than they had thought. They will treat any Royal Commission findings they don’t like as “politically motivated” and therefore wrong. There is a monster shitload of evidence of them doing *exactly that* over the last few years.

  22. #22 ianam
    November 13, 2011

    Matthew: tl;dr

  23. #23 ianam
    November 13, 2011

    If there are not grounds for such a suit then I can only conclude that the climate change sceptics are right and that their arguments are sound. Otherwise climate scientists would have sued them by now.

    Matthew, you are officially an idiot.

  24. #24 jakerman
    November 13, 2011

    Matthew

    >It mentioned legal action against sceptics and quoted comments from others who agree with me on the need for litigation and it was not allowed.

    Possibly too many links? Or you might have used a catch word like ‘fr@ud’. Either of these will put post into moderation.

    >Second, those coming from a business background, understand that litigation is a normal course of events when there are allegations of libel, slander, and defamation. If there are not grounds for such a suit then I can only conclude that the climate change sceptics are right and that their arguments are sound. Otherwise climate scientists would have sued them by now.

    Interesting, they presume because litigation is normal in business it must also be normal in science. Perhaps in your book you might investigate if litigation is so usual in science as business (though some line between the fields may be getting blurred)? And if not as usual in science why not?

    >Third, how many non-scientists have you spoken to about climate change one-on-one? I count nearly a hundred – as I was considering a book on the subject and wanted to get some feedback from the public. In talking with the public the conclusion we have all reached is that if scientists had sued earlier it would not have come to this. Alternatively they won’t sue because they know they’re in the wrong and have no grounds for legal action. An opinion that I’m beginning to suspect might be true.

    Which opinion Matthew? You nominate two alternatives, which are now suspecting true? That scientist didn’t sue because they they have no ground for legal action, or they didn’t sue for some other “alternative[..]” reason.

    Perhaps some specific details of actual contested claims would help us better understand your points.

  25. #25 bill
    November 13, 2011

    In talking with the public the conclusion we have all reached is that if scientists had sued earlier it would not have come to this. Alternatively they won’t sue because they know they’re in the wrong and have no grounds for legal action. An opinion that I’m beginning to suspect might be true.

    We have all reached’? You’re not serious? How can you – or any of your interviewees – possibly justify the first statement?

    The second is palpably ridiculous – he didn’t press charges so clearly he was never abused / she didn’t press charges, so clearly she was never assaulted. Can you understand the inherent absurdity of those lines of reasoning?

    Your third statement seems like quite the giveaway! Again, on what basis? The previous non sequiturs? You’re kidding!? Are you sure you’re not just looking for any available support for a prior conclusion?

    After all, by your own account you’ve already leapt straight in to claiming censorship – and straight in to becoming ‘more than a little irritated’ – and still seem to wish to think you were even when it’s made clear to you that you weren’t. Can you concede that it’s a little hard to perceive this as being ‘honest broker’ behaviour?

  26. #26 jakerman
    November 13, 2011

    >*You deliberately took part of what I wrote and misapplied it. How hypocritical considering the whining from climate scientists about climate change sceptics doing exactly the same thing.*

    “*whining from climate scientists*” Are you sure that you’re the ‘honest broker’ Matthew?

    >*Amazing. I have posted on climate change sceptics sites to hear their side of the “debate” and never been so aggressively attacked.*

    Perhaps you write stuff that “skeptics” or denialists like to read i.e. about ‘whining’ climate scientist that didn’t sue because they they have no ground for legal action?

    What did you write and on which ‘skeptic’ sites? If you provide a link we can compare the similarities and differences for ourselves. And what are some examples of in appropriate aggressive attack on this site that you would warn against?

  27. #27 John
    November 13, 2011

    My concern troll sense is tingling.

    Science is decided in the scientific literature and not the courtroom. The only people calling for the science to be decided by royal commission or a judge are the deniers, like Matthew, who know deep in their hearts (and without any evidence) that climate scientists are somehow cooking the books.

    Matthew, can you care to show us these posts you have made on skeptical sites that lead to you being “attacked”? Or will you concede that you are a disingenuous troll who lying to us?

  28. #28 ianam
    November 13, 2011

    I must say one thing for Matthew: his version of denialism is novel: “Global warming is false because climate scientists haven’t sued the denialati”.

    You deliberately took part of what I wrote and misapplied it. How hypocritical considering the whining from climate scientists about climate change sceptics doing exactly the same thing.

    Matthew, you moron, what I did was to imply that you are “missing” a few things, like fact, logic, and intelligence, and you have since made this even more abundantly clear, for instance here where you demonstrate that you don’t understand the concept of hypocrisy: a pretense to some virtue. Only a very dishonest scumbag would equate my playful snippage, in full view of your “Am I missing …” to what the denialati do to the data, the evidence, the findings, the papers, the science — and to use it as an excuse to attack climate scientists for “whining” about it — that loaded word makes you the hypocrite, you sad stupid self-centered sack of shit. Now you can report back to those denialist blogs where you hang out that global warming doesn’t exist because some guy posting at Deltoid was mean to you.

  29. #29 ianam
    November 13, 2011

    Perhaps you write stuff that “skeptics” or denialists like to read i.e. about ‘whining’ climate scientist that didn’t sue because they they have no ground for legal action?

    There’s that. There’s also the fact that I’m an unusually aggressive guy who hangs out here but not at “climate change sceptics sites”. From a single data point, one post from one person, Matthew leapt to far reaching conclusions … from that and from the rest of what he has written, it is evident that Matthew is an intellectually dishonest dimwit.

  30. #30 ianam
    November 13, 2011

    Alternatively they won’t sue because they know they’re in the wrong and have no grounds for legal action. An opinion that I’m beginning to suspect might be true.

    Earlier you wrote:

    I accept the scientific consensus that man-made climate change is real and a serious threat to humanity.

    Tell us, Matthew, are your opinions on this matter based at all on the scientific evidence, or is it based solely on your perception of the actions and motivations of various people? How heavily do you weigh “climate scientists haven’t sued” against the mountains of scientific evidence? As I said earlier, your conclusions are rash and irrational.

  31. #31 ianam
    November 14, 2011

    Ah, Matthew wrote

    If there are not grounds for such a suit then I can only conclude that the climate change sceptics are right and that their arguments are sound. Otherwise climate scientists would have sued them by now.

    In other words, Matthew has no basis for judging the scientific arguments, and so bases his opinion solely on whether climate scientists have sued … coupled with his completely irrational conclusion that failure to sue proves lack of grounds for such a suit, even though he himself offered the possibility that they are simply “reluctant” to sue.

    Third, how many non-scientists have you spoken to about climate change one-on-one?

    I’ve lost track.

    I count nearly a hundred – as I was considering a book on the subject and wanted to get some feedback from the public. In talking with the public the conclusion we have all reached is that if scientists had sued earlier it would not have come to this.

    First, this is utterly implausible unless you guided them to that conclusion. Second, so what? All sorts of false beliefs are widely held; if the people you have talked to are unfamiliar with either the science or the political and sociological factors behind “skepticism”, their opinions are worthless. You wrote

    People have little faith in investigations but much more in the judicial system where they can go in and listen to testimony and draw their own conclusions.

    So your conclusions are based on this bit of folklore that you happen to believe. Sorry, bub, but a) the popular opinion in the truth of AGW took a nosedive after the the CRU emails were stolen and selectively reported on and mispresented — the “testimony” most people draw their conclusions from is whatever drivel they are exposed to from whatever source and b) in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the conservative Republican judge, in a meticulous 134 page ruling, found that Intelligent Design is religion, not science, but that had no appreciable effect on popular opinion about the matter. (Sorry for all the Americanisms, but that’s what I am.)

  32. #32 bill
    November 14, 2011

    Like Barry Bickmore, Kitzmiller v. Dover restored my faith in the existence of genuine conservatism…

    And, yep, anyone care to point out where it made any difference to many people’s Stupid beliefs?

    As for a Royal Commission!… So NASA, NOAA, the CSIRO, the BoM, the Met, NIWA, and all the world’s major Academies of Science aren’t enough, eh? But people would certainly believe a Royal Commission, right? Um, sure…

    (I can tell you in advance what it would find, incidentally. Here’s a hint; NASA, NOAA, the CSIRO, the BoM… But we could sure waste a couple more years and give a few more thousand hours of publicity to Denier claptrap in the process!)

  33. #33 Lotharsson
    November 14, 2011

    And we don’t [have a few more years to waste](http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-climate-deadline-is-closer-than-we-think-20111111-1nbhp.html). Or at least the dollars to waste on waiting when we could act now.

  34. #34 ianam
    November 14, 2011

    In #17, Matthew wrote

    I’m curious as to why, if the climate change sceptics arguments are so scientifically wrong, you don’t sue them for scientific fraud?

    When I asked why he doesn’t sue, he came back with

    I have taken legal advice on a class-action lawsuit against climate change sceptics for libel, slander, defamation, and scientific fraud. Climate change is considered a hot potato and it was very hard to get a definite answer. The initial responses were that you can’t sue on behalf of another person.

    Nice moving of the goalposts there. Still no answer as to why Matthew doesn’t sue for scientific fraud, which affects everyone. And he continues to confuse these issues of scientific fraud and personal defamation when he suggests that scientists not suing indicates that the arguments of skeptics are valid.

    I don’t think Matthew is a denialist; he seems somewhat sincere … sincere but oh so stupid and intellectually dishonest.

  35. #35 StevoR
    November 18, 2011

    Hmm … Did I miss a climatologist making seriously off the wall statements about some big theology issue or interfering in how they think the Catholic Church needs to be run? (*cough*, allow women & gay priests, end celibacy, stop molesting kids for starters, *cough*)

    What makes Cardinal George Pell an expert in climatology – was it his sub-minor at uni or something? How many years has he spent studying the issue and learning from the people who actually know what they’re talking about? What exactly qualifies Cardinal Pell to have his opinion quoted as an authority above any other member of the unqualified public? What’s in it for him? Why is Pell even interested in making any comments on Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating? (HIRGO)

    Amazing that for all the Catholic Church’es long history they don’t seem to have learnt very much when it comes to Church officials making grand pronouncements on matters of science.

    I wonder if the words “Eppur si muove” ring any bells? Once hundreds of years ago the Catholic Church tried to deny the reality of Jupiter’s moons, of the extra stars in the Milky Way visible only by Optik tube, of sunspots and the phases of Venus and, most of all, that the Earth went round the Sun not vice-versa. How’d that work out for them again?

    Pell can deny the reality of climatology all he likes. It will never – can never – make him right. The Earth moves and the planet’s climate gets overheated all the same. Methinks he’s just hurting his own religion once again by making them look as foolish as, well, *that* last time. Wonder if it will take another 500 years before the Catholic Church apologises and admits their error this time?

  36. #36 Matthew
    November 22, 2011

    The Australian, of course, simply does not care whether the material it prints is true or not.

    Are you sure? If that were really the case, I’d expect the australian to print more stuff that IS true … just by chance.

    My best chuckle from pell’s speech is the line “The complacent appeal to scientific consensus is simply one more appeal to authority, quite inappropriate in science or philosophy”. It’s funny because so many conservatives immediately linked to it and declared “see? pell says so!”

  37. #37 bill
    November 22, 2011

    …also if his own religion isn’t, um, the ultimate Appeal to Authority, what is it?

  38. #38 Bernard J.
    November 23, 2011

    Not to mention that there is a very odd internal contradiction in saying that respecting a consensus derived from the exercise of the scientific method is not scientific…

    [Really](http://i52.tinypic.com/dxllvo.jpg)?!

  39. #39 Al Black
    April 1, 2012

    I think you guys are missing the point from the moment you frame the debate as “The Australian’s War on Science” – it is nothing of the sort. If you had said “The Australian’s War on Climate Science” you would be more accurate. What I have read in the Australian and in Bishop Pell’s comments is that Science is about proposing a hypothesis and evidence to prove or disprove that hypothesis. The most common method of testing a hypothesis is to make a prediction based on a theory, then test for that in the laboratory or by observation in the real World. Essentally Climate Scientists (and there are very few Meteorologists, Physicists or other real scientists in their ranks) have carried out their experiments on computers, running simulations on their computer Climate Models. Even if 97% of these second-rate scientists agree that one particular computer model is best, that proves nothing; the computer Model is part of the Hypothesis, not a seperate laboratory.

    Science is about data: consensus is for Politicians! That is the “category error” that Pell is smart enough to point out: Do you really not get it?

    Pell is defending the Scientific Method against the War on Science by so-called Climate Scientists: In real science what is needed is for the model’s predictions about the future to be tested against the real data as it comes in, year by year. The predictions made in the years leading up to the Millenium predicted another 0.5 degrees warming by now +/- 0.3 degrees. What we have received is zero warming over the last 15 years. Prattling about a 1997 consensus by politically active statisticians and temperature technicians with a vested interest in their theory being right, before any testing was done, is not science. It is becoming increasingly bad politics too, as the false consensus crumbles in the face of …Data!
    Show me one IPCC prediction for no statistically significant warming for the last 15 years (there are none), then tell me what the lack of warming does to the “Science” of Global Warming! To use their own words, “It is a Travesty.”
    You owe Bishop Pell an apology, and your thanks to him for defending science against attacks by the faith-based ideology of Global Warming!

  40. #40 John
    April 1, 2012

    Al, if you believe the only evidence for global warming is in the models and that there has been no warming in fifteen years I suggest you show some actual scepticism and research these claims for yourself.

    However, I can tell from your factually inaccurate mangling of disproven memes and obvious hatred of scientists whom you despise for ideological reasons that you will do no such thing.

    You don’t care about the “scientific method”. If you gave a jot about the scientific method, why are so many of your arguments politcal, poorly researched for verbaitim copied over from a newspaper with a political axe to grind?

    The one time you touch on something vaugely scientific – “no warming in fifteen years” – and, oh look, you are wrong.

    Do you care that you are wrong? Or do you know deep down in your heart that it’s all a scam and that scientists are tampering with data for financial and politcal gain? Because that doesn’t seem like a very scientific argument to me.

    If you want to debate the science with me, go for it. But I know you can’t.

  41. #41 Karen
    April 1, 2012
  42. #42 Jeff Harvey
    April 1, 2012

    Karen, Your lose. Your regression line does not fit the data – John’s does. Did you put that in yourself? Its piss-poor!

    Al writes: *Essentally Climate Scientists (and there are very few Meteorologists, Physicists or other real scientists in their ranks)*

    Oh no… not ANOTHER person making their own estimation of what makes a real scientist. What do you base your description on Al? Are you a scientist, real or imagined? What are your criteria? Is it similar to that of another notorious denier on another thread who, despite possessing no scientific qualifications at all themselves claims to be able to distinguish a ‘real’ scientist from an imposter? Its amazing to me, a working scientist, how totally unqualified amateurs routinely smear and deride the qualifications of others who have worked is various fields for decades. Its like a beer-bellied football fan sitting in the stand ridiculing a well-known player whilst claiming that they are better qualified to be out there on the field than the player is.

    Moreover, science does not operate by consensus but public policy must be based on it. Scientists rarely agree on anything, so its quite remarkable that in such a complex field with so much at stake that a relatively strong scientific consensus has emerged on climate science. Michael Mann’s quite outstanding book is a case in point. The scientific community, by-and-large, strongly supports Mann (as evidenced by reviews it receives from climate researchers and other scientists) whereas the denier community, made up primarily of hacks, scribes and think-tank pundits with little or no scientific qualifications in any areas at all loathe it. This should tell you something.

    As for Pell defending science, give me a break! He is as much an ideologue in my opinion as others driven not by an interest in science but by their own blinkers and biases. There are thousands of biotic indicators showing that plants and animals across the biosphere are responding to climate warming. Growing seasons are being extended, plants are flowering earlier, insects are increasing the number of generations they have per year and many species are expanding their distributions polewards or to higher elevations. Nature doesn’t lie – it just responds as well as it can, given a range of extrinsic (ecological) and intrinsic (physiological) constraints. This is proof positive that it is warming. The only real debate now is to what extent there is a human fingerprint on it. From what we do know, that appears to be significant. We still have a lot to learn, but if we sit back and wait until every last data point is in, then it will be far too late to do anything about it.

  43. #43 Bernard J.
    April 1, 2012

    [Al Black](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/11/the_australians_war_on_science_75.php#comment-6251473).

    One can only presume that you were celebrating the Feast of Fools. It’s appropriate that Pell, that [stiff, upstanding, non-thinking and immovable semblance of a man](http://www.thearma.org/essays/pell/pellhistory.htm), was the butt of your joke.

  44. #44 ianam
    April 1, 2012

    Al doesn’t realize that people who aren’t ignoramuses and idiots can tell that he is.

  45. #45 Al Black
    April 1, 2012

    I am going to ignore all the ad hominem insults in the replies to my earlier comment, but I have to ask esteemed scientist Jeff: if it is true that “Growing seasons are being extended, plants are flowering earlier, insects are increasing the number of generations they have per year and many species are expanding their distributions polewards or to higher elevations,” in what way is that a bad thing?
    As for the real scientist comment, I thought it was obvious that some working in the Climate Science field are not worthy of the name scientist: There is no QA standard for the Climate Scientist tag: anyone can call themselves that.
    The British Parlimentary investigation into the CRU made the following finding: “That is the fact that, for that period of time where both a proxy global temperature series and a recorded global temperature series are available, the two series markedly diverge. This clearly suggests either that the proxy series is unreliable or that the recorded series is unreliable (or possibly both: the point is that they cannot both be true). The CRU scientists’ attempt to hide the problem by concealing the divergence demonstrates, we believe, a lack of integrity.” I submit that these guys are not real scientists, in the sense that they ignored real temperature data and chose the proxy data that more closely fit their theory. Scientists change the theory to fit the data, NOT the other way round.

    Anyway I didn’t say there has been no warming, just that there hasn’t been any increase for the last 15 years. I stand by the NASA temperature trend line 1997-2012 – it is a horizontal line.
    I did not intend debating the actual science of Global warming here – I accept that there has been 0.7 degrees of warming in the last Century, but want to know why it has plateaued for the last 15 years.

    That is all to one side: your replies do not address the main thread of my argument which is that scientists should not dismiss Bishop Pell’s entirely reasonable comment on the scientific method.
    “Science is about data: consensus is for Politicians! That is the “category error” that Pell is smart enough to point out: Do you really not get it?”
    Obviously you don’t.

  46. #46 chek
    April 1, 2012

    The British Parlimentary investigation into the CRU made the following finding: snipped

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/387b/38702.htm)

  47. #47 bill
    April 1, 2012

    if it is true that “Growing seasons are being extended, plants are flowering earlier, insects are increasing the number of generations they have per year and many species are expanding their distributions polewards or to higher elevations,” in what way is that a bad thing?

    You cannot be serious?

    You are such an urbanised being, so completely out of touch with the natural cycles that underpin your entire – oblivious – being, that you cannot imagine what harm could possible result?

    Species are also migrating skyward – i.e. to higher elevations – the problem being that at some stage they have to run out of mountain.

    Just as they can also run out of continent, or into rivers, lakes and urban areas they cannot effectively cross, and even if they could cannot necessarily keep pace with the poleward advance of the climate unless they’re a fortunately highly-mobile species (think trees, shrubs and little things that are anything but), and what happens when the species they rely on for food or shelter haven’t made the move with them?

    Or they’ll pile up into some other critters’ range in habitats that are already dramatically curtailed by other human activities and become yet more competition!

    Changes in insect behaviour are already beginning to stuff-up pollination cycles; have you tried to comprehend that, or considered that more insects breeding more often eat more crops and spread more disease? This is a point that I thought would have been banally obvious to any intelligent child on a moment’s reflection.

    Etcetera, et-bloody-cetera..

    Seriously, as you know nothing whatsoever about the natural world – doubtlessly voluntarily – why offer your opinion on it? This is becoming a disease on the Right.

    You’d probably consider yourself to be a ‘conservative’, but this is clearly not the case.

    How can it conceivably be conservative to think that the burden of proof lies with science to demonstrate that such dramatic changes might be harmful?

    Similarly, what is the conservative position on conducting a radical experiment with the one atmosphere we possess?

    And the most intriguing question of all still lies largely unconsidered at the base of all this; how did a bunch of radical reactionary extremists manage to pull of this brazen imposture; how could it possibly be that the world somehow believes you’re the conservatives?

  48. #48 Bernard J.
    April 2, 2012

    Oh dear, so Al Black was actually serious?!

    Al, a quiet word before you make a fool of yourself elsewhere – you don’t at all understand that which you think do you. You are labouring under the Dunning-Kruger effect, and you are displaying to your intellectual betters that you are statistically innumerate, scientifically illiterate, and conceptually solecistic. Oo, and on top of all that you’re late to the party – many valiant ignorants have tried your lines before, and have been soundly refuted.

    And in case you are inclined to think otherwise, this is not an ad hominem attack. It is simply the logical conclusion that follows the impressive display of ignorance that you’ve present here.

    Seriously, if you want to learn about your mistakes, go to Skeptical Science and Open Mind and search for their numerous posts on subjects such as why there is no evidence for a hiatus in the heating of the planet, and why increased temperatures are not beneficial for so much of the biosphere.

    And a nit-pick with which to conclude – Pell’s a cardinal, not a bishop as you insist on repeating. If you can’t even get that right, what makes you believe that you can understand science?!

  49. #49 ianam
    April 2, 2012

    I am going to ignore all the ad hominem insults

    They are insults, but they are not ad hominems, you ignoramus and idiot. And ignoring them won’t change the fact that you’re an ignoramus and an idiot and that is obvious to anyone who isn’t.

    I thought it was obvious that some working in the Climate Science field are not worthy of the name scientist

    What’s obvious is that you’re an ignorant imbecile incompetent to judge such things … and a hypocrite to boot, with your “ad hominem” drivel. But go ahead, tell us what scientific qualifications you have that you can say who is worthy of the name.

    The British Parlimentary investigation into the CRU made the following finding

    No they did not, you liar.

    they ignored real temperature data and chose the proxy data that more closely fit their theory.

    No they most certainly did not, you blithering stupid stupid stupid ignorant jackass who can’t get even the most basic things right. “the decline” was in the proxy data; it’s the proxy data that was “hidden” because of its divergence from real temperature data.

  50. #50 ianam
    April 2, 2012

    I accept that there has been 0.7 degrees of warming in the last Century, but want to know why it has plateaued for the last 15 years.

    Since you have stupidly and ad hominemly dismissed climate scientists as not real scientists, or second rate scientists, then I guess you’re out of luck, because an imbecile like you can’t understand a concept like scale all by yourself. When climbing a mountain trail, you will occasionally encounter flat sections or even descents, but that overall you’re climbing, so even though it’s been flat for the last quarter mile, you’ve still been higher than at any point previously during your trip, and will soon continue ascending. But it’s been fifteen years, the imbeciles will shout … imbeciles who can’t or won’t understand the concept of scale.

    “Science is about data: consensus is for Politicians! That is the “category error” that Pell is smart enough to point out: Do you really not get it?” Obviously you don’t.

    Consensus among scientists comes about when the evidence is overwhelming, imbecile. Oh, but you think the consensus is the result of some conspiracy, some ethical failing among all those ‘second-rate” scientists publishing their thousands upon thousands of per-reviewed papers. You’re a crank, an imbecile, an ignoramus, and a troll. Stop wasting your time and ours.

  51. #51 ianam
    April 2, 2012

    I have to ask esteemed scientist Jeff

    Such a jackass you are; do you think Jeff is “second rate” as well?

    in what way is that a bad thing?

    Apparently you intended that as a rhetorical question, so smug and secure you are in your Dunning-Kruger arrogance, so unaware you are of what a phenomenally ignorant and stupid question that is … and so lazy a troll, as Jeff has written entensively at Deltoid explaining the many ways in which the ecological changes we are seeing can be a bad thing for us.

    On top of that, you demonstrate your immense intellectual dishonesty, as Jeff offered that as evidence for global warming, and you simply changed the subject and moved the goalposts. We see this all the time from denier garbage — feces stains on humanity — like yourself.

  52. #52 ianam
    April 2, 2012

    what happens when the species they rely on for food or shelter haven’t made the move with them?

    One critically important issue, but apparently beyond the comprehension of an imbecile like Al, is the mismatch in rate and nature of change between insects and birds — which are having a very hard time of it from global warming. Al either doesn’t believe in evolution or doesn’t understand how it works … when we talk of “natural selection”, the “nature” referred to is the entire ecosystem … species are immensely interdependent, and many of the details of that interdependency are honed over very long timeframes.

  53. #53 ianam
    April 2, 2012

    To use their own words, “It is a Travesty.”

    Yes, imbecilic and dishonest feces stains like you will use people’s words out of context and misrepresent them, completely distorting their meaning, and will ignore when the author of those words sets the record straight.

  54. #54 John
    April 2, 2012

    Al, you claim NASA shows no warming over fifteen years. The graph I gave you uses NASA data and shows you are wrong. You deny this even though the very evidence you pointed to shows warming. Whatever happened to the “scietific method”?

    If you wonder why the rise has slowed, perhaps you should look into short term forcings. If the a La Nina year, which usually has a strong cooling effect, is the 11th warmest year on record, what does that tell you?

    You also claimed that the models were the only evidence of warming. Now you admit the biosphere is changing as a result of warming. So what does that tell you?

    Please be a bit more consistent in future. I would hate to think you’re just reposting half remembered memes from political websites you’ve never fully researched yourself.

    Perhaps you can name some scientists you feel aren’t worthy of the name “climate scientist” and what about their published work is so unworthy they should be stripped of their name? Scientific reasons only, please. We are discuussing the “scientific method” after all.

  55. #55 Lotharsson
    April 2, 2012

    > …the point is that they cannot both be true…

    Actually, they can, although not in the same time periods. Which was pretty much the reason why a whole slew of papers were published on the topic *blatantly in full public view*. How exactly does this very open dissemination constitute “attempting to hide the divergence” in your view? Or were you merely repeating a falsehood that you personally had found convincing?

    > If you wonder why the rise has slowed, perhaps you should look into short term forcings.

    Or even [this nicely pre-digested blog post](http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/the-real-global-warming-signal/) or [something like this](http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998-intermediate.htm) – both of which are very easy to find, **if** you’re genuinely interested in what scientists have to say on the subject. Or you could find something like [Meehl et al 2011](http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v1/n7/full/nclimate1229.html) which points out that a planet consistently gaining heat energy need not consistently increase surface temperatures – because there are periods when the increased energy can be stored away from the surface (only to return later).

  56. #56 FrankD
    April 2, 2012

    >What we have received is zero warming over the last 15 years…there hasn’t been any increase for the last 15 years.

    Seriously? Another person come to lecture us who doesn’t know the difference between heat and temperature? How much temperature would you expect to see offset by a net loss of 12 trillion tons of ice, as we have lost in the Arctic in the last 15 years?

    What about the oceans? The fact that people weren’t measuring them well enough is what Trenberth thought was “a travesty”. John refers to La Nina having a “cooling effect”, but thats not quite right. The planet isn’t cooler, its just that the heat goes elsewhere: during La Nina, rather than warming the surface, more heat is drawn into the deeper oceans, so little or no increase is seen in surface temperature measurements. But don’t worry, Al, the ocean will give up that heat again in the next El Nino year, just like in 1998.

    Heat is absorbed by the earth in many ways, and surface temperature increases are the outcome of only one of those ways. What is it about *coff* skeptics that they prefer a simple falsehood to a more complex truth?

  57. #57 John
    April 2, 2012

    Shorthand FrankD, but you are right.

    >if you’re genuinely interested in what scientists have to say on the subject.

    Al only cares about what “real scientists” say, i.e. scientists who agree with his opinion.

  58. #58 FrankD
    April 2, 2012

    Yes, John “shorthand” is probably better.

    I picked up on it because I’m anticipating the next El Nino. “Real scientist” fanboys who have argued that *comparatively* cooler conditions during a La Nina somehow disprove AGW will be falling over themselves to handwave away the huge number of record temps we will see then – “Oh well, its always hotter during an El Nino, it’s just cyclical, blah blah blah…”

    Its the same argument as the Boltards “if its hot its weather but if its cold its climate”, but elevated to a more spohisticated level of stupid. Al seems a fairly clued up guy – I’m confident he can reach that level of fail if he tries hard enough.

Current ye@r *